Contemporary artists should be a part of any art education program. Melanie Smythe is an artist from Texas. She is a botanical illustrator who loves to draw flowers. She uses many techniques including pencil, pen, ink, graphite crumbs on mylar, watercolor, colored pencil, computer drawings, etc. Her work is called scientific illustration, which accurately depicts plant life found in nature. Scientific illustrators are always telling a story using drawing and composition to visually explain the structure, organization and relationship of an object. Smythe works together with scientists to be able to interpret and reconstruct her images with accuracy. Her art work is a great addition to art education since she applies creativity to science. Smythe brings art to kids by participating in Abrakadoodle’s Artist of Distinction program.
What Kids Can Learn From Smythe
(Art for Kids)
Melanie Smythe studies each flower before drawing it. Children can learn so much about nature while observing a flower. They can learn about the flower’s structure while using different techniques to represent it. Children can learn to use watercolor by blending colors, creating value with thin overlapping strokes, drawing lines, texture and more while painting a flower. Melanie’s art helps children appreciate nature by representing it through her unique style – a blend of creativity and science.
Smythe inspires creativity in children with her style which uses dots instead of lines. She teaches children to use this technique of applying hundreds of dots in a pattern to produce a flower. The dots are put closer together to make the image darker, and farther apart to make it lighter. This technique is called stippling, and children learn how to represent light and shadows. Her style lends itself to art education at its best!
Learn more about her work at:
Edible Art & Food Styling
Art for kids doesn’t need to involve crayons and paper. Helping children connect to their own sense of style can be loads of fun in so many daily activities that we may take for granted. We all appreciate an artfully presented dinner plate. Meal time can offer your child an opportunity for creative expression. You can engage your child in creating the menu and presentation of your next family meal. Perhaps you are planning to have chicken as a main course. You could ask your child what side dishes would add color, flavor and good health. How might this rainbow of colorful vegetables, fruits and grains be served on your plate to add visual appeal? It would be very helpful to keep clean fruits and veggies in easily accessible containers, which you can pull out and offer as choices for setting a plate of scrumptious looking and tasting food. Maybe your child imagines a scoop of rice with fish and salsa stacked over top and garnished with green beans in a circular pattern. By encouraging your child to tap his or her imagination at meal time, you are fostering wonderful family connections, healthful habits, as well as encouraging your child’s inner artist.
Decorating baked goods is another fun way for kids to express their creativity. Children delight in adorning cookies, cakes and baked treats. Once you roll out the dough, your child can decide on fun shapes, glazes, sprinkles and colors that reflect his/her own sense of style and whimsy. Brownies, biscuits and breads can be cut into fun shapes. You could also bake cupcakes and set out a variety of icings and toppings (edible flowers are great fun) that your child can use to decorate them. A treat wrapped in cellophane and tied off with a ribbon can make wonderfully personalized gifts for coaches, teachers, family members or friends. Best of all, children cherish the opportunity to show off their imaginative creations.
Korky Paul was born in Harare, Zimbabwe into a family of seven children. From an early age he was reading comic books and scribbling cartoons. In 1976 he moved to Europe where he started his career as a children’s book illustrator.
The first book Korky illustrated was Winnie the Witch. It won the Children’s Book Award in 1987 and has been published in over 10 languages. Korky has since illustrated more very successful books for Oxford, Random House, Penguin and many other publishers. He lives in Oxford, Britain and he is very popular among young children who read his books.
What Kids Can Learn From Korky Paul
(Art for Kids)
With Korky Paul children will learn about book illustration. They will learn about creating characters based upon a favorite poem or fairy tale. They will be using unusual shapes, lines and color to give the character their own special style. Also, they can learn about sceneries and even create silly stories.
Korky Paul invites children to be carried away into a fantasy world by his illustrations. Some of his characters are witches, dinosaurs and pirates. Younger children can use pre cut up fun shapes, such as big clawed feet, a small head, a big-tummy torso, pointed ears, tiny arms, etc., and they can piece together a character collage of his or her own imagination and add some color, eyes, teeth, and more.
Learn more about Korky Paul on the web at
And read an interview with Korky Paul on helping children develop their own creativity:
What color was your day?
Art can be introduced into your child’s life in so many fun ways! Color evokes powerful emotions in us all, and each of us perceives color in different ways. What’s fun is to find out how your child reacts to color as an individual. Forget the preconceived notions of what people are supposed to think about a certain color, which is commonly known as the psychology of color.
Co-create a color wheel, chart or box with your child. You can use the basic colors or add lots of additional colors, depending upon your child’s age and interest. Perhaps your child will want to color white paper to create a personalized palette. Once you have your colors organized, you can have some fun exploring them.
We traditionally greet our child after school with a “Hello, how was your day?” What if you changed this up and said, “Hi, what color was your day?” Instead of hearing the typical, “Fine,” “Ok,” “Boring,” “Hard,” etc, you could engage in a colorful conversation. Your child could use the color palette to express the color or colors of the day that best suits his or her experience. Maybe it was a purple day. The question is: what does that color mean to your son or daughter? So, you’ll have to ask questions, such as: “What made today a ‘red’ day?” Perhaps the day was more than one color, and that’s okay, too. As long as your child does not feel judged for his or her feelings about colors and emotions, then you can give your child yet another way to colorfully express him/herself and expand visual perception. It’s also an imaginative way to show interest in your child.