There are different audiences when it comes to art making. You might be an art teacher with limited resources, looking for good instructions and easy to follow steps. Or you can be the mother of toddlers in search of fun experiences. For you, I recommend to check out our first Stack Overflow regarding artsy books.
Now, for the more advanced artist in your home, I’ve been reading a couple of books that encourage your kid to develop from already acquired abilities.
For instance, if your kid is already familiar with all sort of different materials, it’s a fun thing to invite them to explore new concepts, or try out a mixed media art tutorial. Or maybe you can offer and invitation to try out animation and stop motion techniques!
Book number 3
ARTrageous! More Than 25 Drawing, Painting & Mixed Media Projects for Adults and Children to Create Together by Jennifer McCully.
Jennifer McCully wants to introduce you to the joys of mixed media.
What is mixed media? It’s the ability to combine different textures, painting methods, collage and stencils, just to name a few, to create highly personalized forms of art.
For her, certain craft materials are essential: from glass bead gel to Hole punches; from tear fabric pieces to make ribbons, to stencils and good old Mod Podge, everything works.
The neat thing is that EVERYTHING really works, and just the joy of trying out splattering techniques on top of printed words; themselves on top of a colorful canvas, are just great starters to foster creativity.
Also, I know want to add jean buttons to everything.
Format: Paperback / Softback, 144 Pages
Illustrations: 500 color photos & illustrations
Book number 2
Art Lab for Kids. 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media—For Budding Artists of All Ages by Susan Schwake & Reiner Schwake
As I’ve said before, this book will build up from already acquired skills. It has suggestions for art pieces, but it’s not a step by step kind of book. It’s more like a guided process that invites your kid first to: draw, then to paint, then it gives a great recipe for gelatin plates that you can make at home (for printing), and then moves on to paper collage and mixed media.
Each lesson features the work and style of a contemporary artist, but it’s more about the process than about the final result. Some of the tips of the book are excellent, for instance, the fact that you need to add a bit of detergent to black ink when you are making a scratching-over-crayon technique, who knew that?
Some of her projects feature well explored techniques as adding coarse salt for texture in watercolor, but others, like her Reverse Color Landscape Painting are new concepts that I am looking forward to try out. Also, gouache techniques are a new concept: they allow painters to experiment an acrylic-like method but they will dry less quickly and can be recombined with a bit of water to correct mistakes.
Format: Paperback / softback, 144 Pages
Book number 1
Animation Lab for Kids. Fun Projects for Visual Storytelling and Making Art Move – From cartooning and flip books to claymation and stop-motion movie making by Laura Bellmont and Emily Brink.
Laura Bellmont and Emily Brink are the co-founders and lead teachers of The Good School, an arts-education school that cultivates and combines traditional art-making skills and the technologies involved in stop-motion animation film-making. They have a lot of experience teaching kids how things move on the screen, from traditional techniques to straight-ahead animation.
This was the book more removed from my actual experience, however, my husband works in a comic and animation workshop and library, and was able to peruse the book and identify many good aspects of it.
For some of the activities presented, you will NOT need a camera, such as: zoetropes, flip books, and cartoon-cel animation.
The animation process is explored exhaustively, from conceptualizing, designing, and scripting a film, to basic tools, supplies, and how to add sound.
Now for other activities you WILL DEFINITELY NEED a camera, and perhaps a tripod: for downshoot animation, where 2D art surfaces and characters come to life; to straight-ahead animation where they present you with projects for hand-sewn and claymation puppets… to set-building and rigging.
A new concept for me was Pixilation: how the children themselves can act out and animate short sequences of their own actions.
Both authors teach animation techniques at camps, schools, and events, including the New York International Children’s Film Festival. They also offer professional development for teachers; among their clients are The Spring School, Spence School, and Pratt Institute. Laura Bellmont has a webpage.
Format: Paperback / softback, 144 Pages
Illustrations: 200 color photos
Disclosure: These books where provided to me for review purposes, but all opinions remain my own.