Create #14: Indoor Shadow drawing

By Caitlin Howells

In my last Create activity, I suggested making outdoor shadow drawings but not everybody wants to be outdoors at this time of year, so here’s an indoor version you can do at home.

On a sharp, sunny day, inspect the shadows cast through different windows in your home.

The shadows will vary during the day, depending on the direction your window faces; select a window that gives you a strong, clear shadow.


If you already have a table by your preferred window: –

  • Place some paper onto the table and look at the shadows cast on to it from the window frames and items on your windowsill
  • If you don’t have a pleasing shadow already, then create your own shadow still life
  • Use a mixture of interesting shaped items on the windowsill; glass objects through which light can pass make really interesting translucent shadows
  • Plants and flowers make great shadows too, as do random household objects
  • Enjoy experimenting with different items until you have an arrangement that pleases you
  • When you have a still life shadow that pleases you, select a pen, pencil or other item and draw the edges of the shadow until you have all the shadow details traced onto the paper.

You will need

  • Paper—normal or greaseproof
  • Pens, pencil, charcoal or chalk

Activity Guide

Click the button to download this activity guide as a PDF. If you would like to receive one of our Activity Packs in the post, please email with your full name and address, including postcode.


If you wish to extend this exercise further,  you can fill in the negative spaces (that’s everything except the actual shadow shapes) with any of these: –

  • water colours
  • other paint,
  • coloured pencil
  • crayon
  • pastel
  • collage.

Or, if you prefer, you can fill in the positive space (that’s the actual shapes the shadows made).

There is no right or wrong with this exercise, it’s great for loosening yourself up creatively and silencing your inner art critic!

If you wish to worth further with shadows and develop your work, have a look at the shadow cartons by artist Vincent Bal.

Give some of your own pictures a try, it’s great fun! You can be bring them to life and film them as well as photograph them.

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