Hello dear art lover,
Want to know something funny...or actually ironic? I do not think of myself as a writer or as a blogger. Grammar and English were not my strong subjects in school. I always leaned towards science, math, and art of course. But, I couldn't let my hesitation towards writing hold me back from sharing the power of art education with you. I might not clock in every day and step foot into a classroom, but I have been there. The power art can bring into someone's life is priceless. So let me tell you something before we jump in...
I believe there is art within you, within your child, within your teen. There is
ART IN ALL OF US!
This isn't something I'm just saying to help you feel good about pursuing art-making for yourself or your child. I truly believe it and believe that if you allow yourself to explore the arts, it will bring something new and beautiful into your life.
If you are new here, let me share a little bit about my background. I graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelors in Fine Art and minor in Art Education. Soon after graduating college, I found an elementary art teaching job at The Dunham School in Baton Rouge. This private Christian school was a dream job. The combination between high expectations, supportive administration, and the freedom to create my own curriculum made this job everything a teacher could ever dream of. During my years teaching elementary art, I studied online at Boston University and received a Masters in Art Education. A passion was ignited and I began to know that art education would be a part of the rest of my life. Eventually, my husband's job moved us to Texas and I began teaching at a university model school. At this school, I taught middle and high school art. Once again, I had the opportunity to develop my own curriculum. This experience was a treat! Coming alongside talented and budding artists allowed me to direct them in discovering who they were as artists. That is something I do not take lightly. Within the last year, we have moved to the Houston area. I'm currently a full-time artist, mom, and a youth pastor's wife. I have been a full-time artist for about a year now. Over this past year, I have missed being in the classroom and sharing the arts with students. That brings us to right now and why I decided to create this blog for you. This blog is going to be a vibrant place: full of advice, lessons, tools, and other art education tips. So let's jump in!
I want you to be set up for success before I even give you anything to work on. So, I've put together 4 ways to help you do that:
1. Download The Beginner's Guide to Art Education in the Home. It's free, so go ahead and download it here. It has some basic goals, supplies, and tips that will set you up to bring art education into your home.
2. Create a space that is easy to access for art supplies. This space doesn't need to be big and you don't need to spend $100 on new organizational bins. Find a drawer, cubby, space in a closet, or somewhere you can store a few supplies. The main goal is to create a space that is easily accessible...especially if you desire your child to complete art activities on their own. For my 4 year old, I bought 6 small plastic drawers-like these. I placed them in her closet on a shelf where she can easily access them and create something on her own without my help. These are the drawers I created: 1. markers 2. crayons 3. stickers 4. paper 5. colored pencils 6. Eventually this one will hold glue/scissors/ or watercolors when she is older. I also have a larger flat storage bin, like this, that she can pull out that has large paper and coloring books. Simple organizing can make art making so much easier because it is accessible when inspiration and creativity strikes.
When I taught middle and high school art, I would have my students get a plastic pencil box, like this. These boxes can hold most art tools (pencils, erasers, mini rulers, conte crayons, charcoal, scissors, glue, etc.) I have some recommended supplies in The Beginner's Guide to Art Education in the Home.
3. Plan for the activity. Think about it ahead of time. Whether you want to create something with your child/teen or want them to have individual creative time, you need to plan for it. Pick a day and time. Here's a suggestion based on your child's age:
Infant-4 years old: 15-30 minutes depending upon their level of interest
5-10 years old: 30-45 minutes
11-18 years old: 30-60 minutes or more
Keep in mind any time needed for set-up or clean up. When you plan to set aside time, you can enter the art lesson and art-making peacefully and not feel rushed as you/your child create a work of art.
4. Don't stress! Art making is not about being perfect or creating an "Instagram/Pinterest post" project. It's about getting messy, using creativity, having fun, and growing in artistic experiences.
So how are you feeling? Are you excited to jump into art-making with your kid or teen?
If you are ready, I have a little activity you can do that is simple, fun, and guaranteed to make you giggle at the end result. Since we are jumping into art education and art-making, I figured the best place to start would be a pressure-free activity that also develops good drawing skills. What is it?
Blind Contour Drawing
You read that right! Blind means you can't look at the paper. I've made a video to show you how to create a blind contour drawing and attached it below.
1. Pick an interesting object around the house and sit it in front of the drawing paper.
2. Place your pencil on the paper and don't lift it off the paper until you feel like you have completely drawn the object. Make sure to ONLY look at the object and nothing else.
3. Follow the outline of the object with your eyes. As your eyes move around the object, let your pencil move. DO NOT LOOK AT THE PAPER. When you feel like you've completely drawn it, you can look at the paper.
4. Begin drawing and create your first blind contour drawing.
Extra Challenge: Set a timer and try to draw the entire object within that time. I like to set a timer for 30-60 seconds.
It will take a few times to get comfortable with this idea. Remember: you are having fun and enjoying the process, not creating a piece to hang in the Louvre.
There are a few goals to shoot for:
1. Don't look at the paper until you are completely done.
2. If you are using a timer: try to draw the entire object within the time frame. This means you have to move fast and make a messy drawing.
3. Do not "fix" your drawing. Create one, flip the paper over, and create another. You can even reuse the paper and draw on top of another sketch.
4. Have fun, laugh at the end result, and feel the freedom of making something messy.
**If you have a young child, they will probably need help keeping their drawing tool on the paper. If they lift up their tool just help them place it back down. Then remind them of the spot they were looking at on the object. You can even trace the object with your finger to help them follow the outline.**
Modified option for younger kids: For infant-4 year olds, set a timer and let them scribble or make marks for 30 seconds. Offer them different materials (crayons, markers, pencils, or go outside and use sidewalk chalk.) Some 4 year olds will be able to participate in the full activity. Continue the art conversation and ask your toddler what they see in their drawing. Let their imagination surprise you!
Now...go make something and have fun! I would love to see or hear about what you create. You can leave a comment below with a photo or story about how this went for you or your artist. As always, you can join me on Instagram or email me with any questions. Also, if you have anything specific you would like for me talk about or address in future blog posts, please leave a comment below!
See you soon!