ARTistic Pursuits Middle School Gr 6-8 Book One 3rd ed - Elements of Art and Composition

ARTistic Pursuits Middle School Gr 6-8 Book One 3rd ed - Elements of Art and Composition

# 004843

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Item #: 004843
ISBN: 9781939394064
Grades: 6-8

Product Description:

Publisher Description:

This book provides students with an in-depth look at the elements of art and composition in a simply written text designed to engage students in the creative process as they produce original artworks. The organized content and conversational tone is perfectly suited to the age level and is equally engaging for both the novice and the more experienced art student. The middle school student can begin this book without prior knowledge of art and work independently without the need for parental instruction. The unique feature of the book is the way students learn from its pages, then choose a subject from their own environment, and easily apply the new information to their own art. Students think creatively as they are introduced to topics such as line, shape, value, symmetry, perspective, and proportion. Each unit is crafted for focus on one element of art while exploring the topic in four unique ways.

Students explore their world in an engaging study designed to strengthen observation skills. In the art appreciation and history lesson, students learn how each element is used in a Master artwork. They gain insight about the artist, how the goals of a culture affect the look of the artwork, and discover contrasts between Eastern and Western art. Instruction in graded pencil drawing and ink utilizes the knowledge gained through the study of art from countries around the world including Japan, China, Europe, India, Australia and more. Technique and application pages allow skills to develop naturally as students work independently. Four special assignments show how artists combine elements of art and broaden the student’s experiences with art materials. The book provides lessons for the completion of sixty-eight finished drawings in pencil and ink that are both original and entirely the student’s own.

Media Introduced:

  • pencil drawing,
  • black ink applied with pen and brush.

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
1.4 (lbs.)
11.0" x 9.0" x 0.75"
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Browse 4 questions Browse 4 questions and 46 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
Looks like a good art program
Amanda S on Sep 3, 2021
Recommended art curriculum
CINDY C on Mar 26, 2021
Looks like a good art program
Amanda S on Sep 3, 2021
Used this curriculum with my boys for homeschool, and was so impressed with their improvement that I"m getting it for my niece who is interested in art.
Tawnya B on Jun 15, 2021
Recommended art curriculum
CINDY C on Mar 26, 2021
First time home schooler. Trying it out
Tami on Jan 9, 2021
I chose this because I need to add art to my 8th grader's curriculum. Seemed like a good choice because of the reviews and the fact that there is a bit of art history included.
RACHAEL C on Aug 30, 2020
have loved the Artistic Pursuits program when used with younger students.
Emily S on Aug 25, 2020
It has a wonderful description and my children are interested in expanding their artistic pursuits.
Kim V on Aug 23, 2020
older kids needed to have an art class
Nancy on May 7, 2020
Was recommended to me
Rachel M on Jan 15, 2020
Liked the previous volumes
Aprilleigh L on Sep 24, 2019
My son had this when he was in public school and really liked it. It is thorough and works for him
April C on Aug 16, 2019
I checked out a homeschool review website to find some good homeschool art curriculum. She suggested Artistic Pursuits so I ordered it. I like that it includes art history along with learning the technique that goes with the artists she'll be studying. She specifically asked to study art history this year but she loves art anyway. So she's fine learning new technique or brushing up on skills she already has.
Tonia W on Aug 14, 2019
I've been using this curriculum for years and we love it!
Angela D on Mar 13, 2019
Description in catalog made it seem like it would meet out needs for an art curriculum.
Jill W on Jul 23, 2018
My daughter already enjoys art. She reviewed this curriculum and was very impressed.
Kristy G on Jun 8, 2018
Was in need of art curriculum book that was incremental
Rosa A on Feb 25, 2018
Heard this was an awesome and thorough art program!
Reena M on Oct 4, 2017
Based on Cathy Duffy review.
Maggie D on Sep 12, 2017
We used this program when my kids were younger and they loved it!
Faith P on Aug 19, 2017
Makes art composition understandable and is meant to be used as a self-study
Deanna P on Jun 27, 2017
My 8th grader has chosen art as her elective this year.
Michelle O on Jun 20, 2017
I chose this because my kids enjoyed book 2 Color and Composition.
Sonya B on May 8, 2017
potential art program for next year - want to see the book
Tara G on May 4, 2017
have used it before
Deborah B on Apr 25, 2017
"Artistic Pursuits combines history with art skills. This program inclusive of the many skills used in art! I found this program to be excellent for our kids."
Anna M on Feb 11, 2017
Recommended by other homeschool parents.
Donna R on Oct 23, 2016
Middle school art is a subject that we are all excited about. I am hoping that this will give art some structure.
Aimee W on Aug 29, 2016
For homeschool class
Elaine I on Mar 30, 2016
Great curriculum for students who need to learn art on their own!
Virginia M on Mar 16, 2016
Used this curriculum with my boys for homeschool, and was so impressed with their improvement that I"m getting it for my niece who is interested in art.
Tawnya B on Jun 15, 2021
First time home schooler. Trying it out
Tami on Jan 9, 2021
Should I purchase middle school or high school art for my daughter? She will be going into 8th grade. We've done Artistic pursuits all the way through, but not as quickly as I had planned. We just finished the second book for 4-5th (color), having done the three for K-3 and the first for 4-5. Even thought it was younger than her age, she and a friend did great. But now I'm wondering if I should skip the middle school books and go right into the high school books. What do you suggest?
A shopper on May 6, 2022
BEST ANSWER: If your goal is to count it as a high school art credit, then do the high school one. If your goal is to continue building age-level skills, so the next middle school one. They have some new focused-skill lessons out now too!
Do you need a separate book for each child?
User on Dec 2, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You do not need a separate book for each student. I had two students sit together to read the lesson, and then they worked on the project. You could just as easily have one child do the lesson and then the next child. After the short lesson and project description is read, the book is just needed as a reference.
Where should I start with Artistic pursuits for a 7th grader?
A shopper on Mar 4, 2016
BEST ANSWER: My son had completed Life Pac Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkaid during 7th grade. I could see the benefit of learning different techniques with shading and texture, etc. He loves to draw and was happy to learn ways to enhance his artwork. Now, I knew that I wanted him to continue learning, but there wasn't more options in that particular curriculum. I purchased this book and couldn't be more happy. I chose Middle School, 6-8 Book One for my 8th grader. Even if he hadn't completed the Drawing Basics previously, this would've been a great place to start. Simple lessons and he enjoys learning new techniques. He incorporates what he has learned into his drawings. I can really see the difference.
5.0 / 5.0
2 Reviews
5 Stars
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1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
Thank You
Thank You!!!!!!!!!!
July 15, 2018
over 6 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Functional and Enjoyable
I struggled choosing an art curriculum for my son, but decided this book was worth the cost. And after using it, he really likes it. My son loves to draw and has learned new techniques using pencils that have opened up a new door for him. The lessons are easy and like I said, he is learning new techniques.
November 5, 2015
over 7 years ago

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