How to encourage your kid to draw

How to encourage your kid to draw

even if you don’t know how yourself!

In Seattle, we are looking at another remote school year. Many parents I know are looking for fun, educational activities for their kids that are not on screens. Art is perfect because it is simply creative play that just so happens to touch on quite a bit of learning.

So, how do you encourage your child to draw? The short answer? You draw with them! It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Just keep it simple and fun. Read on for some tips from an art teacher …..

Direct drawing is the method that shows step by step how to draw something using simple shapes. There are lots of books and videos using direct drawing and it’s worth a search to find something that really sparks your child’s interest. (On that point, let them draw what they want!)

Instead of trying to guess what they are drawing, say something like, “Wow, you are putting in a lot of detail! Can you tell me about your drawing?” It’s discouraging when someone tries to guess what you are drawing, and guesses wrong. Creative process shut down. Art teachers all make that mistake exactly once and then never again try to guess what a student is drawing.

Half Skeletons by Tyler age 5

When my son showed me this drawing, I was thinking of surrealism and Salvador Dali’s melting clocks, but I’m glad I didn’t say that because my association has nothing to do with the artist’s intent. He was drawing half skeletons of a person, dog, and cat. Of course! Creepy, but cool.

If kiddo wants to draw something specific, put a picture in front of them. It’s really hard (even for artists!) to pull from memory what a warthog looks like. But if you look at a picture of a warthog, you can start to see the shapes and proportions. Looking at a picture is not cheating, it’s a visual reference.

Here Tyler is looking at a globe to draw the continents. I didn’t suggest that he use a globe – we’ve just been using visual references since he started drawing, so it has naturally become a part of his process.

Map of earth by Tyler age 5

When I’m drawing with children, I will sometimes intentionally make a “mistake” so that they can see how I work through it. I will say, “Oh, gosh, I made that circle too big. I accidentally drew Mercury bigger than Mars! What should I do?” And together, we brainstorm solutions to the problem. If I can’t erase it, I can make all the other circles bigger in comparison. I can paint over it. I can glue a small piece of paper over my circle and try again. I can turn it into a collage. What else can I try? My son loves to help me work through challenges in my artworks.

Solar System by Tyler age 5, acrylic on foam core

This is the hardest one: Do not say “I can’t draw.” Anyone who can hold a pencil can draw. You can say, “I would like to get better at drawing. The way to get better is to practice. I like making art with you. It’s fun!”

Pluto Will Not be Forgotten by Tyler age 5

In art education, we often say process over product. What this means is that the goal is not a beautiful product. The goal is to find that feeling of awe and wonder when you create.

Let go of perfection – it doesn’t matter what anyone’s artwork looks like. If you have fun, that’s what your child will remember.

Creativity Inspiring Conservation: A Recycled Sculpture Workshop for High School Students at the Seattle Aquarium

CIC-2015-recruitment-posterI am expecting a baby in about 7 weeks.  As I’m making decisions like whether to use cloth or disposable diapers, I’ve been considering the impact of one person’s actions on our planet, which, multiplied by entire communities turn into global issues like overflowing landfills, fracking fields, suburban sprawl, deforestation, and polluted oceans. THIS is what I’m talking about.

I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate this message into my work as a teaching artist.  The Creativity Inspiring Conservation program at the Seattle Aquarium was the perfect opportunity to teach students about the consequences of our collective actions on a global scale, and to link this message with visual art.     096

Starting with salvaged cardboard boxes, students chose a sea creature to create in a 3-d sculpture.  We cut the cardboard into strips, and created an internal frame for our sculptural form.  This was the hardest part of the project – to translate a 2-d sketch into a 3-d framework that would eventually evolve into a sea otter, a nautilus, a penguin, a sea turtle, an angler fish, etc.

093  095

The students covered the framework with thin cardboard and brown paper, up-cycled from food cartons and packing materials, with the brown paper side out so that it would be an easier surface to paint.

098  099  102 Choosing from a wide assortment of salvaged and re-purposed materials, students then had the opportunity to add textural and decorative elements to their work. For example, the tentacles of this nautilus are created from stripped plastic bags, bubble wrap, food wrappers, old fishing nets pulled from Puget Sound, etc.

105  107  111

The results are large, stunning representations of the amazing creatures that live in our oceans.  These sculptures will be on display in the Seattle Aquarium galleries in the month of  August, 2015.  114119

121

“The Deep” at Hanson Scott Gallery

“The Deep” at Hanson Scott Gallery
May 7 – May 30
Join us for First Thursday Artwalk May 7, 5 – 8 pm

http://www.hansonscottgallery.com

312 S. Washington St. Studio D
Seattle, WA 98104

Appell_Untitled_mixed media on canvas

“Untitled” by Nicole Appell, 2015, mixed media on canvas, 18″ x 24″

 

Woodblock collage workshop at Garden Essentia

Join us June 13 for another woodblock collage workshop!
http://www.gardenessentia.com

20150411_11262734_c

June 13, 2015 1:00 – 3:00 pm
$35 Per Seat

Back by popular demand! Hurry – sign up quickly. The last class sold out! Register here

Join professional teaching artist Nicole Appell as we create a unique mixed media collage on a woodblock, using a variety of interesting papers, matte medium, and acrylic paints.

Inspired by the multi-layered approach that Nicole takes in her own work, participants will have the opportunity to explore colorful and patterned papers to be incorporated into their personal collages. Optional: If you have any special photographs or images from home that you would like to incorporate into your piece, please bring a copy.

There are no mistakes in this playful process. No experience is necessary. All Materials Provided.

 

“Our Community” at McClure Middle School
An Artist-in-Residence Program

IMG_20150403_101833

Nicole Appell in collaboration with Carolyn Grane and 7th grade students at McClure
1915 1st Ave W Seattle WA 98119

2014 – 2015, Mixed media on plywood panels, 36″ x 184″

New work and woodblock collage class at Garden Essentia

Here is a preview of some of my new work that is currently on display at Garden Essentia.  Stop by the gallery to check it out!

20150411_1126273420150411_112748_cropped20150411_112627_cropped220150411_11262712

Over the weekend, I taught these techniques at a woodblock collage class at Garden Essentia.  What a fun group!  Everyone made something totally unique, and I was blown away by the results.  I can’t wait for the next workshop on June 13!  If you missed it, register early because this one filled up fast.  Online registration opens soon on the Garden Essentia website.

DSC_4312 DSC_4346 DSC_4345 DSC_4344 DSC_4343 DSC_4342 DSC_4341 DSC_4337 DSC_4338 DSC_4340 DSC_4326 DSC_4324 DSC_4321 DSC_4318 DSC_4317 DSC_4315   Photo credit: Colette Highberger

Join us for holiday art workshops!

print-2

Printmaking workshop for adults with Nicole Appell and Alisha Dall’Osto

Sunday, December 7, 5:30 – 8:30 pm

Thursday, December 11, 6:30 -9:30 pm

You will design and create your own printing block of whatever image inspires you.  You will print a set of at least 10 4 x 6″ cards.  If you would like to print on fabric items you bring along, we will provide fabric ink that can be used to transfer your design onto linen towels, t-shirts, baby onesies, or even a table runner.

Workshop cost: $30 cash or check at the door.  Please RSVP to save your spot! nicole@nicoleappell.com

Kids art workshops with Nicole and Alisha!

birdhouse

Sunday, December 7, 1 – 3 pm

Kids ages 5 – 11 will decorate a wooden birdhouse and create holiday cards and ornaments!

$30 includes all materials/ cash or check at the door

Click here to register

____________________________________________________________________________________

All classes at Alisha’s newly expanded studio: 2306 E. Ward St., Seattle WA 98112

(Free parking along Ward St. and one block north of the 43 and 48 bus stop at 23rd Ave and Aloha St.)