Art Workshop For Children: Self-Portraits
Let me introduce you to my favorite new book about process art and Reggio-inspired learning. Friends, meet Art Workshop For Children. Art Workshop For Children, please meet my friends. I’m sure you guys will get along really well.
Art Workshop for Children, by Barbara Rucci and Betsy McKenna, is a breathtaking book (the photos literally made me gasp when I first flipped through the pages) filled with unique process-based art activities for kids and tips on how to prepare your art space for creative exploration. I especially love the thoughtful reflections woven throughout the book by Reggio-inspired educator, Betsy McKenna, on how to raise creative thinkers and why this is important for all children.
(note: I received a free review copy of Art Workshop For Children, but all opinions expressed are my own. I truly adore this book. This post contains affiliate links, thanks for your support!)
(Photo Credit: Barbara Rucci)
You may know Barbara Rucci already from her beautiful and inspiring blog, Art Bar. I have been a fan and friend of Bar for a few years and am continuously in awe of the beauty in everything she does. She is an incredibly warm and friendly person, a talented graphic designer, and an art teacher that brings out the most joyful work in her young students. This book is truly a must-have for anyone interested in exploring process-based art with young kids. Even if you have no experience with art, Bar will show you that all you need are a few materials and the willingness to step back and enjoy the process.
*I’m giving away a copy of Art Workshop For Children at the end of the post!
Many of the projects in Art Workshop For Children are geared towards kids ages 3-6, although process art can be enjoyed by any age. Since Karuna (age 8) has been into drawing lately, I decided to try the Self-Portrait workshop for this review.
Cup of water & towel for cleaning the brush
Karuna (8 yrs) likes to draw with pencil so I included pencils as well, along with a small standing mirror and a photo of each of my girls to observe their facial features.
I love that Bar encourages us to ask the question, “how does it feel to be you?” when kids are drawing their self-portraits. This helps them learn to express emotion in their work.
My girls chose to draw with pencil first, but with younger kids I would suggest following the book instructions and offering only a black marker. This way they won’t get tripped up on erasing and having to draw over their pencil lines. I would normally have given Ora (4 yrs old) a marker to start, but of course she wants to do what her big sis does! I was surprised at how much detail she was able to include when using a pencil. So for experienced youngsters, there is something to say about starting with pencil. Ora also requested colored Sharpies, which aren’t as bold as the black markers, but still show through the watercolor nicely when finished.
After drawing their outlines, I brought out watercolor paint for the next step.
The project could have ended here, but Bar includes a section in each workshop with “variations for next time.” One of the variations is to try this same project with collage materials and glue. Rather than do a second project, I decided to expand on what they had already done and offer collage materials to add on top of the paintings.
With this plan in mind ahead of time, I had already set up a tray with colorful paper, sequins, beads, buttons, yarn, craft flowers, scissors and glue. I offered the tray to the girls to invite them to embellish their work. Ora decided to use the materials to add jewelry and a hairpiece to her self-portrait. Karuna played around with a few beads on her painting, but ultimately decided against it. Her art tends to be very minimal and it’s really cool to see this reflected in her choices for her self-portrait.
Both girls loved the process of this project and were incredibly proud of their finished work!
If you’re curious to see more of Art Workshop For Children, check out this video that Bar made:
If you want a chance to win a free copy of Art Workshop For Children, simply leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the book. I’ll draw a random winner on November 16th at 8:00 pm PST (for US residents over age 18). Update: The winner is Linda!
If you can’t wait until then, I don’t blame you! Just pick up a copy here or ask your local bookstore.