Pablo Picasso said, "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Isn't that the truth? Children spend hour after hour creating—drawing, painting, writing—visualizing and expressing their thoughts, ideas and dreams and transferring them into special works of art to share with others. If only we spent more time doing the same as adults, perhaps our lives would be filled with more of the childlike laughter and wonder of our younger days.
Over the years, I know that I have been blessed by engaging my children in art. Whether it's smearing a rainbow of finger paints onto a blank sheet of paper, forming little animals out of clay, or even just looking at a book with beautiful illustrations, slowing down and losing myself in an array of lines, shapes, and colors has been good for my soul.
The next time you spend time studying or making art with your little one, consider one (or more!) of the following titles to get you started on an exciting journey into the world of art.
Elements and principles of art
Color Farm by Lois Ehlert
Lois Ehlert has been a favorite in our home for many years. This book is a wonderful introduction to shapes, colors and creative ways to make animals.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
This cherished childhood classic shows in a very simple way how to use lines to create anything imaginable. And all you need is a purple crayon!
Art Fraud Detective by Anna Nilsen
I bought this book for my oldest daughter this past Christmas, and we've thoroughly enjoyed working through the mysteries and trying to determine the fake work of art versus the real one. It's been a great introduction to many of the world's greatest artistic treasures.
Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew
Mayhew has written nine books about a little girl named Katie who visits museums and has marvelous adventures in art, introducing readers to famous artists from the Italian Renaissance to Post-Impressionism.
Artists like Leo Leonni, Eric Carle and Rosemary Wells share about their journey to becoming an artist. It's striking how often we see that the dream of becoming an artist begins in early childhood. This is definitely a book you'll want in your library.
Introducing famous artists
Each of these books finds creative and amusing ways to introduce well-known artists to children and to make them seem relatable.
The freedom found in art
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
Ahhh, the beloved Eric Carle. Carle shows us with vibrant illustrations that there are no rules in art, and that you don't have to stay within the lines. Artists use their imaginations however they see fit, and there is no "wrong" art, contrary to what he witnessed as a young boy in Germany when modernistic "degenerate artists" were banned by the Nazi regime.
ART by Patrick McDonell
"There's no stopping Art, when Art is inspired," writes McDonnell. The illustrations in ART really do evoke an inspiring energy to run to your desk and start creating!
There are a lot of things that parents of preschoolers don't do as often as they probably once did: going out to the movies, to see a play or a concert, to an elegant restaurant. And that's pretty much unavoidable. (Sigh.) But visiting museums doesn'... read more
My girls absolutely love making artwork—as in, they make roughly twenty masterpieces each day. And I'm happy to see their creative little minds at work, really I am, but at this rate we'll soon have to move all of the furniture out and turn the hou... read more