Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth is an important holiday that commemorates the date in which all of the African slaves learned that they had been declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation. Inspired by the Juneteenth flag and a beautiful painting created by the late, award-winning illustrator, Sonia Lynn Adler, we created two simple resist watercolor paintings.
For the flag resist painting we used a white crayon to draw the shapes. Meanwhile for the fireworks image, we used a white oil pastel to draw the lines. Both paintings were painted over with a Crayola watercolor set.
How do you think the Juneteenth flag is similar and different from the U.S. flag?
This simple art activity has a cross-curricular connection to social studies and ELA. It's also a great way to reinforce the art elements, texture, line and value. Have a fantastic summer!
Wow! It's hard to believe that it's already summer. The year seems to be flying by. At any rate, we are ecstatic that summer vacation has officially begun. We are also excited to share some of our favorite art resources that are inspired by Father's Day.
Books about Dad
We love these children's books that feature stories about loving fathers. These are a few of our favorite books that display beautiful illustrations.
Father's Day Cards
We have a set of colorful Father's cards available at our online gift shop.
Super Hero Father's Day Card
Here's a video we created several years ago with steps to create a super hero themed Father's Day card. Download a free copy of the template for this activity by clicking on the file below.
Paint With Dad
This picture is of a beautiful family who participated in one of our paint party events. We created a template of the family using tagboard. They traced the template onto a 16" x 20" canvas using a black sharpie. They finished the painting by painting the sillouhette black and background blue with acrylic paint. We hope your Father's Day is filled wth love and creativity.
Happy Father's Day!
We are so thankful for all of the love, work and support that we receive from our moms. My mother always encouraged me to be creative. In celebration of her, I created this wearable pin art. Here's how I made it:
Feel free to tailor the materials to fit your style and taste. The materials listed below, are available at most local craft stores.
Happy Mother's Day!
Make sure to explore some of the other art lessons that we offer, which can also be used for Mother's Day. We hope you have a beautiful day!
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.
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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