Use two hands at the same time to draw a Halloween pumpkin!

Use two hands at the same time to draw a Halloween pumpkin!

Two hands, two markers . . . let’s draw Double Doodle pumpkins! Part of the fun is being surprised by the kind of face you create on your jack-o’-lantern. Will it be funny, sad, mad, or scary? Will you give your pumpkin face some teeth, eyebrows, a stem hat, a downward mouth, or a ghoulish grin? Well, get your giggle on . . . bring a pout or your biggest growl and get ready to be amazed!

Here are two Halloween Pumpkin faces drawn within minutes of one another by a 6-year old. You can see the fine-motor skill he's developing as he experiments.

Here are two Halloween Pumpkin faces, drawn by a 6-year old within minutes of one another. You can see the fine-motor skill he’s developing as he experiments.

Getting in the groove.

Another pumpkin from an 8-year old just getting in the groove.

To begin, fold your paper vertically, as you see in the opening photo. Choose your colors, and then let your hands start flowing smoothly from the top of the pumpkin’s stem (just on the fold mark), down and up a few times slightly to the right and left to widen the stem. Next, make the curve across the top of the pumpkin, down the sides, and bring your hands together at the bottom.

If you’re new to the Double Doodle, please click here for more detailed instructions. The pumpkin faces are most easy for those age eight and up, although adults might help guide younger hands. (A big thank you to the 9-year old who drew the top pumpkin in our pumpkin banner, below left!)

A Double Doodle pumpkin and his pumpkin head friend (drawn by an 8-year old)—ooh . . . which face is the scariest?

A brown and yellow Double Doodle pumpkin and his pumpkin head friend (drawn by an 8-year old). Ooh . . . which face is the scariest?

Now that you have your symmetrical contour, place your markers where you want the eyes and draw mirror-image shapes (see samples, below, some of which we cut out and pasted asymmetrically on orange poster board). Follow with the nose and mouth. Add lines and other features as you wish. You might enjoy tracing over your lines with different markers to layer additional colors, or scribble in with crayons, finger-paint style, as we did here. Decorate as you like.

Notice how your hands enjoy moving effortlessly together like this—a kind of movement quite different from doing a one-handed drawing.

A youngster focuses on the pumpkin's indented ribs, running from its stem at the top to a single point at the bottom.

A youngster focuses on the pumpkin’s indented ribs, running from its stem at the top to a single point at the bottom.

A 6-year old finds a more simple way to suggest the pumpkin's ribs.

A 6-year old finds a more simple way to suggest the pumpkin’s ribs.

And there’s no need to think of this by the rules of ordinary drawing; the Double Doodle doesn’t fit the same criteria. This is more about the fun, zest, color, and surprise of the shapes, and how each can be uniquely your own, than about it looking like someone else’s picture. So enjoy any quirks or unexpected squiggles that you make.

This free-flowing design of bat with pumpkins was drawn by a 10-year old.

This free-flowing design of bat with pumpkins was drawn by a 10-year old.

IMG_3407Once you’ve completed your pumpkin face, you might want to add a leaf or two. Many types of pumpkins have heart-shaped (cordiform) leaves. For autumn, add some yellow, green, brown, or maroon colors, and maybe a serrated edge and some prominent veining (as in the leaves on the banner at left) to make the image more leaf-like.

For inspiration from nature: Do a scavenger hunt outside to see how many different kinds of cordiform leaves you can find! Besides the pumpkin leaf, you can also find the heart-shaped leaf in viola and hosta plants, as well as in the periwinkle and morning glory, to name a few. They’re seen in great variation in lime, linden, and redbud trees and many other plants. (This form is opposite to the hand-shaped palmate outline, with lobes radiating from the base, seen in a maple leaf.)

For design fun: Double Doodle some heart-shaped leaves and tear-drop-shaped seeds, like the pumpkin seed, as a design around the outside. Color in the face shapes on your pumpkin in finger-paint style.

Delicious to know: Chewy pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses (abundant in minerals from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein, and zinc) high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They make a great snack! When you carve a pumpkin, simply wash and drain the seeds, and dry them for about 30 minutes. Then mix in a tablespoon of oil for each cup of seeds and roast them on a cookie sheet in a 250° oven for 10 to 20 minutes (stirring every five minutes or so) until they’re golden brown. Sprinkle them with salt, or with cinnamon and a little ginger and allspice.


For more complex Double Doodle Halloween images, click here.

To see other examples of how Double Doodle Play can be used for drawing and painting, click here.

Parents and educators: Scientists continue to study the puzzling genetic and environmental factors that determine handedness. In the Edu-K work, we’ve been finding for more than 40 years that using two hands together like this helps people learn to do more fluid mark-making, regardless of whether they’re right- or left-hand-dominant. See if handwriting is easier for you after doing a few minutes of the Double Doodle.

In a Psychology Today blog, coach, author, and world-class endurance athlete Christopher Bergland reminds us that “Researchers remain perplexed as to why the human brain seems to be more asymmetric than the primate brain and why the ratio of right- to left-handedness in humans is 9 to 1. Primates are evenly split 50-50 between left- and right-handedness.

Bergland concludes that humans should “ideally engage both hands to maximize brain function and performance . . . you want to create symmetry and become close to ambidextrous by fortifying the link between the right brain and left brain of both the cerebrum and the cerebellum.*”

*“Are Lefties More Likely to Become Champions and Leaders? The History and Neuroscience of Why Left-Handed People Have an Advantage.” Published on August 12, 2013, by Christopher Bergland in The Athlete’s Way

The Double Doodle and other Brain Gym® activities that support sensorimotor skills are described in detail in Brain Gym®: Teacher’s Edition, 2010, by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison. 

Many sensorimotor skills  are taught experientially, through movement and play, in the courses Brain Gym® 101: Balancing for Daily Life, Double Doodle Play: A Window to Whole-Brain Vision, and Visioncircles: 8 Spheres of Perceptual Development. Click here for the name of a Brain Gym® Instructor in you area. Brain Gym® is a trademark of Educational Kinesiology Foundation/Brain Gym®  International. 

© 2013, 2017 by Gail Dennison. All rights reserved.





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