I love art.
As a child, I remember spending time outside with finger paints. I remember my fourth grade teacher teaching the class how to draw a tree without leaves by taking us outside to draw. When I was a little older, I took oil painting classes and painted waterfalls.
I took high school art classes and painted mountains and meadows.
I took a watercolor class in college and painted the student across from me (a fun challenge, to paint someone who is also painting you at the same time!)
I think the key to successfully learning to produce art is having good instruction.
After that, of course, it is practice, practice, and more practice.
Over the years, I have been slowly adding art books and supplies to our home. I check out books at the library first whenever possible (usually I have to request them from other libraries in the district). I have purchased those that we think are the best ones (often buying a used copy of the book for pennies, plus shipping, when that is an option).
I recently purchased a new art book on sculpting faces from clay. I knew it would be challenging, but also fun for my children. I especially knew that Ezrom would be interested.
Here is his first sculpture as he made it, following the instructions in the book:
Scultpure and Modeling:
Van Aaken Modeling Clay 1Lb Flesh (I purchased 4 of these so that Ezrom could start making solid heads, like the one below)
Kreacher, by Ezrom, age 10 (his third sculpture)
Hot Air Balloon by Ezrom, age 10
Good drawing books make all the difference between feeling like you can’t draw and realizing that you can, indeed, draw.
Dover’s How to Draw Series is fantastic. If you think you can’t draw, these books will change your mind.
How to Draw Birds (Dover How to Draw) The cardinal in the picture below is from this book.
Owl and cardinal by Cyrus, age 11
Lee Ame’s Draw 50 series is fabulous. We have been able to request these from the library and we have bought a few favorites. There is a long list of titles in this series.
Draw 50 Birds: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Chickadees, Peacocks, Toucans, Mallards, and Many More of Our Feathered Friends The owl in the picture above is from this book.
Most of the time, we use Crayola washable watercolors on regular computer paper to keep costs low. As my children get older, they use watercolor paper (bought 50% off at Michael’s) for special projects. As they have gotten older, we have found some individual sets for them to use at yard sales. I have also bought a decent watercolor palette and used that with tubes of watercolors for my oldest.
For watercolor instruction for younger ages, see the books in the Mixed Media section below.
Mermaid: Drawn by Winter, age 13; crayon and watercolor by Wren, age 7
These are beginning to middle level projects. Most use drawing, crayon, and watercolor, but some use other items, including cardboard.
Stories about artists:
Mike Venzia‘s entire series of Getting to Know The World’s Greatest Artists is fantastic. I recommend checking these out from your library. I picked up several recently at the library and my 4 oldest (ages 13 to 8) hurried to read all of them as soon as I brought them in the door.
If I cannot get a book from the local library, I use the “search inside this book” feature on Amazon to preview books. I look for books that give step by step tutorials.
What are your favorite art books?