Canson XL Drawing Pad - 9" x 12" 60 Sheets
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. The whole series has been revised for 2013, and each volume now features 36 lessons (previously 32). You'll notice a slight shift in grade levels (books previously
The Way They See It is Artistic Pursuits for 3-5 year-olds (and their parents). It's formatted a bit differently from the rest of the series in that it is written to the parent to help them understand children's artistic development, as well as develop a child's creativity and fine motor skills. The book is composed of two main parts: "The Nature of Children's Artistic Development" and "First Skills." Each lesson contains a portion written for the parent followed by a project for the child. The parent's portion will help them appreciate and foster the child's creative process while also offering practical advice for tackling the project. 36 projects include finger-painting, looking at the colors of the sky and coloring a picture of the sky with crayons, rolling or pressing textured objects into dough, drawing a picture from life, creating a paper bag puppet, drawing a plant, drawing a life-size outline of the child and coloring it in, adding horizon lines to a picture and much more. Many projects also include art reproductions and accompanying questions about the art for discussion. The last section of the book provides guidance for parents to teach their children how to use art supplies properly, such as scissors, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, tape, brushes and paint. For each tool, practical skill-building exercises are suggested. If you want to provide gentle but purposeful art instruction to your youngest students, this is an excellent resource to guide you.
With the arrival of the 3rd edition books, we have tracked down all of the recommended art supplies and have made complete packages for each book. Where specific brands are recommended by the author, we have included those exact items. In other cases, we have tried to match the art supplies as closely as possible to what Artistic Pursuits offers in their own art supply kits. - Jess