Looking for art education books that cultivate creativity and the development of skills? The following 6 books not only do that but also introduce children to a variety of tools and materials.They provide you with ideas to ignite children’s imaginations and show you how to introduce new techniques, artistic styles and artists in ways that keep children interested.
Art education books generally fall into one of three categories. The first category is for adults, to help them learn how to teach art to children, the second category is for children, and allow them to follow easy step-by-step instructions on how to draw or how to do other types of artwork. The third category is written for children and their purpose is to educate children about great artists and their styles.
1. Drawing with Children
Drawing with Children, by Mona Brookes, is one of my favorite art education books and a must read for anyone teaching art to children. It presents easy-to-follow lessons for building artistic skills and for using drawing in other subjects.
Children learn to draw the basics that can be combined to make a whole object and develop spatial awareness. The book is an important, foundational tool for children who are learning to see things as an artist sees them.
2. How to Teach Art to Children
This book offers basic lessons for teaching the elements of art – line, shape, color, value, texture, form and space. After basic lessons, children create a variety of projects emphasizing the art element.
The projects are easy to do with a minimum of basic materials: watercolors or acrylic paints, glue, colored construction paper, and markers. If you already have a good understanding of art elements and artists, this book may not be for you.
I used a book called, “Emphasis Art: A Qualitative Art Program for Elementary and Middle Schools” to teach the elements of art and loved it. It now costs over $90 but you may be able to pick up a second-hand copy.
3. Follow the Directions & Draw It all by Yourself
This book helps kids learn shapes and builds fine motor skills. Kids love drawing easy pictures of dinosaurs, butterflies, and more on their own. They can work through step-by-step pictures by themselves and experience success. Contains 25 reproducible lessons and reinforces the skill of following directions. Use this along with the step by step drawing pages.
4. Storybook Art
Teaching art with picture books is a fun way to teach art. MaryAnne Kohl is a well-known writer of art education books and in this one, she provides simple art projects based on the art of children’s book illustrators. I like the open-ended art projects. Illustration techniques include painting, drawing, cutting and collage, and construction and crafts.
5. Art with Anything
This is one of MaryAnn Kohl’s newer books and it includes 52 weeks of making art with everyday stuff. It’s a great book for those days you need a quick idea for teaching art to children.
Buy “Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff” by MaryAnn Kohl
6. Claude Monet and 48 other artists!
Many educators use the Mike Venezia series – artists and musicians to teach children. The author introduces children to the world of art using a combination of text, original pictures, and funny cartoons. The series of books complement a child’s arts and crafts program or drawing class.
They are a great series of books called, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists that are designed to teach children about great artists.
Running out of art ideas? Try this art education magazine…
Receiving an art education magazine in your mailbox every month can give you the motivation and pluck to introduce new art lessons to your students. The one below may also be available at your local library. The magazine provides many creative ideas for all age groups, many of which are easily adaptable to work with your current themes.
Arts & Activity Magazine
This art education magazine has been around for a long time. It’s used by those teaching the arts to Grades K-12. Some of the columns include “Cracking the Color Code, The ABCs of Art, Art Works, A & A It Works, and Earth. It’s got Art. Purchase Arts and Activities magazine.
Sample pages below:
Using other magazines as a source for art education ideas…
I often pull inspiration for teaching art from other magazines. They have seasonal ideas that can be adapted to art and other lessons. FamilyFun for example offers craft ideas with patterns that can adapt to classroom activities. Lots of seasonal ideas here!
Cloth Paper Scissors is another terrific magazine for getting ideas for the classroom.