20 January 2013

Book: Art Lab for Kids

Look what Spud and I got for Christmas! Some of my favourite weekend time is doing arty things with my boy and this Art Lab for Kids is going to make it that much more fun. It has 52 art projects in all, presumably designed for one per week for a year ... well, I'm not promising that we are going to be able to fit it in every week but we are starting at "Lab 1" and working our way through, when we can.

We just completed Lab 3 — scribble drawings.

Spud found 4 animals in his scribble. A fish, a penguin (rear view), a whale, and a seal.

He cut them out and put them on this icy scene.

I found one giant snail in my scribble.

There are 3 things I love about this book. First, it's full of "real" art projects; in that they are not "kiddie crafts" per se. Not that there's anything wrong with kiddie crafts, they are good clean fun too, but sometimes I find them to be a little patronizing and can lack imagination and opportunities to build skills. These "labs", as they call them, really get you thinking or seeing things in a new way. They are real exercises in learning skills through experimentation and while they are appropriate for kids, they are good for anyone.

The second thing I love about this book is the range of media it exposes us too. I've never used soft pastels before, for example (Lab 2). I knew about oil pastels but had never even heard of soft pastels. A little trip to our local art store helped me discover gorgeous, vibrantly coloured media that blends brilliantly. I'm hooked. Even the kid, who doesn't like getting his hands dirty, was smitten with them.

The third thing I love about this book, are the little blurbs that encourage us to take risks and lose our obsessions with being perfectly representational. Perfectionism can kill creativity. Our boy has a healthy dose of each so he can be conflicted sometimes. Whenever Spud is hesitating to delve into something scary, like doing a still life, without an eraser! ... I read some of the wisdom from the book and it seems to make it easier for him to just go for it.

Really looking forward to Lab 4 and beyond.