Teaching art should be fun. It should be easy because there is no right answer. Sometimes I think that’s the part that trips us grown ups up. No right answer. How do we know when we’re done, if we did it right, if it’s good? Check out this list of art books to help you teach art to you kiddo and maybe make some art yourself; even if you don’t consider yourself an artist!
As a homeschool mom I’m responsible for teaching my kids every subject. (I know it sounds crazy, but we love it!) For me teaching the visual arts is the icing on the cake. In another lifetime I was an elementary art teacher and the need to “make” still runs strong in me.
Not everyone shares this love of mess and making that I do. This art book list is for those mamas that maybe don’t consider themselves artists. Most of these books could stand alone as a series of art lesson. Many could easily be the spine for an entire art curriculum for your kids or even a homeschool co-op art class. Resources exist. Use them. Work alongside your kiddo as they discover the joy of making something and expressing themselves. Let them see you stretching yourself out of your comfort zone and just maybe they will follow you!
Jump into Art
I’m going to jump right into this list with a series that is somewhat new to me but I love! This series is called Get into Art by Susie Brooks. Each double page spread in these books features a full color reproduction of an art work by a famous artist. There’s a small amount of history; just a few fun facts about each artist and when they lived. Open a flap on the right side of the page and inside is an idea for an art project that is inspired by the art work on that page.
What I like about these books is they are so accessible. If you didn’t know anything other than the information presented you could still have a great conversation about the art work. The projects are simple; meaning most can be done with basic construction paper and paint. The connection between the famous artwork and the project suggestions are fun make me wanna get my supplies out so I think your kids will feel the same!
There are four titles in this series. Each title concentrates on it’s own genre and includes more than a dozen artists. There is little to no overlap on the artists featured throughout the four books. This makes for a super varied selection of artist, not just the couple of most famous artists!
Get Into Art: Animals -Enjoy Great Art Then Create Your Own
Get Into Art: Places- Enjoy Great Art and Then Create Your Own
Get Into Art: Telling Stories-Enjoy Great Art and Then Create Your Own
Get Into Art: People- Enjoy Great Art and Then Create Your Own
The “Lab” Books
The “Lab series” of art books focuses almost solely on the “making” of art, rather than on connecting it with a well known artist as the series above did. These books do include a little blurb about a present day artist and their original artwork that inspired the project.
I love these books because they cover such a huge variety of art processes. You could literally make an entire year’s curriculum out of just one of these books. Projects can be adapted to suit little kids clear up through adulthood. Leafing through the pages makes me wanna get a little paint under my fingernails.
There are six books in this series. You could literally craft an entire elementary and middle school art curriculum from these books!
Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media
Paint Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Painting and Mixed Media for Budding Artists of All Ages
Art Lab for Little Kids: 52 Playful Projects for Preschoolers
3D Art Lab for Kids: 32 Hands-on Adventures in Sculpture and Mixed Media
Clay Lab for Kids: 52 Projects to Make, Model, and Mold With Air-Dry, Polymer, and Homemade Clay
Animation Lab for Kids: Fun Projects for Visual Storytelling and Making Art Move
Art Books About Drawing
When people say they are “no good at art” many times what they really mean is they aren’t good at drawing in a realistic fashion. There are many, many ways to be creative but for many drawing realistically seems to be the standard to which they hold artists. While drawing is so simple in some respects I think it can also be the most intimidating. Darn it, it’s hard to draw three dimensional objects on two dimensional paper and have them look life like. It’s hard for adults and even harder for kids. Check out these volumes on how to help your kiddo learn to draw; which first means really learning to see! Sharpen your pencil, you can work right along beside them!
Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
Drawing for Older Children and Teens
Art for Kids: Drawing: The Only Drawing Book You’ll Ever Need to Be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to Be
Kohl art books…
MaryAnn F. Kohl is an author that has several “how to teach art” type art books. They aren’t a series exactly, each has it’s own style and format. For the most part the projects are rather straightforward and focus on the how to of materials and techniques. A few books do focus on artists and illustrators and their styles. I especially like Kohl’s books for the younger elementary crowd.
Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff
Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters
Preschool Art: It’s the Process, Not the Product!
First Art for Toddlers and Twos: Open-Ended Art Experiences
Action ART: HANDS-ON ACTIVE ART ADVENTURES
Matharts: Exploring Math through Art for 3-6 Year Olds
Science Arts: Discovering Science Through Art Experiences
Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences
Scribble Art: Independent Creative Art Experiences for Children
Storybook Art: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of 100 Great Picture Book Illustrators (Bright Ideas for Learning
Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great American Masters
Global Art: Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World
The Big Messy* Art Book: *But Easy to Clean Up
Other favorite art books…
These art books don’t necessarily fit into a neat category or a series but they are totally worth checking out.
Dribble Drabble: Process Art Experiences for Young Children
Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences
The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity–Includes over 60 Art Projects for Children Ages 1 to 8
The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Crafts and Recipes–Over 175 Family- Friendly Activities
STEAM Kids: 50+ Science / Technology / Engineering / Art / Math Hands-On Projects for Kids
Teaching Art with Books Kids Love: Art Elements, Appreciation, and Design with Award-Winning Books
Art Is Fundamental: Teaching the Elements and Principles of Art in Elementary School
Anholt’s Artists Activity Book
Teaching art can seem intimidating at first but it doesn’t need to be! Check out these amazing resources listed here and don’t forget to check out the Kitchen Table Classroom! My printables page has lots of free and easy ideas for teaching some basic terminology and resources for you as a parent!
My homeschool art tab has hands on ideas for projects. Whether you’re a homeschool mom, an art teacher, or a mom that just wants to add a little creativity to the day; you’re sure to find something here!
What a huge and amazing list of resources! Pinned.
Thanks Joanne!! I love using books to teach! I hope you find some books that work for your family!!