Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Art School

Art School

Mick Manning, Brita Granstrom
For ages 7 and up
Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-1845078393

You may think that the only way a person can learn how to be an artist is to have art lessons at an art center or art school. Thankfully, this is not the case. Many famous artists learned how to paint or draw simply by creating art, and by studying the techniques of others. These days many people learn from watching videos, or they study books about art. This book brings an art school for young people into the home or classroom, and Mick is going to take us through the lessons.

   Mick begins by telling us that when we join his Art School we will not “just learn how to paint and draw.” We will also learn how to “see things in new and exciting ways.” There are all kinds of projects to try, and many different kinds of materials to work with. Mick tells us about the supplies we will need and then he starts explaining what drawing is. You may think that you know what drawing is all about, but there is more to the process than you might imagine.

   Next, Mick shows us how to make out own sketchbook and he talks about how important it is to use a sketchbook on a regular basis. Many artists have a sketchbook “which they carry around with the all the time.”

   Mick then moves on to talk about making a self-portrait, how to use all your senses to create art, how to draw textures, how to draw from memory, how to draw a dream, life drawing and portrait drawing. This is a lot of material to cover, and as we work through these sections Mick gives us lots of tips to help us better understand the processes he is talking about.

   You may think that this is more than enough material to be getting on with, but this is just the beginning. Mick then goes on to give you a “Color Workshop,” and he shows us how to compose objects for still life projects. Further on in the book young artists will learn about collage, sculpture and so much more.

    This book has so much to offer young people who have an interest in creating art. The text is extremely accessible, there are excellent directions throughout, and young readers will come to appreciate that just about anyone can create art if they have the right attitude and a willingness to practice, explore, and open their minds to all the possibilities.