I’m gonna confess something. I like art lessons. In high school, I always wanted to take art, but didn’t have room in my schedule to take it. Later I fiddled around and learned somewhat to draw, but I recognize my limitations. I’ve always wanted art lessons for kids to work out, but I never managed to work it into my schedule. I finally found a way to make art lessons work for us.
(this post is sponsored by Sparketh, they have an amazing lesson organizer if you signup for their emails, all opinions are my own)
Our previous experience with art lessons
When the kids were younger we enjoyed long leisurely lessons. We could sit down and watch an hour-long video and then get started on our own projects. As my kids got older I discovered we didn’t have the time for these marathon art lessons.
What we needed in art lessons for kids has changed. Now I’m not looking for art lessons for kids, I’m looking for art lessons for teens. If I want to incorporate art into our lessons day in and day out, they need to be short and to the point. Something we can watch for a few minutes and then work on it for a few more minutes.
Enter Sparketh: Art lessons for kids
Sparketh has hundreds of different courses ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. You can go through and try what inspires you, which is what we started out with, OR.
You can use their new Tracks, these are courses organized to go together. We’ve been trying out their portraits track. Each track has specific art styles AND technique lessons to help you improve.
We’ve been trying the portraits track. The first course in that track is drawing face proportions. Facial proportions have been the bane of many of my attempts at art, and it’s currently the bane of my daughter’s life, so we’re practicing this.
Here are the tips I’ve learned from our Sparketh art lessons:
Introduce your topic
Every course starts with an introduction. It’s helpful to have an idea of your end goal as you start out your art lessons. It helps kids like my daughter who needs to know what she’s expected to do.
Keep your art lessons short
This is where I went wrong previously. I didn’t figure out how to keep the lessons short.
Each Sparketh art lesson is about 10 minutes long for the video, and then you are set free to explore on your own. Some steps will take you much less than 10 minutes to do on your own, but others might take you longer.
An entire course of videos is about an hour long. You can complete one course a week, or complete several in a week. Some courses are shorter. The first course in the Portraits track is only 20 minutes long.
We’re averaging about one course a week. Some days we watch more than one video, and others we watch only one.
Keep supplies simple for your art lessons
So far our lessons have needed: pencil, eraser, markers, watercolor paint, and paintbrushes.
Most of this we already have. It’s like the supplies sent home back when I was a public school teacher for my first graders.
As I completed the Harlem Renaissance portrait, I realized my copy paper just was not getting the best results, but sometimes you compromise.
But, if that’s not in your budget, OR you’re using this as a fun free time class, you can easily use what’s in your house.
Keep your supplies in one place for your art lessons
I also keep it separate from the rest of my supplies in a plastic shoe box. I love plastic shoe boxes for keeping stuff in order. I have a special box labeled “art lesson supplies.” The kids don’t get to use any of that when they’re messing about and making crafts.
This goes with the last tip of simple supplies. You can see most of our paint brushes are simple bulk bought paint brushes. We do have fancy paintbrushes, but they are kept separate in my art lesson supplies box.
Art lessons go much smoother if you don’t have to hunt for all your supplies every time you want to work on it. Not that I’ve done this a time or two myself…
Allow your kids to make mistakes
As we worked on the facial proportions class, Princess was not happy with her project. Her starting circle wasn’t really a circle, and the size was just not working Right. We both started over several times as we worked on the minimalism project, by the way, we concluded we are not minimalist artists.
I told her to start over. The world won’t end if she starts over.
Art isn’t high stakes.
Look for inspiration for your art lessons
I follow Sparketh on Instagram, along with a few other “artsy” type posters. Seeing their work inspires us. It’s the same reason I follow historical fashion blogs, it inspires me to create. It gives us ideas. It leads to fun discussions.
You can get the same effect following Sparketh on Facebook. They’ve got some cool links to more stuff on there, they can’t share on Instagram.