ARTistic Pursuits Elementary Gr 4-5 Book One 3rd ed - Elements of Art and Composition

ARTistic Pursuits Elementary Gr 4-5 Book One 3rd ed - Elements of Art and Composition

# 004841

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Item #: 004841
ISBN: 9781939394040
Grades: 4-5

Product Description:

Publisher Description:

This art curriculum is the answer for the child who wants to learn to draw more realistically but doesn’t know where to start. It incorporates the creative aspects of making art into each lesson. Fourth and fifth grade students can begin this book without prior knowledge of art and work independently without the need for parental instruction. Children learn to see the elements of art in nature and in artwork by American masters. They will learn the techniques that artists use and produce a final work that requires assimilation of the knowledge gained in the three previous lessons within the unit. Each element is fully covered through this process of learning and builds on the others through simple yet engaging lessons. Children find, to their delight, that they are asked to choose the subject they want to draw. This results in meaningful works of art as children fully engage in the process. In this way, children create real works of art from the beginning to the end of the book, without boring practice routines or copying methods. Children watch their artistic skills improve and are encouraged by the works they produce.

Children acquire skills in pencil drawing, scratch art, and markers. The art appreciation pages show how American artists like Remington, Audubon, Copley, and others used the elements of art and composition in their famous works, reproduced in full color. Technique pages demonstrate steps when working from direct observation, ways to add texture to a drawing, how to show form with lines, and other topics relevant to creating a drawing. The text is short and to the point and over 230 illustrations enhance visual understanding of the concepts. The content and conversational tone is perfectly suited to the age level. The book provides lessons for the completion of sixty-eight finished drawings that are both original and entirely the child’s own. Media Introduced:

  • Ebony pencil,
  • white pencil,
  • black markers with point and wide tip,
  • scratch art paper
  • and silhouette.

Category Description for ARTistic Pursuits:

Once in a great while you will come across an art program that is so easy-to-use, open-ended, and brimming with all sorts of exciting possibilities that you just want to use it yourself. This was certainly the case with ARTistic Pursuits when I first reviewed it. The basic philosophy of ARTistic Pursuits is to combine what it defines as the four essential areas, or categories, of art into a short, easily manageable and flexible lesson. The first category is Elements of Art, or "what art is made of" which include what we would think of as the basics of the actual drawing (line, shape, color, etc.). The next is Composition, or "how art is arranged" (balance, proportion, space), third is Media (variation), and finally, History (becoming familiar with different artists, styles, and periods). This seems like a lot to cover in one program, but ARTistic Pursuits does it surprisingly well and very naturally. The early elementary (K-3) level covers these same four areas in each lesson, but in a less in-depth and more informal manner. Each volume features 36 lessons and the Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School and old edition of Elementary volumes are comb-bound to lay flat.

Upper elementary, middle school and high school levels of ARTistic Pursuits are divided into two books each. The first book focuses on drawing including line, texture, form, shape, value, etc., while the second book focuses on color (tinting, shading, mixing, etc.). As an example, let’s look at the high school program. In the drawing portion of the program, the book begins with a lesson on observation and imagination, challenging art students to “see creatively”. This starts them off on the right foot for drawing scenes and objects which they will be doing extensively. From there it moves into line, texture, shape, form, value, and contrast, covering each of the basic “Elements of Art.” The other half is devoted to the elements of composition, including balance, rhythm, depth, and proportion (learning much of this in the context of the human face, figure, and clothing). The materials needed for the drawing portion are relatively few; pencils, charcoal, erasers, and drawing paper. Book 2 dips into color, tinting, shading, complementing, and mixing and also implements composition, in the context of emphasizing size, value, color, etc., and adds watercolors to the list of supplies.

The K-3 level is made up of three books, which together provide students a chronological overview of art history along with art lessons. Book One teaches young students what artists do, what they see, and how to interpret these in light of ancient to medieval art, including cave paintings, palaces, pyramids and cathedrals. Book Two guides young artists through the Gothic, Renaissance and Romantic Periods. Book Three continues the journey, covering Impressionism and Modernism (both European and American) through painting and sculpture. As the following volumes are a continuation of the first volume, I would recommend that users begin with the first volume, particularly as it explains a lot of basic art concepts that are not revisited in much detail once you hit the appreciation lessons.

The lessons are structured similarly throughout the program, although progression through concepts is slower and more bite-sized at lower levels. The first portion introduces the concept, gives a short discussion on its importance, and offers an introductory activity for the student to start thinking about it. The next section is based on a reproduction of a masterpiece that demonstrates the concept being learned. This gives students the chance to simultaneously learn the concept and see how the great artists used the same elements in their work. The other half of the unit is where the “how-to” is brought in. For example, in the high school unit on form, the how-to part of the lesson concentrates on using a light source to produce the desired effect in a three-dimensional drawing, using a simple snowman to illustrate the effects under various light sources. The student is challenged to find a simple object to study (and draw) under different lighting situations. Finally, we reach the last part of the unit, culminating in a project. Brief but clear instructions are given, along with a list of needed materials, and a few hints; and then you’re on your own. Pick up that pencil and cut loose! This open-ended approach offers nearly unlimited room for creativity on the part of the student, as far as what to draw and how. He or she is reminded not only to concentrate on the concept learned, but also to continue to use all the concepts previously learned (this is exemplified by the many examples of student work displayed in these lessons). Projects at the lower levels are more likely to include simpler activities like drawing a picture from a photograph, and also use less complicated (and messy, incidentally) supplies, such as watercolor pencils rather than the pan watercolors used in the Senior High level.

From a teaching standpoint, the lessons are easy to use. You can read the lessons together, or teach from the textual lesson given. The discussion questions are all included in the book, but you are by no means limited to those if you both really get into an artwork or style. Because the art reproductions are included right in the books, you don’t have to search the library or internet for examples to use. The projects are well-thought out with a lot of potential for creativity, and require mostly common arts and crafts supplies. However, because the lessons in each book expose students to a variety of different mediums, you will need to have a variety of art materials on hand, and specifically recommended ones are listed after each level.

While the format is similar throughout the program, the emphasis on specific artists and periods varies. In the high school level, the emphasis is on European artists, including: Da Vinci, Raphael, Toulouse-Latrec, Monet, Renior, Picasso, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Constable. The middle school level focuses on World Art, while the Grades 4-5 level examines American Art. Grades K-3 cover art history from ancient to modern. I would suggest using the levels in the titles below as a general guideline. Young students (upper elementary) who are very artistic and already fairly skilled will likely get more out of the middle school level than the Grades 4-5 Level. Regardless of the level you choose, you will want to start with the first book to lay the foundation of art basics before you jump into more advanced concepts.

All in all, this is a flexible, user-friendly program which seamlessly blends art history, art technique and exposure to different media. At the same time, it keeps the subject understandable for beginning artists and more experienced ones alike. Though the format is fairly simple, it will spark excitement and creativity through each lesson, especially as the student progresses and surprises even herself with her new skills. I’m confident that any student interested in art at all will enjoy the variety, the use of different mediums, and the practical art appreciation, and the open-ended projects.

Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
Brenda Ellis
Comb Bound Book
Brand Name
Artistic Pursuits
1.35 (lbs.)
11.0" x 9.0" x 0.75"
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Browse 4 questions Browse 4 questions and 34 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
great starting point for young artists
Mori-Anne R on Nov 17, 2022
Trying something new.
Corinna S on Jul 28, 2021
great starting point for young artists
Mori-Anne R on Nov 17, 2022
I'm just as interested in learning about art and teaching it to my children.
Korie G on Sep 1, 2022
Trying something new.
Corinna S on Jul 28, 2021
a great price and i'm excited to try this art out!
laurel g on Oct 11, 2020
I wanted a more open-ended approach to art instruction. Students do not have to reproduce/make a replica of an example; rather, they are applying art concepts and techniques on a project or picture of their choice.
Renee B on Aug 18, 2020
This art series has been recommended to me as my oldest has expressed particular interest in developing her drawing skills this year. I like that the study can be done at home since in class art lessons may not be an option for us next year. The lessons appears to give very detailed instruction (since I am not artistic at all) but also allows for personal creative choices within the projects.
Jacob V on Jul 27, 2020
My artists want to learn how to draw beautifully. Stick figures is not enough.
User on Jun 13, 2020
We have another level and I like the way they present art to students.
Melissa H on Jul 10, 2019
We have heard great things about Artistic Pursuits and are excited to try this art curriculum.
User on Jun 22, 2019
Recommended by The Well Trained Mind.
Rachelle on Mar 18, 2019
I keep searching for a fully comprehensive art curriculum for my homeschooled kids. Hoping this will finally be the one that we settle on for a long time.
Dina G on Oct 15, 2018
Recommended by friend.
Kara T on Jun 25, 2018
I chose the 9th grade for my oldest, so I just decided to try this one for my younger student. I read good reviews on this curriculum.
Mylinda W on Aug 28, 2017
Believe this is the best course that fits what I was looking for as an art class.
Lynette G on Jun 5, 2017
Required/recommended for our art program and better deal than purchasing on my own at local art stores
Stephanie H on Apr 12, 2017
Teaching art to my kids.
Carol C on Apr 3, 2017
We use this in homeschool
Kerensa W on Jan 4, 2017
An excellent art curriculum.
Northport on Nov 16, 2016
We are a homeschool family who uses the classical education model. This was an art curriculum that was highly recommended that fits the classical education model we love so much.
Sharon B on May 2, 2016
Needed a solid fine arts program for children and I to enjoy together. Not mindless crafting.
Janel B on Apr 28, 2016
Positive reviews by others gave me the sense that this product would fit our needs.
Diana R on Apr 23, 2016
I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, and my kids and I aren't very "crafty." I looked for art curricula recommended by Cathy Duffy, then read reviews of this curriculum, and decided this was the best method by which to teach a traditional art subject for a person like me.
Beth W on Oct 7, 2015
I'm just as interested in learning about art and teaching it to my children.
Korie G on Sep 1, 2022
a great price and i'm excited to try this art out!
laurel g on Oct 11, 2020
Is this to be used simultaneously with the beginner art core program for grade 4? What is the difference between them?
Robert on Mar 20, 2023
BEST ANSWER: The core option focuses on one skill and goes deeper, plus they are hard cover books with a DVD. These spiral courses cover a range of media and skills for a school year.
Do I need to purchase supplies to go along with this book?
User on Jul 14, 2017
BEST ANSWER: You need all the items in this kit....
Could this book be shared between grade levels? I have a 6th, 3rd, and 1st grader and would rather keep them working together.
A shopper on Apr 21, 2017
BEST ANSWER: My sens is that the 1st grader would be overwhelmed by this program (my 1st grader was by even the entry level artistic pursuits) but that patient or less self-critical 3rd graders would be all right. I'm sure the grade 6 would enjoy it, too!
4.5 / 5.0
2 Reviews
5 Stars
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1 Star
Rated 4 out of 5
Love LOVE love it. I am amazed how much our child has improved in his drawing. Our child started in 4th grade and we split this teaching into two years. We did an added in depth look at artists mentioned in the book. We went to the library and checked out books on those artists or online. He even identified certain paintings on his own at the art museum.
June 23, 2018
over 5 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Exactly right!
My daughter wants to draw, badly, but we couldn't find anything that she found success with. This allows her to choose the subject of her lesson and shows her how to go about it. It inspires her with examples from the masters and other kids while encouraging her to work wherever suits her subject - even outside!! For the first time, she feels accomplished - and I'm seeing improvement! Win-win.
January 19, 2016
over 7 years ago

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