Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to Encourage Creativity

Just a week or so ago a friend posted a very good question:

Art friends: what do you recommend for sketching? I want to gift a sketch pad and something to draw with just as an outlet.

Several people, including myself, gave some great suggestions and ideas that helped her make a good decision. It made me so happy to see that someone was taking interest in helping a student with their creativity! Here are my top 3 things you can gift to a student or young person to encourage their creativity!

3. A Set of Watercolor Pencils

A nice set of watercolor pencils can do wonders for any student, they can practice blending with this medium and if you add water with a brush they can also be used as paint. You can even dip the pencil in water to create the paint!

2. Set of Black Micron Pens

These pens are amazing! They are great for illustrating, lettering, drawing and they give great clean lines. They come in several size varieties and if taken care of they can last for years. I use them in lots of different projects through out the year including a graphic novel project.


A durable sketchbook with mixed media pages is perfect for any budding artist!  I prefer Canson XL Mix Media Sketchbooks. They have heavy covers, thick pages and you can use a large variety of mediums including paint, oil pastel, chalk, charcoal, watercolor, pen, sharpie...you name it!

If you are feeling generous you can help my students out by donating to the gofundme below! I am raising money to purchase a sketchbook for every student in my 2016-2017 classes. Any support you can give would be welcome, just donating $7.50 puts a sketchbook in the hands of an artist for the entire year or longer! You can see some of the ways we use sketchbooks here, here and here.

Is there a tool that you would suggest for a student? Or perhaps suggestions for someone looking to encourage creativity in a aspiring artists life? Share below!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Mayhem: Cyanotype Sun Prints

Last week, was a busy week! Our new semester has begun, and we had a lot of things to do including reorganizing portfolios and getting new students ready for a new class. We had to rearrange a few things and so our days seemed a little choppy.  The art show is coming soon and to take a break from our normal days I threw in this nice one day experiement so that we could use these Nature Print Papers that I ordered using one of my smARTteacher gift cards to Blick last year. Now typically we would have gone outside and used things found in nature to print on, but however due to time and the fact that we're pretty much surrounded by concrete at the back of the school, we used some stencils I had in a box for fun.  I've still got some paper left so maybe another time I'll have students bring items from home.  Not only was it windy, but it was fairly cold so I'm glad that exposure time for these prints is only 2 minutes! Brrrrr! The process was simple enough it was just hard explaining that if anything moves you can't fix it!

Love the smARTteacher challenges!
Fixing our stencils.

Sun exposure in the cold for 2 minutes, BRRRR!
Developing in water at our tables!
Set aside to dry and then press flat later.
I feel like I don't get to do enough photography related lessons in my classroom. Partly because we don't have the necessary materials, but this is a fun way to bring the idea of photography into the classroom.

How do you incorporate areas of study that you don't have lots of materials for? 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday Think Tank: Altered Book

A student of mine brought this in a few weeks ago! It's something she and her sister have been working on at home, and I was so inspired that my Advanced art class is doing something similar!

Here are just the beginning of our projects!

Stay tuned to see what happens next!

Are any of your assignments inspired by students? Share!

Thursday Think Tank: Library Night!

I love working together with our Librarian and putting on these amazing school events!

How do you collaborate across the curriculum or with your colleagues?