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Why it’s hard to teach children drawing lessons – elementary grades

I met many art teachers and elementary teachers in my art training workshops that share similar frustrating stories about how their students struggle with the ideas of learning reaslim. There’s modern new ways you can approach teaching children drawing lessons. So in this blog I want to share some reasons why this happens, and provide you resources that will alleviate some of these frustrations.

Why Kids Can’t See The Artist Way

Teaching young children the abstract analysis of the structure of form is complicated for many reasons. First, observations on forms, shapes, patterns, scale, light and colors in nature is an abstract concept to the young developing mind. In adult fine art schools these abstract ideas are learned by classifying these ideas into a series of relationships. To learn how to draw the artist must learn concepts like form, shape, and mass to understand nature’s perspective.

My naturalistic studio observations over the past twenty years has revealed that children and adult cognitive processing (what we know and remember), visual perception (what our brain sees), and fine-motor abilities (how we use materials) are connected and responsible for how we learn artist skill sets. So without children being mature in all three areas, children will struggle regardless of how many times you demonstrate how to draw in front of them. Once all three areas are mature realistic imagery can be learned and mastered with practice. Developing the observation of an artist eye comes over time steadily, especially for young children. 

Why teachers are frustrated with drawing lessons

I’ve come to learn that these challenges come from having students working on advance copy-mode style lessons focused on the elements and principles of design intended for a more mature art student. Combined with students observing master fine artist media to perceive abstract conceptual ideas in their artworks. These ideas are taught from many different fine art schools of thought, and conflicting points of view on teaching children. Also, typical visual arts education today tries to wrap difficult artistic concepts into fewer art lessons without considering the 3 part sensory system responsible for understanding abstract language of art.

The other reason elementary teachers are running into these roadblocks is public school art standards, and the common core are recommending consolidated art lessons without proper guides or resources for teaching young artist. This method is inappropriate for developing children to learn by. These standards originally came from studying adult fine art studio processes at college and adult level. Lower elementary children are not ready to learn these complicated ideas, and upper elementary children are just coming of age to observe with an artist eye.

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A Modern up-to-date way to teach children drawing lessons

Young children must be mature in three areas to start learning the meaning of abstraction. I’ve successfully taught thousands of children how to draw and paint realistic imagery with lessons that support these sensitive cognitive growth phases. I’ve also learned how to separate abstract concepts into smaller lesson parts for better engagement. This modern science art method aligns with a child’s growth. If you would like to learn more about my science art teaching method, you can read my blogs, purchase my books and curriculum here, or join my Newsletter on how to teach kids visual arts.

Love to hear your feedback on this topic!

Warmly,

Spramani


A checklist of lesson ideas children must work on to become better at drawing…its free!

All rights reserved ©, Nature of Art For Kids®

No part of this blog may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in

the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Kids Drawing Lessons Tips, Is copying pictures good?

Teach Drawing & Painting Without Knowing How To!

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I have taught over 200,000 children art lessons using good safe non-toxic art supplies.

I would like to give you some classroom art guidelines to follow while working with children under the ages of 12 years.

Here are some very good guidelines to follow while using art supplies, materials and equipment in your classroom:

Visual Art Safety Guides

Use only art supplies with a labels stating the product is non-toxic.

Do not use art supplies with solvents listed in the ingredients.

Do not use any aerosol strays, propellants, acids around children.

Do not use adult grade art supplies, these require kids to read and understand the dangers of handling properly.

Do not use old donated art supplies. New toxic laws protecting children came into law only less than ten years ago.

Do not use art supplies that are too dusty, or powdery around children.

Do not use any paints listing (cadmium, or cobalt).

Young children should not be around ceramic glazes, metal or stained glass finishes during the finishing process.

Most art supplies should be disposed into the trash can, not down the drains. Only rise water soluble based supplies into sinks and drains.

I hope this gives you some quick guides. If you would like to learn more, check out my art supply blogs below.

I also have many art teaching guide books here.

Earth-friendly art teacher,

Spramani Elaun

Nature of Art®

Top 10 Safe Kids Art Supplies For Project Making, Art Teacher Review

Organic, Non Toxic or Natural Art Supplies

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7 Secrets to Running a Successful Art Camp

By Spramani Elaun

It’s art camp time for me, so I thought I would share my 7 secrets to running a successful art camp.

Crazy as it might seem, you too can run a successful art camp!

I’ve been running art camps for close to 20 years, and I have tips that can fast track you like a pro.

Maybe you know lots of kids that need activities to do this summer, or maybe you’re in charge of activities at church, or youth organization?

Whatever the reason kids love art camp and they cherish the memories.

I know this because my families start asking me way head of summer “When’s art camp happening??”.

So here are my 7 secret tips to running an art camp.

1 Plan Art Camp

Get the word out as early as you can to your families.

Try at least two weeks before art camp to advertise, but if you have the luxury – start months before the actual date.

Families are looking well in advance for activities to fill their child’s summer calendar.

Art camps were designed to help working parents find activities for their children during the summer months for at least 3 – 5 hours daily.

So decide dates and time before you advertise.

2 Daily Art Camp Agenda

Create your daily agenda timeline, this might include:

Check-in

Activities & Projects

Snack

Lunch

Clean-up

Check-out

Lunch time tip:

Have families pack their kids lunch and drinks just like school.

I know kids get excited for snack time at new places.

Good snacks for you to provide can be; fruit, pretzels, popcorn, veggies, or cookies.

Don’t over sugar your attendees, you will have to tame those beast.

3 Get Art Camp Support

Don’t run an art camp on your own if you have more than five kids to attend to. 

Get help by enlisting a teenager helper or an adult volunteer.

These art helpers can really come in handy when you are setting up, or doing something that needs your attention.

4 Make Art Projects Adjustable

Be sure all your activities can be adjustable for all ages.

You will attract different ages with different capabilities.

So be flexible on what you want kids to create daily.

You will most likely attract siblings at different ages, which might need help making some of the projects.

5 Budget & Shopping For Art Supplies

It’s a good idea to plan out each days projects ahead of time.

This will give you a good idea of what you’ll need, and help you budget out each project cost.

Take a stroll around your local craft stores to get some ideas, inspiration, and get a better price on art supplies.

6 Make Art Camp Fun

Don’t get caught up in the final product of each project.

Kids have been rushed around all year-long in school and really need down time to play, explore, discover, and make new friends.

Don’t take it serious that you need to be teaching crazy art skills or projects.

Kids should have memorable fun art camp experiences, not complex ones.

Play games, and do fun bonding collaborative art making projects.

Have kids plan to create something they can give their parents the last day of camp, this planning can start earlier in the week.

7 Art Camp Project Ideas

The skies the limit here, but here’s some ideas I do annually.

Collaborative mural painting

Fabric drawing on t-shirts

Face Painting

Tie-dye t-shirts

Nature Art Making – sticks, rocks and leaves

Recycle Art – paper rolls, cardboard, or bubble wrap

Magazine Collage

Highlight an artist for the day like Eric Carle, or Jason Pollock 

Action painting – marble painting, spray bottle painting, or splatter painting

Hot Glue Constructing

Mono Prints

If you have questions on this topic, feel free to reach: spramanielaun@gmail.com

Warmly,

Spramani

Check out my blog for more art project ideas here!

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How to Teach Children Art

By Spramani Elaun

Teaching children visual arts can be an easy task once you have all the right information you need.

Teaching art has many different areas to teach like drawing, painting, crafting, sculpting, mixing colors, and even digital multi-media.

In this blog I want to start with the very basics you need to get started teaching kids art.

This article is more focused for the person teaching primary and elementary grades.

If you would like more information, I have blogs and books taking a deeper dive into specific visual art subjects.

You can also order my book DEFINING VISUAL ARTS outlining art literacy standards.

I’ve taught close to 200,000 children of all ages how to paint and draw over a course of 20 years.

I now train teachers Internationally teaching them how to bring literacy into their classrooms.

Why Visual Art is Important to Teach Kids

The first thing you should understand is some important aspects to why we should teach kids art.

  • Humans are the only species on the planet that can create with their hands!
  • Making art is another way we can communicate ideas.
  • Art making allows children to think creatively, and problem solve.
  • Pushing the mind to think outside the box, leads to new ideas, plus innovative thinking.

What Art Subjects Do we Teach Kids?

Regardless, if you’re a teacher in the classroom or parent, art lesson topics are all the same.

Choosing an area in the arts is a personal preference.

You might like the idea of teaching children to paint, or you might favor crafting.

Generally, the subject area to teach is your choice.

But, there are Educational Art Standards with guides to follow for specific grade levels.

These Art Standards help you understand at what level you should be teaching at.

If you would like to following these guides, check out my book on The Arts Standards Defining Visual Arts, or you can look up your local educational department for these standards.

Getting Started with Lessons

Decide on the subject area you want to focus your lessons on, maybe you have chosen painting.

Then choose the type of painting method you want to teach, watercolor painting is one way to learn to paint.

You’ll need to do some light research on the basic materials you need, then choose your supplies, for watercolor painting.

Once you have materials, I recommend you and your students explore them first without instructed art lessons.

You can then decide on the techniques you wan to learn about.

There’s literally hundreds of artist techniques to explore.

If you would like to follow formal lesson plans, you can buy books, or search online on these topics.

If you are a teacher within a district and need to report that your art lessons are following the Arts Standards, again I  recommend you get familiar with these guides.

I’ve written a book that creates a framework for learning the subject. Defining Visual Arts focuses on the latest standards and the most important projects, mediums, and techniques to teach.

Warmly,

Spramani Elaun

What Art Supplies For Beginner Children Should I Buy

6 Basics – How to Paint with Kids

Teach Drawing & Painting Without Knowing How To!

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Teach Drawing & Painting Without Knowing How To!

By Spramani Elaun

I’ve recently been getting loads of emails from parents and teachers struggling with this question…

“How can I teach my students art if I don’t know how to paint or draw realistic pictures?”

I’m so excited to answer that question!

First off, you CAN teach elementary grade students how to paint and draw without knowing yourself, I promise.

OK, let’s dive into this and I’ll explain how that is even possible.

I’m a professional illustrator, painter, computer graphic artist… however truth be told… I rarely get to show off these skills to elementary students, because they’re too young for this type of instruction.

I only get to show my skills with high school and adult level students. 

Why is that?

The reason is children are not developmentally ready for this type of training.

Children need to be mature in 3 areas.

Over twenty years working with hundreds of thousands of students, I’ve identified the science of how kids learn to paint and draw.

These 3 areas work together developing our art skills over time.

3 Part – Science Art Method

  1. Visual Perception – the eyes ability to gather optical information.
  2. Cognitive Processing – the brain’s ability to process, recall, and process tactile input
  3. Fine Motor Abilities – the ability to create with controlled hand movements.

All 3 areas are directly linked to how we become artistically skillful.

By adolescents these areas are usually developed making it much easier to understand and learn color value, 3 dimensional perspective ideas, and refined motor movements.

It’s been the norm to think we need to be teaching kids the classical Masters along with the Elements and Principles of Design.

Most children struggle to observe this way, and need simpler art lessons. The fact is kids need lots of opportunity to experience foundational drawing and painting lessons.

As an adult you have enough experience and knowledge to teach painting and drawing basics. Here’s some elementary level art ideas you should know, or get to know before getting started;

  • Be able to draw basic geometric shapes in line
  • Know how to buy art supplies & materials
  • Read and follow arts & craft book instructions
  • Direct your students, or child
  • Schedule lessons
  • Keep track of completed  lessons
  • Be able to demonstrate steps
  • Have the willingness to explore alongside your students
  • Push your student to try the next step
  • Schedule times to finish projects
  • Sense your students emotions; are they stuck?, do they need visual examples?, do they need verbal explanations to understand each step?
  • Understand kids are not copy machines, they should not be trying to copy images exactly. Use visual example as guides, not the rule.

I honestly feel that children under 12 years are not getting enough foundational art lessons that can help transition them into realism. Here’s some foundational drawing and painting lesson you can teach without knowing how to draw and paint yourself.  But, I promise you these lessons will teach you, and your students how to draw and paint! If you would like to learn more about my science art method, please Check out my books, art lessons, and curriculum – clicking here!

Learn the basic Elements and Principles of Design:

Line

Shape

Forum

Texture

Value

Drawing

  • Learn how to make sketch marks and erase
  • Learn how to doodle with different mediums
  • Learn how to draw different types of lines
  • Learn how to combine lines into textures
  • Learn how to make patterns from lines
  • Learn how to color your line drawings with different mediums
  • Learn how to draw geometric shapes
  • Learn how to draw simple organic shapes
  • Learn how to draw symmetrical
  • Learn how to draw asymmetrical
  • Learn how to balance proportions
  • Learn what positive and negative space means
  • Learn how to draw different values using different mediums
  • Learn how to draw the horizon line
  • Learn how to make a vanishing point
  • Learn how to make 3D letters
  • Learn how to make a one point prospective drawing


Color Mixing

  • Learn primary color mixing into secondary colors
  • Learn how to create with cool colors
  • Learn how to create with warm colors
  • Learn how to mix shades
  • Learn how to mix tones
  • Learn how to mix tints
  • Learn how to mix different values of one color


Painting

  • Learn how to make different line brush marks
  • Learn how to paint organic shapes
  • Learn how to create textures with a paintbrush
  • Learn how to blend two colors
  • Learn how to paint geometric shapes
  • Learn how to paint line, dots and dashes
  • Lean how to paint crafts
  • Learn how to paint different surfaces
  • Learn how to use watercolor paint
  • Learn how to use tempera paint
  • Learn how to use acrylic paint
  • Learn simple techniques from famous artist
  • Learn how to mono print

Teach Drawing & Painting Without Knowing How-To!

Again if you would like to learn more about this science art method you can order my Books by Clicking Here.

Warmly,

Spramani

Kids Drawing Lessons Tips, Is copying pictures good?

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San Diego Kids Activities Summer Art Camp

Little Painters Camp

Toddler – First Grade

June 24th – 28th 2019

5 Days

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. daily (Summer Outdoor Setting)

Drop-in Style (come any time between 10:00 am – 1:00 p.m.)

Not A Drop Off Camp

Each child must have a parent or guardian present at all times.

Mommy and me style.

(Mature kids over age 6 can be dropped off with approval).

This San Diego Kids Activities Summer Art Camp is like no other!

Painting activities designed just for your child with real painting skill lessons.

All projects are process based and designed by a child art expert. This annual event happens once a year in Encinitas, California.

A one of kind painting experience:

  • 5 Days of Kids Activities
  • Child Art Expert Instructor
  • Safe Non-Toxic Paints
  • Age appropriate painting experiences
  • Beautiful outdoor summer setting near park for picnicking before or after panting.
  • Real Painting Instruction
  • Art Teaching Tips and Advice For Parents
Themed Painting Projects!

A one of kind painting experience:

  • 5 Days of Painting Activities
  • Child Art Expert Instructor
  • Safe Non-Toxic Paints
  • Age appropriate painting experiences
  • Beautiful outdoor summer setting near park for picnicking before or after panting.
  • Real Painting Instruction
  • Art Teaching Tips and Advice For Parents

Nature 

Ocean

Rainbow 

Dr. Seuss

Animal

Experimental Art

Located near down town Encinitas, location details are emailed to registered families.

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Designer Spramani Elaun Design Kids Art Making Space – Home Organizing Tips

Do you dream of your child making beautiful artworks?

Well I have some great news, you can design your own child’s art space with ease!

Even if you’re in a small living space.

Because the secret to a beautiful art space is really about giving kids the space and permission to work uninterrupted.

Have you heard that mantra “If you build it…they will come”, well in this case it’s true!

If you build a kids art making space well-organized they will create in it regularly.

 

As an art studio designer, kids art teacher, and home school mom, I’ve had the opportunity to design many stimulating creative art spaces over the past twenty years.

Here’s what I need you to first understand, If you don’t have a book shelf filled with books you won’t raise readers.  If you don’t have pens, papers paper or a dictionary handy, won’t raise a writer either. And guess what?… If you don’t have an art space with art supplies, you won’t raise an artist, so let’s talk about getting a space ready for your child to create in.

What Really Needs To Be In An Art Space?

So let’s take a look at the essentials of an art space for kids. In most of my books I’ve written, I share the six stations kids need to do typical arts and crafts. Here’s the six space components:

Table

Chair

Floor Covering

Light Source

Storage

Sink

Here’s a brief description of each of these components.

Now remember this comes from an experienced art teacher, not just a momma.

Table – all activities should take place on a flat surface.

Chair – along with a sturdy table children need a safe place to sit on while working.

Floor Covering – wherever you decide to place an art space, you’ll need to consider spills on the floor.

Light Source – For children to work with color they need a good source of light.

Art supply Storage – Art storage comes in many shapes ands sizes from baskets, jars, plastic storage bins, shelf, or even an art closet.

Sink – Somewhere hopefully there’s a sink accessible, whether it’s a near by bathroom, kitchen or studio sink to wash materials and hands.


Where Should An Art Space Be Located?

This can be its own room, part of your child’s bedroom, family living room, back yard, a section in your basement, even in your kitchen.

I remember one of my home school mom friends had a simple desk in the kitchen for her kids.

I always loved seeing it when we had tea while I visited.

I could see what her daughter was working on at that time, plus her daughter was always near showing my daughter her work while we parents chatted.

My own kids art spaces transitioned through the years they grew and moved around our home.

Now my daughter at 19 likes to draw and paint in her bedroom.

What Art Supplies Go into An Art Space?

You should only have the things out your child’s currently into.

Here’s what I mean –

One time my daughter was into sewing, so I just had all the things for sewing in her art space.

One year my kids were playing around with watercolor paints, so all I had was watercolor books and watercolor supplies out.

Another year my son was totally into building 3D air planes out of paper, legos and blocks.

Next week I’ll go deeper into the specifics why I follow this rules.

I’ll also share my expert tips on organizing and keeping the art space simple and uncluttered.

Until then, hop you start looking for an art space in your home.

I do have another blog I wrote about this topic, check it out below here.

You can also order my art teaching books, which goes more into art spaces here!

Kids Art Space at Home | Best Creative Tips

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Interested in learning more about my painting secrets with kids, purchase my paperback book Kids Painting here.

10 Teaching Kids Painting Tips – Art Teacher Spramani Elaun 1# Keep Painting Lessons Simple

Lessons should have two- three steps. Anything more than that is above elementary level for kids.

2# Process-Based Truly Supports Creative Flow

Figure out how you provide painting projects that are open ended, so child can have their own unique painting experience. Want to learn what process based art means.

What Process Based Art Means, Click Here.

3# Always provide kids with quality paint brushes!

Don’t’ give kids cheap paint brushes that can’t make smooth brushstrokes.

4# Never Walk Away from Paintbrushes!

First rule of thumb… fine artist always wash their paint brushes and put them away after each painting session.

Good paintbrush care means you’re a painter.

5# Wear a Smock

Anytime kids are painting projects, always wear paint clothes or a smock cover-up.
Even if the bottle says paint is washable, paint still soils clothing.

6# Designate a Painting Area

Decide before painting starts where painting will be set-up and stay. Never let kids get lazy about this rule, and remind them this is wear paint is allowed.

7# Paint on Multiple Surfaces

Don’t’ just think canvas. Paint rocks, sicks, cardboard, olds wood crafts, paper, fabric, leaves, branches, old CD’s, sea shells and cereal boxes. Think outside the box…and on the box!

Painting Kids Activity Tips (Blog)

8# Focus On Brushstrokes

Painting lessons can be about brushstrokes, color mixing and creating texture. Don’t get stuck thinking you have to paint realistic imagery. Kids should learn the basics for many years.

How to make brushstrokes, 7 tips (Blog)

9# Paint Your Pet

Your family pet can be a fun source for inspiration to paint, try out different textures. Like and outline of your pets body,  then splatter paint inside.

Skies the limit!

10# Scared of Messy Paint Splatters?

Well here’s my number one tip!

Shrink down the paints and paintbrushes.

You can read all about this trip in all my books and blogs.

You can manage the mess, by managing the materials and paint amount.

All rights reserved ©, Nature of Art For Kids®

No part of this blog may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

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Chinese New Year, Kids Painting, Sume-i Beginner Art Lessons

I had an amazing opportunity to make connections to Chinese characters my last teaching trip to China.

This trip gave me time to observe the Chinese art of brushstrokes around some of the provinces I visited.

I was fascinated to learn Hanzi characters originated as pictographs as far back as the Qin Dynasty!

As a beginner level… and I mean beginner trying to speak Chinese I was curious how ancient script evolved over generations to simplified Chinese.

As an artist I certainly see the beauty in the scripts, but there’s so much more for me to learn!

Being a visual learner the pictograph nature of where these characters originated is the art I’m presently hooked on!

Which has led me to the art of creating Sumi-e ink paintings.

Another fantastic opportunity I had was to visit Sumi-e material suppliers and buy my first set of bamboo brushes, ink and stone.

Once I got home I started practicing Sumi-e brush strokes.

I quickly discovered my students would love doing this also because it’s the basics of how I teach children to paint.

In fact I would say Sumi-e type exercises are idea for beginner painters!

Shopping around Yiwu city Zhejiang Province China Why Sumi-e Ink Painting For Kids

Sumi-e ink painting is perfect for children to learn because of its simplistic pictorial nature type imagery using only a few line brushstrokes.

Sumi-e subject matter is usually natural landscapes or creatures.

The focus is line brushstrokes with minimal detail, no texture, or blending.

What I like most about practicing Chinese brushstrokes is there’s no correction.

No sketching or outlining is done beforehand, unlike most painting lessons.

The movements are graceful flowing brush marks done once.

In fact I would say Sumi-e type exercises are idea for starting children on after the age of five.

Because the technique is focused on getting control of thin and thick brushstrokes, which is exactly how I start painting lessons with beginners.

Private brushstroke painting lesson with student in China.

 

Sumi-e Art Materials For Kids

Now, if you’ lucky and have access to Chinese paintbrushes with bamboo handles and animal hair great, but don’t let that stop!

One of my good art teacher friends Annie Macpherson has walked up to my art workshops and made Sumi-e brush marks just using my regular paint brushes.

She’s left me some beautiful bamboo paintings with just using a plain paintbrush.

You can teach the basics of Sumi-e techniques without traditional bamboo paint brush.

You need paper, black paint, and a pointy tip paintbrush.

Any black paint can work like kids watercolor, tempera, liquid paint, or acrylic paint.

But here’s the trick to making your paint work like Chinese Ink, you want the right consistency.

Think about the thickness of milk, water down paint to this consistency.

Only thin paints out with water, not paint thinners, or paint flow solutions.

Paint thinners are usually toxic and for adult artist.

Materials List

  • Black Chinese ink, or paint
  • Bamboo paint brushes, or a pointed plain paintbrush
  • Stone well, or jar as a  to hold paint
  • Light colored paper

 . 

Sumi-e Ink Painting Basic Lessons
  • Lesson 1: Load paintbrush without twisting the fibers
  • Lesson 2: Wipe excess ink off the brush using the sides of a jar or ink stone
  • Lesson 3: Practice making thin, long brushstrokes with the tip of the paintbrush
  • Lesson 4: Practice making thick brushstrokes with a larger amount of the paintbrush
  • Lesson 5: Practice making spirals and lines very slowly
  • Lesson 6: Practice making dots and dashes
  • Lesson 7: Practice making bamboo leaves, with simple short and long strokes all in only one try

I hope you try this out with your kids or students, as always I would love to see your projects or on our Facebook or Instagram.

Warmly,

Teaching and training art in the Montessori Classroom in China.

Spramani 

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