I remember drawing one good picture of a flower in middle school, it was purple and large and my art teacher really liked it. Aside from that one drawing, artistic skills and abilities have never been a strength for me. My son is very interested in drawing and I wanted him to have the help he needed to develop his skills. He has been doing an art program with my daughter and enjoying it, but wanted more instruction how to draw well. I was very excited to give him the opportunity to try one of the books in the K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8 series by ARTistic Pursuits Inc.
When looking at the series I knew they were designed for younger students (my son is a 7th grader) but decided after talking to him to go ahead and give it a try. I did get Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8 which is generally recommended for the older end of that range and specifically focuses on drawing with graphite and colored pencils. I was prepared for him to feel like it was to ‘babyish’ for him, but the book is laid out in such a way that it works for a wide range of ages. Though a second or third grader could have done the lessons, it did not feel ‘babyish’ for my middle schooler and did a great job of giving him more basic drawing instruction.
This program is a combination of book lessons with some short video lessons. The book includes both a DVD and a Blu-ray. For this particular volume the only supplies that I needed to purchase were graphite pencils. He also needed plain paper and later in the book colored pencils but we already keep those supplies on hand.
The lessons were short and only took him about 15 or 20 minutes to complete. They are set up to be one lesson a week but since he is older I had him go ahead and do a couple of lessons most weeks. For each lesson you have instruction either in the book or a short video (about 5 minutes) and then a practice activity. This particular volume is twelve text lessons and six video lessons. In addition to basic drawing instruction, the book also includes information and lessons about various famous artists. Each of the twelve text lessons included a different artist. I loved that they were introduced to some great artists, including John Copley and one of my personal favorites, John James Audubon.
For the lesson featuring John Singleton Copley the student was introduced to the artist with a bit of background information about the artist. Then they showed how he used basic shapes in his drawings using an example of one of his famous pieces. The student is then given instructions on how to translate that skill into their own drawing of an object they can see or a photograph. There is also an example picture done by a nine year old student. I think this feature is nice because it gives both the student and the parent a better idea of a reasonable expectation for the assignment.
The short video lessons demonstrated examples of different skills. One of them showed how to use shading to create light and dark and another taught students how to draw lines and circles with a ruler and compass. After each lesson the student had the opportunity to take what was learned and create their own art work.
As a seventh grader, my son was able to easily work through this course without any assistance from me. He enjoyed the short lessons and I could see improvement in his skills. If I were using this with a younger student, I would go through the lessons with them to make sure they understood the reading and be prepared to assist as necessary. it would still not take much prep work for the teacher and is a very easy to implement course.
Each volume of this series focuses on a different set of skills including watercolor, print making, paper construction, etc. With elementary aged children each volume is designed to be covered in one semester. If you are using it with older students, you could easily cover two or three in a semester. You can find more information about the other volumes at ARTistic Pursuits Inc. and donn’t forget to click the link below to read reviews from other Crew members. You can find reviews for each of the different levels and see how families with different ages used the program.
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