Light Drawing

My brother-in-law showed me some photographs of Picasso doing light drawings, and I had to give it a whirl myself.  I had so much fun, I kept going until my camera battery ran out.

All you do is put your camera on a tripod in a dark or dimly lit room and take a long exposure (10 seconds or more) and quickly draw with a flashlight pointed at the camera.  It’s really fun, but it can get tricky because you can’t see what you’re doing until your drawing is done.  Then you get the surprise on your camera.  I would imagine this would be exciting for kids too, but I haven’t yet tried it with them.


  1. Tagan Engel
    March 22, 2010 at 3:33 am

    wow, this takes some serious talent. really beautiful and creative! thank you for your inspiring blog! I'm reworking my blog layout and keep coming back to yours because of it's elegant simplicity.

  2. sharpiegirl
    March 22, 2010 at 3:48 am

    I love it!!!

  3. Stephanie
    March 22, 2010 at 4:04 am

    my favorite is the bicycle!!! what kind of camera did you shoot with?

  4. Three Owls
    March 22, 2010 at 4:20 am

    What a cool thing to do. I am going to go and check out the link.

  5. Joel Henriques
    March 22, 2010 at 5:34 am


    Stephanie, I use a Nikon D70. For this I used the remote to trigger the shutter. You can also set the Nikon to "bulb" mode which opens the shutter until you press the button again to close it. Very handy.

  6. amberlee
    March 22, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Ah I love this! I must get my remote fixed and try it. Thanks for the link to picasso's artwork, beautiful!

  7. Jillian
    March 22, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Ooooh! We'll try this with our littlies and see what we come up with! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  8. Ange
    March 22, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I have a D90 which I have no idea how to use. Guess I'm going to have great fun finding out!!

  9. Suzette
    March 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Nice, I love the bike! I just did sort of the same thing with my three-year old. I drew some animals and he danced with two lights (red and white) and was totally amazed by the results! I also let him operate the camera (with a remote) and he came up with all these different things I had to draw (like a meat-eating dinosaur mom...). We had so much fun!

  10. fridica
    March 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Brilliant! I love the bird and the bycicle! This looks like so much fun... : )

  11. Riikka
    March 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

    They are so beautiful!

  12. Anonymous
    March 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I love your blog. its so creative and funny. Your works are so beatiful. Sorry about my English. it isn't my native laguage.
    Sukran Bahadir.

  13. school_of_tyrannus
    March 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    the bird is magical. thanks for sharing!

  14. Christina
    March 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    wonderfully done

    learned something new again.
    Thank you

  15. recovergirl
    March 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I'm totally stealing this idea for a holiday card this year. Thanks again for more inspiration.

  16. Dolores
    March 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    this is awsome!!!!! thanks!

  17. mountain girl
    March 23, 2010 at 2:12 am

    You are absolutely incredible! I just browsed through your blog for the first time and I'm blown away. You've given me a million ideas of things to make for/with my 2 year old. Thanks!

  18. AG Ambroult
    March 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    out of this world. My kids are going to flip for this. thanks :)

  19. Lisa
    March 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Great idea!! I've been trying this morning with the light of a cell-phone and had a lot of fun.

  20. ieva jansone
    March 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    hallo joel! i just discovered your blog, and i'm smitten by your creativity and the fantastic things you make, as well as the photos! (the dolls house is just genious:))
    your kids must be happy to have a father like you!

  21. maijanmaja
    March 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Hi! I heard about your blog from my friend and I'm impressed! So many wonderful things to do with the kids. What an idea to make that kind of a yo-yo ball! My youngest kids are also so frustrated with the real ones. So, I put that to my to-do list. I also like the fishing poles very much.
    You're very creative! Thanks for shearing those things!

  22. Louise @ Illume Design
    March 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    These look great.. the bike is awesome...!!!

  23. a.b.c
    March 25, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I loved the idea and had so much fun doing it!

  24. Loulou's mum
    March 26, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Hi, I just discovered your blog and am amazed by your creativity. It is such an inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing.

  25. Anonymous
    March 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    We did something similar with those glow in the dark bracelets you have to bend to make light up. The colors were vivid and just perfect. The kids all danced around in the dark to fun music and took turns pushing the remote. Some photos were done similar to yours with trying to get a shape drawn, but most were just color expressions. Great fun!

  26. Novi On The Go
    March 28, 2010 at 2:53 am

    The light drawings are wonderful! I'll have to give it a try, thanks for the tips. I found your blog through Fine Little Day and think your projects are fantastic!

  27. She Can't Decide
    March 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    wow...fabulous! you really mastered this!!

  28. Bree
    April 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I did this with my kids a while back and they LOVED it! We also used those glow in the dark swords, necklaces, and bracelets. They almost knocked the tripod over a few times because they were so excited to see the pictures they made.
    Great Post.

  29. Anna Airport
    April 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    How neat! I can't wait for the sun to go down! :)

  30. christine
    April 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm !!!

  31. tc
    April 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    i love this. Would really love to have a go with my twins soon. Thanks for sharing :-)

  32. Anonymous
    May 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

    OMG, Really Beautiful!! I love this! I'll give it a try!

  33. Nichole
    June 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Those are so awesome!

  34. Clara Daisy
    October 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Wow!! These are better than Picassos!! You have painted a Matisse with that vase picture! Well done!!

  35. annatanaka
    February 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Waooooww, ca fait de l'effet, j'adore!

  36. Lia
    March 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    You are truly inspirational. I have almost read all of your posts and can't stop saying WOW!!! Your kids are so lucky to have such a creative father :)

  37. Tina Peterson
    April 21, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Wow! those are neat. I actually came to see what kind of crafts are going to be in your new book to see if I'd like to review it on my blog - but this is really neat!

    Wow! Tina "The Book Lady"

  38. tina
    July 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    that's so cool...what a great boredom time my daughter has friends over and they're bored this will be the game for them! many thanks :)

  39. July 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    [...] Un jour de pluie, trois enfants à la maison, une idée inspirée par Joel. [...]

  40. annamariastrappazzon
    August 9, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Bellissimi effetti, straordinario ingegno. Grazie e complimenti. Io sono italiana

  41. October 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Great idea! Thank you for shown. We also played this weekend with a flashlight. Son of 2 hours entertained and devised various ways of shooting. Here you can see the results: This is perfect for Halloween Thank you. :) Letitia. Sorry for my English. Greetings from Slovakia.

  42. May 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    [...] since I read about how to draw with light on the website Made by Joel, I’ve been wanting to try this activity with the [...]

  43. Esme
    May 10, 2013 at 9:25 am

    wooo! It's SO pretty!

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