Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
While we normally focus on the achievements of real life Black creative heros during the month of February, this year we decided to also focus on some of our favorite fictional superheroes. There are so many visual art lessons and careers within the world of super hero storytelling. everything ranging from illustration to fashion design to special effects makeup to animation and so much more.
Unfortunately Black representation featured in comic books/graphic novels, video games, television shows and films were grossly lacking in mainstream media. As a young artist, I was so excited to see any fictional superheroes or comic book characters who were also Black. While Black representation in this genre is improving, we have a long way to go before we experience true equity. Meanwhile, here are a few of our favorite Black fictional/real-life superheroes both in front and behind the camera.
First of all, we want to honor the legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt. She's a true icon/superhero and one of the first Black actresses seen in the Batman television series in the 1960s. Her work helped pave the way for other Black actors in this genre.
The popular character Storm from the 80's X-Men animated series was one of my favorite characters to watch as a child. As an adult the Cyborg character from Teen Titans animated show was one my favorite characters to watch with our children. While both of the styles of animation/charcters for each show are different, the color schemes in these two illustrations are similar.
We recently learned about the amazing art/illustrations of Afua Richardson. She is critically acclaimed for her work in the World of Wakanda comic book series and featured on the amazing HBO show Lovecraft Country. Click this link to learn more about this phenomenal artist.
Award winning costume designer, Ruth Carter designed the eye-catching African inspired costumes for one of our favorite superhero movies of all time, Black Panther. Furthermore, the talented hair stylist, Camille Friend created beautiful hairstyles that were sculptural and inspiring for the film.
Both the Black Panther comic book series and movie is one of the greatest examples of Black representation in this genre. Furthermore, the movie poster is a fantastic example of graphic design.
Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse is also one of favorite superhero movies that features an Afro-Latino main character. This animated movie is a wonderful example of all of the elements and principles of design. Make sure to explore our website to find more art resources featuring amazing Black creative heroes. Who is one of your favorite superheroes? Comment below.
Happy 2021! Now is a great time to focus on the words and work of Dr. Martin Luther King. In the art room, we have the pleasure of exploring visual creativity that expresses our admiration for Dr. King, his life and powerful words. Use the images below to lead your young artists in a discussion about various artistic renderings of Dr. King. How are the images below similar and different? Which piece do you enjoy the most? Which artist captured the essence of Dr. King?
Make sure to purchase and download our latest art lesson celebrating this iconic leader. Inspired by the work of renowned visual artist Faith Ringgold, this lesson is a great way for young artists to practice portrait painting. Also explore our website to discover more art lessons inspired by Dr. King and the artists featured in this post.
Season's Greetings! This holiday season is especially meaningful as we continue to deal with the challenges and blessings that came with 2020. Since Kwanzaa is one of our favorite cultural celebrations we decided to share some Kwanzaa inspired art lesson ideas that you can do with your family. We hope that you all have a peaceful and blessed holiday season.
Simple Kwanzaa Wreath
Click on each image below to learn more about and purchase each product.
Hello! We hope you all are staying safe and healthy. Here's a simple art activity inspired by family gatherings, delicious food and a lovely painting by John Holyfeld. While we're not able to engage in large gatherings with family and friends this year, we are still thankful for so many things; like our loved ones, creativity and you. Check out the video below and have the young artists in your family draw their favorite dessert. John Holyfield is also featured in our Prolific Black Artists Coloring Book which you can purchase by clicking on the image below.
A new school year has begun with new challenges. The pandemic has forced many families to continue homeschooling or support distance learning for their children. BE ENCOURAGED! As parents/family members helping to educate the young learners in your family, remember that you have always been and will continue to be their most important teachers. YOU CAN DO THIS! We have prepared 20 different art activities to help you foster creative growth in your children.
Make An Art Journal/Sketchbook
1. Use the steps shown above to make an art journal/sketchbook out of paper bags or whatever materials you have.
2. Decorate the cover. Use the journal to do the art activities below.
3. Follow the steps in the video to make another art journal using envelopes.
4. Draw a portrait of your family in the art journal.
Recognize Art in Nature
Use the Elements and Principles of Design to explore nature.
5. Color- Find 3-4 different plants, bugs and birds in nature that have your favorite color. Make a list of what you find in your art journal with a writing tool in your favorite color.
6. Texture- Collect 4 different rocks, sticks, leaves or shells from outdoors that have texture. Place a sheet of paper on the surface of each object and lightly rub a crayon, color stick or pencil over the paper to see the texture on the paper.
7. Pattern- Look for 3 interesting patterns in nature and photograph them.
8. Contrast- Identify 3 different areas in nature that show contrast, such as white fluffy clouds in a blue sky; paint a picture of one of the areas that you like.
Look For Art in Public Spaces
9. Architecture- Find a residential or commercial building that has a unique design, paint color or detail. Take a picture and sketch it.
10. Mural- Use Google to locate a local indoor or outdoor space that has a colorful image on a building or street that you can view in person. Discuss what you like and/or dislike about the mural with your family and friends.
11. Sculpture/Installation- Visit a local park or outdoor space that has a cool sculpture. Use air dry clay to create a maquette for a larger sculpture that could be displayed on your porch, patio or garden.
12. Typography- Photograph 3-4 different colorful signs/logos/billboards that are freestanding or displayed on commercial buildings or vehicles. Pick your favorite one and create a new version of the sign using your favorite drawing tools.
Learn About A New Visual Artist
There are so many amazing visual artists to discover and learn about. Check out the four fantastic artists we listed below. Click on their names to see an example of their art and learn more about them. Purchase these art history coloring books to find portrait coloring sheets for each artist; use a different coloring tool and technique for each artist sheet.
13. Hughie Lee Smith- Mr. Smith was an amazing painter and art educator.
14. Gordon Parks- Mr. Parks was a phenomenal photographer and movie director.
15. Stephanie Pogue- Stephanie Pogue was a prolific printmaker and art professor.
16. Xenobia Bailey- Ms. Bailey is a dynamic multimedia fiber artist and activist
Create An Art Gallery Space in Your Home
There are a plethora of ways to create an art gallery space for your children's art in your home. It can be displayed on a wall in colorful frames, bookshelf, refrigerator, cork board, easel, etc. The size, space, style and method is totally up to you. This is a great activity to plan with the young artists in your home. You can also have more than one art gallery space. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
17. Clothesline or Vertical Ribbon- This method is simple to install. Just use clothes pins for a clothesline or glue dots for the ribbon to hang the art.
18. Science Poster Board- Using this type of poster board for an art display is a great idea because it's portable.
19. Clipboards- You can hang 1 or more clipboards on a wall to create a simple art gallery space.
20. Digital Display -Photograph your children's artwork and display the photos on a digital frame that will play a slideshow of their masterpieces.
Make sure to explore our website to find more art activities!
This Father's Day will be an especially significant day for African-Americans around the country to honor and connect with the fathers in our communities. Not only have many Black families lost loved ones to Covid-19, some have also lost family members to police brutality. Our heart and prayers go out to George Floyd's children and family; as well as the other African-American family members who have experienced a similar tragedy.
Black visual artists have oftentimes used artistic expression as a way to protest and speak out against the ills of society. Here are a few art resources to explore as we approach the special day for dads while also protesting racial injustice in America.
Use our latest coloring page art video to have a coloring party with the special father(s) in your life. You can also use this activity as a way to celebrate Father's Day and discuss the recent protests happening around the world related to racial injustice.
We are excited about our Justice Photograph Art Lesson. Inspired by the black and white photography of Gordon Parks, this lesson is a great way for young artists to practice their photography and graphic design skills. They can also use this art lesson to have more conversations about the protests and racial injustice happening around the United States.
As we mourn the brutal loss of George Food, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery and many other beloved African-Americans, this Juneteenth is especially significant. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 and commemorates the day that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved Africans/African descendants in the state of Texas in 1865 (two years after it was originally signed in 1863).
While this historical document was supposed to mark the end of the horrific period of slavery in America, unfortunately we are still burdened by the vestiges of it today. As we process the many suffered injustices of African-Americans, we will continue to use art to help soothe some of the pain.
While there are many colors used to decorate for Juneteenth celebrations, the color red has great significance. The use of red in the food and drink served during Juneteenth celebrations, can be traced back to West Africa. We have created several Juneteenth themed art resources: one of them uses the color red as a focal element.
Use our Juneteenth Commemorative Plate Art Lesson as an individual or group art activity. Click on the image to learn more.
This Juneteenth Coloring Set is great resource to add to your curriculum.
Juneteenth Paper Lantern
Here's another simple, yet fun creative project you can create for Juneteenth. We used two designs from the Juneteenth Coloring Set and simple art materials that we got from the dollar store.
You can use these paper lanterns as centerpieces at your Juneteenth celebration. Make sure to explore our website for more great art lesson and resources.
Hello! We hope you're healthy, safe and staying creative. Today, we want to share some art resources that are inspired by mom. While this post highlights Mother's Day, these creative resources can be used all year long.
One of our newest resources is a fun multimedia art lesson inspired by the beautiful work of prolific artist, Laura Wheeler Waring. This streaming art lesson shows step-by-step how to create a Bas-Relief Flower Bouquet, which would also be a great gift for mom. You can also learn more about Mrs. Waring in our Great African-American Artists Coloring & Activity Book.
Host a virtual coloring party for mom and all of the other special women in your life with our coloring books, sets and videos.
Finally, you can also make a bracelet for mom using simple materials from your kitchen and craft supplies by watching our Paper Flower Bracelet video.
Make sure to peruse our website to find more creative activities and tips. Happy Mother's Day and have a great weekend!
Hello! We hope that you are healthy and safe during this time of social distancing. It's definitely a time to try to rest, reset and rejuvenate your creativity. We're going to end this Women's History Month with some art resources that highlight phenomenal women visual artists.
We are happy to share this video book reading of Jamilah Loves To Talk About Art by our very own Alicia L. McDaniel. Jamilah is a talented young artist who learns about renowned visual artists such as Elizabeth Catlett and Alma Thomas.
We also have a simple art tutorial highlighting dedicated art educator and visual artist, Alma Thomas. You can find the coloring portrait sheet of Alma Thomas in our new Jamilah Loves to Talk About Art Activity Set or Great African-American Artists Coloring and Activity Book.
Relax and explore our website to find more art resources that feature amazing women artists that will help rejuvenate your creativity.
Wow! February has come and almost gone in the blink of eye; it feels like time is flying. In the spirit of time flying, this post will be short and sweet. We have the cutest idea for using our Great African-American Artists Coloring & Activity Books. Inspired by the enamel artist pins found in art museum gift shops, we used shrinking plastic, permanent markers, a pin back and hot glue gun, to make black artist pins. This is a great way to celebrate Black History all year long. Check out the simple steps below.
We used Faith Ringgold and Romare Bearden's coloring portrait sheets from the books above. Click on each cover to purchase your very own copy.
1. We placed the plastic over the artist's image and traced it. 2. We used permanent markers to color the plastic sheets. 3. Then we cut out the images, placed them on a baking sheet and baked them according the directions on the package. 4. After they cooled, we added a pin back using a low-temp hot glue gun.
(This activity should be done by or with a responsible adult.)
What are you doing to celebrate Black History Month?
Let us know 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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