Tiny Drawings

In this activity visitors create drawings and paintings by looking through stereoscopic microscopes and a set of simple materials: paper, pencils, ink pens, colored pencils, very small tipped paint brushes and colored ink. We first introduced this activity as an alternative way of introducing the microscope that brings together art and science for a yearly event we do at our museum called “Microscope Day” where we invite education and research groups that use microscopes in their daily work to share these activities with visitors.


activity video:

Tiny Drawings How To

Tiny Drawings Facilitation


Music and Art

age range



  • Finished tiny paintings and drawings as examples

  • 3-4 Powered stereoscopic (dissection) microscopes, which have illumination from above and below

  • 2”x2” and 2”x4” sheets of heavy white paper

  • Fine line rapidiograph-type colored pens

  • Pencils and colored pencils

  • pencil sharpeners

  • erasers

  • Various fountain-pen ink colors used for painting (Place a teaspoon water in a petri-dish, and add some colored ink to the water with pipets. We use ink as it flows more smoothly from the tiny brushes. Surface tension of the ink affects the control you have with the brush at the microscopic level) (optional)

  • very thin tipped (3/0) paintbrushes

safety issues


microscopes, Scale, surface tension, composition, capillary action, artsy, crafty


Science Museum of Minnesota