Since Sprite received her (affiliate link) Draw Squad book, she’s been faithfully working through the exercises, loving it all the while. I thumbed through the book and read the notes to parents and educators, looking to soak up any wisdom Mark Kistler can offer. I was thrilled to see Mona Brookes has written an forward to the book! She affirmed that although her methods and Kistler’s are quite different, she is open to his style of learning art! What a breath of fresh air for two different practitioners to agree on one thing — getting kids to draw!
Mona Brookes is the author of (affiliate link) Drawing with Children, the book that I’ve used to guide Sprite’s drawing practice.
In reading Mark Kistler’s ideas for parents, I read something that I totally agree with but had never put into words like he does. Kistler says parents should ” start an art-supplies-don’t-count rule.” After I read this paragraph, I realized that we already have this rule!
“My family had this rule when we were kids, that books didn’t count. What I mean is that books were considered a staple of life just like water and air. Books were always available; one just needed to ask. They didn’t count as gifts (water and air aren’t given as gifts). We always had zillions of them around. After I had converted the storage closet into my art studio, my mother declared a new rule: art supplies don’t count. They wouldn’t count as gifts. They’d be available to me as books were.”
I totally agree with this philosophy! Sprite has already discovered that mom is a pushover when it comes to books and anything art or craft related. I just have this sense that kids need those things. They aren’t in the same category as toys or DVDs or candy; those are extras. But books and art supplies are essential.
So on a recent visit to an Ikea in China (what a treat!) I found this artist manikin for less than $4. “What a neat thing for my artist daughter,” I thought. “She needs this.” And so I bought two. Yes, two. I guess I thought she needed a pair for setting up dancing scenes or something.
I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be, but she loved them and thanked me profusely. I reminded her that this was an art supply, so it didn’t count! Without any prodding from me, she started sketching Jethro and Katie, her two artist manikins. Here are some examples.
With some of her sketches, she went on to add facial features and clothing. Starting with a sketch of the wooden figure gives the correct proportions that makes her art realistic. I am very pleased with my small investment into her artistic development.
So what do you think? Should art supplies count? Do they count in your home? Or do you put other worthwhile things in the “doesn’t count” category? I’m curious to know your thoughts.