• Projects

    An Artful Gift for a New Baby

    A friend of mine has recently had a new addition to her family, so this project was created because I needed a small extra gift that I could give to mark the occasion – something small, unique and personal, that I could make fairly easily. In the end I decided to make this simple hanging decoration decorated with monochrome drawings (in recognition of the fact that young babies see strong contrasts most clearly). If you use ready made plain shapes, minimal sewing is required, and all you need are fabric pens and a length of baker’s twine to attach them together and form a hanging loop. I left the backs…

  • Reviews

    Review – You Will be Able to Draw ….

    It’s been a while since I last did a book review, so when I was given the opportunity to review You Will be Able to Draw by the End of This Book by Jake Spicer, I thought it would be interesting to take a look.  I should make it clear here that this book is not aimed at children, but with guidance could be used with older children.     Drawing is one of the fundamental foundation skills of art – this is partly I think because the very act of drawing teaches us to observe, and to analyse what we see. However many people who want to draw and paint…

  • Reviews

    Drawing Projects for Children

    There are no shortage of practical books about art out there for children, but speaking as someone whose first love in art is drawing, I was curious to review Drawing Projects for Children by Paula Briggs, (published by Black Dog) as there are not so many which focus on the act of drawing itself. This is not a book about ‘how to draw’ in the traditional sense, and is, I personally thought, all the better for it. Instead it is a truly creative book – the projects are aimed at encouraging children to explore different aspects of drawing for themselves – inviting them to think and create in different ways. Well-structured,…

  • Features

    Valuing Art Education

    Throughout my life and my career, I have found that art is often considered a luxury item – something that’s nice to have, and fun to do, but not to be taken seriously, and certainly not to be regarded as important or challenging in any way.  When it comes to the curriculum at school it is generally not considered to be as important as other subjects, and even while studying art at university I found that students of other subjects often considered it an ‘easy’ degree, one that was less rigorous than scientific subjects, and that a day spent in the studio was a day spent  ‘dossing’ about. Yet art…

  • Reviews

    Make a World

    I recently came across this book while browsing around the web.  Apparently, although I’d never come across it before, it’s something of a classic, and was first published in 1972.  It is one of a whole series of similar style books by the author Ed Emberley, all with different themes.  It seems that this book in particular was quite influential, and helped shaped the visual culture of an entire generation of artists and designers. The book covers a vast amount of subject matter in its 32 pages, and 400 illustrations, and the completely visual instructions are well suited to children whose reading skills may not yet be that strong.  The…

  • Features

    Learning to Draw

    This week I thought I’d take a look at how children’s artwork develops from their earliest scribbles and daubs, through to about the age of 11 or 12.  Although all children will show the same broad developmental stages, the age at which they are reached may vary a little from child to child.  In spite of this, within each stage every child will have their own particular style and characteristics which reflect their personality.  The terminology used for the different stages, does appear to vary somewhat according to the author you read, but broadly the development is as follows:   Stage 1: Beginnings The earliest stage, which begins at around…