If I had to recommend only one book (yeah, like that’s ever going to happen) for teaching children how to create realistic drawings this book would be my first choice: Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes.
I have used this book myself and have given it to my children to read on their own (even though it’s intended to be used more as a teacher’s guide). We have all used it with great success.
But if I was not limited to just one book I would add a handful of other resources that might look something like this:
Discovering Great Artists and Storybook Art by MaryAnn Kohl and Kim Solga
Draw Write Now series by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer
Draw and Write Through History series by Carylee Gressman and Peggy Dick
All of the above books are great first starts to beginner level drawing, and ones that my children have found very helpful in developing their basic drawing skills.
I might also throw in a few artist biographies and perhaps a simple history of art if the child is so inclined.
Moreover I would add in lots and lots of beautiful art by other artists; easily found with a quick Google image search. There are several art books on our home library shelves full of the works of famous artists that we scooped up for a loonie (Canadian one dollar coin) at used book sales over the years. We use Charlotte Mason’s method of Picture Study and we always have a featured artist and featured works by that artist that we are “studying” each term. We use that term loosely, as studying is really more of an “appreciation” and something to be enjoyed. Often we will listen to a piece of classical music pertaining to that term’s history period (usually the same as the period of the artist in focus) as we enjoy looking at these lovely paintings, sculptures or sketches.
We love art and try to make time in our home learning schedule to make art, view art, read about the artists, learn about their place in history etc. It’s a joy not a chore. I would encourage anyone curious about beginning to study or create art to just jump in and go for it.
We were created to be creative… made in the image of the Creator.© Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2013.
God is the perfect Creator. Though we are made in His image, we will never make perfect art. What I tell my students in the homeschool co-op art class is that their concern is not perfection; it is doing their best for God’s glory! I am so grateful that God gave us a sense of aesthetic appreciation! He obviously has one, as well!
I have used the Drawing with Children book and I do like it. I also like the Betty Edwards book, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. (Note that there is another edition after this, too, but I haven’t seen it.) However, I just found another drawing book at the library that I like even better. It is called Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner by Claire Watson Garcia, 2003. Garcia’s book is less cumbersome than that of Edwards, while holding to the same theories about how we learn to produce realistic art.
One idea that I am toying with: Make it a homeschooling goal to have my daughter learn some cartooning. While I appreciate realistic drawing very much, I have noticed times in my life in which I wished I could express ideas with quick pictures. I have thought of this when wanting to illustrate sermons to my child sitting next to me at church, for instance. As you know from reading Drawing with Children, there is a big difference between drawing with symbols and drawing realistically. Both have their legitimate place. And, wouldn’t cartooning be a valuable skill for any teacher? What are your thoughts on cartooning?
I agree, “God is the perfect Creator.” And I love that He has given to us this joy of creativity and beauty!
Thank you for the book recommendations; they are always welcome here!
I have not personally worked with cartooning, although my husband had some prior instruction in a secondary school setting. I would encourage all forms of artistic expression, cartooning included. Although, I wouldn’t think cartooning matches realistic drawing for developing patience, attention to detail and stretching the artist in his/her abilities in quite the same ways. However you bring up a valid point that there are times when cartooning might come in handy as you mentioned. I know in our family we enjoy playing games that require speed and the ability to express ideas visually using more cartoon-like animation. Not surprisingly my husband is quite good at these games. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
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