Love It! Draw It! Artabet It!
I receive requests every week from eager teachers, artists, and parents who want to start an art program in their school, home, and community and this is the question that I am asked more than any other.What do I need to know to start teaching art?
I have responded every time with three things to start with.
1- Get the FREE Teacher Pacs
2- Get the ARTABET eBook
3- Go through all the Artabet Blogs that show you how and what to teach
What Materials Do I Need To Teach Art
We like lists. So here is a simple list for getting started.
1- Soft Pencil. Soft means it marks easily. There is a number and some letters on the side of your pencil. HB is the most common yellow pencil around the office and home and it is not what you want. HB-2 is better. The H denotes hardness and the B softness. Anything over 2B gets softer and softer. The softer the pencil the better especially for ages under 4.
Why a soft pencil? Little hands cannot push down with enough force to make an HB pencil mark dark enough. The same thing happens with colored pencils. They are for older students who have developed more pressure control with their fingers.
How big should my pencil be? Small hands require small pencils. CUT YOUR PENCILS IN HALF. This goes for you the parent and the teacher. Young children like what you have so if your pencil is big they will want it. It’s the same when they try on your shoes. Big is better in their eyes. I mean really how well would you draw if your pencil was as long as your forearm.
2- How About Felt Pens, Sharpies, Crayons, etc… The main thing to always consider is ease of holding and ease of marking. Most drawing tools are too big for kids. If you find small markers then use them, break the crayons and remove the paper so they can use them in different ways. Sharpies are for ages 6 and up with supervision. Easy to hold…easy to mark…happy student.
3- Paper. Big is not the best for ages 18 months to about 4 years.. Use smaller pieces of paper. The standard 8.5 inches by 11 inches 20 lb. bond paper is far too big. Kids like to fill up spaces and you frustrate them when you make the task too cumbersome. Cut your paper in half and in quarters. They will fill it up and feel accomplished. Running out of time in the classroom with ages 5 and up is the result of too much space to cover. Keep it small.
I use the flimsy paper ( 8.5 by 11 full size) in the classroom with grade 1 and up when we do our ARTABET LINES during the warm up period. Then we use the GOOD PAPER!
4- The Good Paper Art is special when we treat our talent and our self development as important. Good quality paper is the most overlooked aspect of our student’s artistic development. Good materials make great pictures.
Are good papers expensive? You should know what a good paper is first before we answer that question. Good Paper make your artwork worth keeping and of course look great when you display it.
Card Stock paper (90 lb.) works very well for pencil, ink, and light watercolours. It is heavy enough to receive some water based mediums.
I also use Canson Brand, 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper for my classes. You get about 12 sheets of paper for about $12 USD and then I cut them into 4 so I end up with 48 smaller pieces to hand out. Value is achieved by working small. The paper can be used on both sides if something ’emotional happens’ on the first try, remember there are no mistakes in art only redirections.
There are other brands of paper of equal quality and they all have a different ‘tooth’, this is the word we use to describe the roughness and smoothness of paper and canvas. The Canson Brand is smoother than most other brands and that makes it very versatile. It’s available in your local big store and almost all art supply stores and online.
Check out this Artabet blog on how to set up a whole class using these materials. Draw and Paint Thunderfoot .https://www.theartabet.com/draw-and-paint-dinosaur/
Secret Paper Source: I have always made a point to find places that throw away quality paper products. My best source is the local Framing Shop. They usually throw away or recycle bags of ‘Mat Board’. You can visit a few places and tell them what you want and when a convenient time would be to come back. Then I go to the frame shop with cash, say about $20 and I bring a big strong plastic bag with me and she fills it up with quality paper. I then go home and cut up the boards and use them in class. The kids really like these stiff little boards to do their Draw A Story with their Favourite Artabet Character.
4- Paints And Color I have used acrylic paints thinned down to a watery consistency, with great economy and success with age 5 and up. 3 tubes of good quality acrylic paints will cost you about $18 to $25 USD. Beware of CHEAP paints as they are full of paint retarders to slow down drying and they thin very poorly. Graham Acrylic Paints are excellent and economical.
What Tube Colors Should I Get? There are three main colors to start with whether they are watercolours or acrylics. If you get these your artwork will be bright transparent and exciting.
1- Thalo Blue.
2- Azo or Hansa Yellow
3- Alizarin Crimson (Permanent)
These colors will mix well together and produce lively greens, oranges, and purples. Watch for the Alizarin Crimson which says permanent beside it, otherwise it will darken and eventually fade away. We call this a ‘fugitive’ color. Use only permanent colors.
What About Cake Pan Colors? There are good quality cake pan paints and poor quality. The majority are very poor. They use bright fugitive colors and contain lots of fillers. Good brands such as Cotman can be pricy if you are getting 20 students their set. I find that pre-mixing your watercolours from a tube of Cotman watercolors or Graham acrylics is more economical. For the single student $18 USD for cake colors is a good buy.
PAINTING TIP – Always add lots of water to your watercolor paints. If you are using the cake pan colors start with a puddle of water and then add some paint to it from the cake. Water and then Color.
5- Brushes. GO SYNTHETIC! I pay about $5 to 8 CDN for my #6 to #9 synthetic round brushes depending on the brand. They last for about 2 years and I buy 25 at a time. If you only have 5 to 8 students in your classes your going to appreciate the low cost for these brushes.
Robert Simmons Brushes are of exceptional value and they last.
PAINTING AND BRUSH TIP – Round brushes are called round because they are Round at the belly and metal part of the brush. Flat brushes look like a chisel are not used too often with the younger ones. Once again if your little ones are painting cut off some of the handle of the brush so they can control it more easily. Watch the Thunderfoot Video mentioned above to get lots of brush and painting tips.
Here is a Free Links to My Skillshare Video How To Create Perfect Washes In Watercolor that will give you some skills and ideas for teaching ages 6 to 12 and for adults.