Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
Women are phenomenal in so many ways. As Women's History Month comes to a a close, we think about all of the strong women who played an intricate role in our upbringing. One of the rituals that strengthened the women in our family/community is the one in which we attended church every Sunday.
Fancy hats were an important part of the fashion that women wore in our church; which inspired our latest coloring book, entitled Sophisticated Ladies in Hats. I created the illustration below, using one of the images from the coloring book in combination with stickers, rhinestones and scrapbook paper.
Meanwhile, this month our "Picture Book Story Time" features two books written and illustrated by amazing women who beautifully tell the stories of families who attend church every Sunday. The first book entitled Early Sunday Morning, written by Denene Miller and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, also display women in fancy hats. I love this book because it reminds of my childhood and the church we attended. I also connect with the main character of the story, because I was afraid to sing solos with our church choir when I was a little girl. Denene and Vanessa do an amazing job of depicting a wonderful family tradition through words and pictures.
The second book is also about a family going to church and is entitled Sunday. This book was written and illustrated by award-winning artist, Synthia Saint James. She uses vibrant colors and simple shapes to tell a similar story of a family attending church and having dinner afterwards. Sunday dinner with also a big tradition in my family. My great-grandmother and aunts always cooked really large dinners for other family members who would visit us on Sundays.
As we close this month of celebrating women's history, you can use the questions below to facilitate a cross-curricular activity related to both books and lead young artists in a discussion.
1. How are the stories similar?
2. How are the stories different?
3. What Elements/Principles of Design do you see in each book?
4. Which story do you like the most? Why?
5. What kind of activities do you do with your family on Sundays?
Also, make sure to check out our Neighborhood Clay Tile Art Lesson which is inspired by Synthia Saint James' book, Sunday. Have a blessed spring break and holiday!
February is a month of love. One thing that we love is the opportunity to share creativity through a multicultural lense. Here are a few other things that we love:
West African Adinkra Symbols
We love the meaning and beauty of Adinkra Symbols. We were especially excited when we discovered these Adinkra imprinted chocolate bars created by the '57 chocolate company. This innovative company is owned by sisters, Priscilla and Kimberly Addison. Their beautiful chocolates are a combination of sculpture and culture.
We love the work of talented illustrators; such as, Keturah Ariel and Dana Bly. Keturah, is a sought after visual artist, who illustrated the book, I Am Enough by Grace Byers. Dana Bly is the owner and designer of naturally curly images on products sold by her company, Pardon My Fro .
Children's Books that Feature Diverse Characters
Children's books are definitely a source of inspiration for several of our art lessons. The books listed below are positive stories and are filled with colorful illustrations. Make sure to check out the art lesson we created below, which is inspired by You Can Never Run Our of Love by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Ali Pye.
Flowers in Heart Art Lesson
You can use this art lesson with students in grade 3-5 or tailor it to use with other grade levels. Moreover, this art lesson is a great way to reinforce an understanding of patterns and shapes. It also has a cross-curricular connection to Social Studies and ELA, when it's connected to Valentines Day and the book.
Share your creative inspiration of love by commenting below.
Happy Holidays! We hope your holiday season is off to a great start. One of our favorite tools to use for holiday inspired art lessons are colorfully illustrated children's books. There are so many fantastic picture books for children that celebrate various holiday celebrations. We love books that have a new twist on traditional stories. Such as the book, The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow and illustrated by James Ransome. Beautifully illustrated, this book tells the nutcracker story from an African-American perspective with a jazz connection. We created a simple Nutcracker drawing tutorial inspired by the book. With a few art tools, you can create this drawing using simple lines and shapes. Feel free to pause the video as much as you need to and make changes to the drawing using different details/tools.
Send us your Harlem inspired Nutcracker drawings and we will display them on our website. Have a blessed holiday season!
As you explore this blog page, you'll find that we love the artistic inspiration that comes with autumn. We are excited about our latest resource inspired by the season. This cross-curricular lesson is also inspired by the lovely book, Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. Click on the picture to purchase the lesson. Also check out the simple Zentangle Leaf Art Lesson below.
Zentangle Leaf Art Lesson
One of the most important things we hope to do as creative educators is inspire our students. Recently we had the honor and privilege of meeting one of the artists who inspired the creation of this website. Mr. Richard Hunt is a renowned sculptor and visual artist who has created awe inspiring sculptures displayed around the United States and abroad. He was honored at the unveiling of one his latest outdoor works entitled "Spiral Odyseey". Commissioned for the Romare Bearden Park in Charlotte, NC, this work evokes a feeling of progress. Even though it was a very hot day, the energy was positive and uplifting as a beautiful choir sang to commemorate this amazing artist and work.
You can learn more about the artist by visiting his website, www.richardhuntsudio.com. We also offer an art lesson inspired by his work. You can purchase it by clicking on the picture below.
Happy New School Year! We hope you had a fantastic summer. This week is the first official week of school in the district we teach in. Many of you have already gone back to school. Here are three simple art ideas to get the year started off right in your art space.
2. Using drawing videos can be a fun and simple way to assess art students drawing ability. Here's one of our videos in which we use numbers and letters to create simple pictures.
In honor of the first weeks of school, we are hosting a sale from 8/28-8/31/2017. We have many art resources, lessons and activities that will enhance your creative curriculum. Simply enter the code BTSS2017 at checkout to receive a 10% discount on your entire order. Also share which art activities you start the year off with by commenting below.
We hope you're enjoying a fun and relaxing summer. Summer is a great time to travel. One of my favorite memories from childhood was when we would take the train to visit our family in Chicago. The train ride was always so fun and exciting. Meanwhile, one of our favorite children's books is Freight Train by celebrated author and artist, Donald Crews. Take a quick look at the simple Train Collage art lesson we created inspired by this colorfully illustrated book..
This art lesson is a great way to reinforce elements of design such as shape, color and texture for young artists in grades K-2. There are also cross-curricular connections to ELA, Math, Science and Careers. Finally, it is an art lesson that will help develop drawing, cutting, gluing and printmaking skills.
1. Cut the scraps of construction paper into different shapes and glue them to the bottom of the paper.
2. Use the crayons to add details such as wheels to each cart, a train track, gravel, etc.
3. Cut the sponge into a cloud shape (Only adults should cut the sponge). Stamp the sponge on the ink pad and then onto the collage to create the steam.
What is your favorite way to travel? Share with us by commenting below.
We love the month of June for so many reasons. One of them is that June is the month in which African-American contributions to music are highlighted. As we celebrate these amazing contributions, our latest Picture Book Story Time features the children's book, One Love. This colorful book is based on the popular song by renowned musician, Bob Marley and was adapted into a children's book by his daughter, Cedella Marley. The lovely illustrations were created by one of our favorite illustrators, Vanessa Brantley-Newton. We also created a colorful tamborine inspired art lesson related to the story. Check out the steps below to see how we made it.
1. 2 Paper Plates
2. Small Bells
3. Chenille Stems
4. Craft Paint
5. Paint Brush
7. Colorful Wasabi Tape
8. Colorful Ribbon
9. Glue Stick
11. Circle Template
Make sure to explore our website and check out some of our other art resources that are related to music.
It's that time of the year when flowers are in full effect. With Mother's Day occurring during the month of May, flowers rule and serve as a great source of inspiration for art lessons. Here are three different floral lessons we did during the month of May.
After reading Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert, our 1st graders created flower collages using tissue paper. They also mounted the collages on gray construction paper and decorated the frames with tempera paint. We finished the paintings just in time for Mother's Day.
How are flowers inspiring you and your creative space this year? Share with us by commenting below.
We LOVE Spring!!! The blooming of flowers and foliage is one of our favorite parts of the season. Moreover, one of our favorite artists who incorporates beautiful floral motifs into his work is the amazingly talented artist, Kehinde Wiley. His work features powerful images of African-American individuals from various backgrounds. An ivy league graduate, he has taken the art world by storm for the last several years.
Inspired by Wileys' wonderful art, we're glad to share our latest art resource entitled, Kehinde Wiley Inspired Sportswear Design art Lesson. This lesson is a great way to introduce young artists in grades 6-12 to his work and develop their illustration skills. Make sure to explore our website to find other art resources that celebrate Spring.
How do you celebrate Spring in your creative space? Share with us by commenting below.
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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