Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spring flowers

You need
  1. white drawing paper
  2. wasco crayons
  3. tempera
  4. brushes
Children draw spring flowers with black crayon. The whole sheet should be filled with flowers. Colour the flowers with tempera. Paint the background in a bright spring colour.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Moving around

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. black finepointed markers
  3. markers in three different colours
  4. black construction paper for background

Movement, that is what this lesson is about. Give each child a rough leaf. Ask some children in your classroom to show different 'frozen' attitudes: running, cheering, catching a ball, kneeling. The other students draw this postures on their rough leaf. Their character has only to consist of a circle (head) and stripes for arms, torso and legs. The goal of this lesson is not to draw good-looking people, but only the attitude.
If these droodles are okay, children fill their sheet with moving people. Again: draw simple figures consisting of a circle and scrawled arms and legs. The figures should not overlap, but there should be as much as possible on the drawing sheet. Allow children to draw first with pencil, and if the figures are good, they go over it with a fineliner.

When the sheet is filled up with moving figures, the spots between the people have to be coloured. Use only three different colours feltpens. The spots may not touch each other, there must even be a white border between the faces. Also around the puppets remain white. Keep a white border of about half a cm free all around the whole work. This will look nice on a black background.

Finally paste the picture on a black sheet of paper.

Friday, May 29, 2009


You need:
  1. glossy paper
  2. crepe paper
  3. glue
  4. white drawing sheet

Children have to draw the outside of a hyancinth on their sheet with gray pencil . The flower has to be filled with crumled pieces of crepe paper, who are glued on the sheet. From torn pieces of the green glossy paper they paste the leaves.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

dana lake komjaty : artists who blog

Dana's blog:
Dana's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

Somewhere around January 2007 I ‘accidentally’ stumbled across my first designer craft blog. It was Rosa Pomar’s blog. I had never seen anything like it before. At first I had no idea what it was I was looking at, just felt this incredible attraction, I could not stop looking at it. It was like stepping into a different reality. The virtual world! Which before this experience was just a word to me without any meaning. Now it had become a reality in which I felt surprisingly at home.

When I started to understand the way it worked I really got the hang of it and I started surfing from one artists blog to another. And for maybe six months this was all I did. When it all started to click in my mind it changed my view on the creative world entirely. I suddenly saw there is this big group of people all over the world who are all interconnected in a creative way. Isn’t that amazing?! The best part was that they are often mothers like me, with the same daily struggles like me. How to create and take care of others is the main friction I feel in this life as an artist and mother, and I am not alone! I had searched for this group of people I could mirror myself against for all my life. I know it sounds corny but it is true.

I have been creatively involved all my life, I always had big plans to be a self supporting artist. Just had no idea where to start really. Years and years I put one foot in front of the other. But did not get ahead very quickly. There just had never been enough feedback or sharing to really understand what to do about it. I can very clearly see that now. Until then I had always worked alone in my studio. I had even stopped creating anything for a few years because I felt so isolated and alone, it’s had just dried me up inside. When I found out about blogging I could not wait to start creating again.

I very much wanted to become a part of this energetic and creative group of people. So I started with setting up a Flickr account, that for me was relatively easy to do, I had no idea how to create a blog. I did not start with my own blog until April last year because until then I thought that you had to have extensive computer knowledge to have one of those.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Actually my then aprox. 1,5 year old son came up with it. His name is Leilani and he could not pronounce it right in the beginning. For a long time he said Leililaloo when he referred to himself. It sounded so funny hearing him say that. It was just what I was looking for, whimsical, lighthearted and a bit strange.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Very profoundly…. I get a bit lost for words trying to explain how it has affected me and my work. For starters I felt not isolated and alone anymore. That was and is very important to me. I crave feedback and communication about creating. This community is incredible, the feedback on my blog and my Flickr account has become very important and addictive, it’s the light of my day.

The the incredible pool of inspiration who keeps me going day and night. It’s such a miracle to be able to find new inspiring work other people made on every moment of every day around the whole world. I can’t think of another word for it other than it’s just virtual paradise! It has become the fuel to my creative engine.

I also got more of a realistic understanding of words like; promote your work, press kit, press release, professionalism, sharing, giving and receiving feedback. In general reading the blogs of these inspiring artists and designers have given me the confidence I needed to start creating again. Because of it I started to believe that I can take my creative work further than I had ever the courage to imagine.

Since I got to know bloggers and started blogging myself the feeling of ‘anything is possible’ is what I wake up (almost ☺) every morning with now, instead of what I felt for years; ‘I would like to but I don’t know how, so never mind’ .

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

When I sit down in front of my computer in the morning with a cup of coffee I normally start my blog reading journey at my friends blog Beth, at Tangledskystudio . I am so glad I met her through blogging, our friendship feels like a warm blanket from the States. When I finish reading hers I go on following the blogs in her favorites list or my own.
I love to read Heather Smith Jones’s blog, Apol’s blog at La Pomme, Cathy Cullis’s blog at Novembermoon, Melissa’s blog at tiny happy and so so many others……..

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

I don’t feel like an expert at all, I feel I am just putting one foot in front of the other in the dark because I am still discovering blogging every day. So it feels a bit strange to me to give out any advice. But I guess trial and error is the way I learn the blogging tricks, so that is what my advice would be to others. Just dare to try and dare to fail. And having the courage to occasionally ask fellow bloggers for help is another advice I would like to give. If I don’t know or understand something in technical or other blogging areas I learned that asking fellow bloggers is a really helpful and rewarding. The people in this designer and craft blog world are very very nice people, and I found them to be very open to help as well.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

My blog experience has been an real life changing thing for me. Suddenly I feel closer to my dream as I ever did. The most positive aspect is the that I don’t feel isolated as an artist any more. I am no longer stuck in my own little world between my own four walls. Even if in the material reality is that I am still working from between the same four walls as always. And from that aspect alone come tons and tons of inspiration and energy to create new things.

Also I love the global feel of blogging. There are no boundaries between countries any more. I live in the Netherlands, but most of my contacts are in the States. That I never dreamed could happen. I would never have met these people and their work if it weren’t for blogging. It makes me really happy to be so free in traveling the world from my own studio-living room.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
Most difficult I find finding the balance between the different roles I chose in life. Roles like being a wife a mother and an artist. As for the most rewarding part I have to say is my soul’s freedom. It sounds a bit contradictive when I see it here in writing, but it’s the truth.

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Those would be my Flickr account and my Etsy shop until now. I am in that particular faze right now where I am trying to find out how to promote my work more professionally and more effectively. For example I try to find out how to write a press release and how to make a press kit and then who/where to send those to.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Well, that is a very difficult thing to maintain for me. I sometimes feel like I am working on my Etsy shop 24 hours a day. And in the mean time I feel really guilty that I neglect other important life duties, such as being a good mother, resting enough, cooking healthy and wholesome food, exercising enough, etc…….. so to this questions I have nothing but doubts about how I am doing and no answers.

What are your main goals for 2009?

I would like more than anything to become an (financially) independent designer/artist/ crafter. To get there I have still so much to learn and discover. But I have a clearer vision every day of what I would like the situation to be in the future and how I might be able to get there.

As a main goal for this year, besides giving birth to a new baby at any moment now, I would like it if I could get some editorials in magazines and in the so called ‘hot’ blogs. I am in the process of partnering up with my fellow blogger and Etsy artists, Apol from La Pomme, to learn the tricks of the promotional trade. We just started this process so it’s still very exciting and new, and I have no idea yet where it might lead. I hope that in the end all efforts will lead to my (little) Leililaloo empire, what else ☺

Thanks Dana!

A field full of sunflowers

By student of grade 4

You need:

  1. oil pastel crayons
  2. coloured ink
  3. brushes
  4. white drawing paper A4 size
  5. green paper for background
See what sunflowers look like. Show photographs of French sunflower fields.
Children draw a field full of sunflowers with oilpastels. When finished, the background has to be painted with water colour in green or bluegreen. The oilpastel will resist the watercolour.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ocean animals

You need

  1. white drawing paper A4 format
  2. blue markers
  3. coloured paper for background

After a class discussion about animals in the ocean (and there are much more than just fish!), children draw an animal of their choice. The animal is drawn largely and has to be kept white (of course there may be in eyes etc.). After this the background has to be filled with lines in different patterns. Use only blue feltpens or markers, to support the ocean effect.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cow's day

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A3 size

  2. construction paper for background

  3. tempera paint or oilpastels

When the cows are back in the meadows in spring, we should draw them! We look at photographs and paintings of cows. Using the website how to draw a cow, children draw a cow in the meadow. Of course with a typical Dutch cloudy sky. Colour the drawing with oilpastels or tempera paint. Tell the kids that the meadow shouldn't be a simple green rectangle. They should use different colours. And: grass is growing up!

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's me in the mirror

You need:

  1. digital photo camera
  2. white drawing sheets
  3. coloured pencils
  4. photograph of back of the head, shoulders and stretching arm
  5. aluminium foil
  6. big mirror on the wall
  7. some hand mirrors
  8. scissors and glue

If you want to see the back of yourself, you'll need two mirrors. By using a hand mirror you can see the back of your head back in a mirror on the wall.

We're going to practice with the mirrors. Children look at their own backs with two mirrors and will discover they nevertheless can see their front also!

All children get two printed photographs of themselves: one with the back of the head/shoulders/stretched hand with handmirror, and one photograph of their face. The 'back'photo has to be used to copy. Draw yourself at the left of the sheet. Copy the stretched hand as well as you can. After this they draw the background: the bathroom or maybe the bedroom. The hand mirror has to be drawn bigger, because the photograph has to fit!

Aluminium foil has to be glued on the handmirror (shining side up). Cut out the photograph of the face, and glue this on the foil.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Printing with you hands

With your hands you can make beautiful prints.

You need:
  1. black tempera
  2. glass plate
  3. paint roller
  4. sheets A4 size in different colours
  5. glue and scissors

Put some black paint on a glass plate. Roll the paint well, till the glass is covered. Put your hand in the paint and press firmly. Put your black hand on a sheet of coloured paper and make a print. Make four prints on four different colour sheets. Maybe you have to make even more, because some of them won't succeed. Never mind, choose the best ones after printing!
Cut your prints after drying with 1 cm extra around the paint. Stick all prints on different colour paper and you have a beautiful artwork in the style of Andy Warhol!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wooden landscape

You need
  1. piece of plywood 15 by 15 cm
  2. jigsaw
  3. coloured paper
  4. tempera
  5. brushes
  6. gold marker
An exercise in figure saw.
The students draw on their board from left to right a straight line, a zigzag line and a wavy lijn. These lines have to be sawn. The individual parts are then sanded and painted (possibly decorated with gold marker). Finally glue the parts on a piece of coloured paper: a wooden landscape!

Newspaper city

By students from 10-11 years old

You need:
  1. white drawing sheets A4 size
  2. tempera paint
  3. newspapers
  4. scissors and glue
  5. brushes
  6. black paper for background

Paint a blue or grey blue sky on a white sheet with clouds in it. Use different colours of blue and grey. Cut some typical city center buildings in various forms out of newspaper. Paste them on a white sheet. In front of the high buildings we see smaller ones (overlap). Outline the buildings with black tempera paint. Paint windows and doors. Paint the sides black; think carefully about which side is really visible.

Hang all artworks together to create a long street.


You need:

  1. wallpaper paste
  2. newspaper strips
  3. toilet paper or paper towels
  4. magazines
From paper mache you can make a nice fruit basket. Start with a wad of newspaper and paste newspaper strips around it . Use enough glue, so the work is so wet that you can make figures out of it. Make the last layer of toilet paper and make it smooth.

Tear small pieces of coloured paper from magazines in the color of your fruit and glue them around. Use different shades within one color.

After drying, the fruit can be laquered with vernish.

This is me!

You need:

  1. magazines
  2. scissors and glue
  3. coloured construction paper
The children make a collage about themselves. Start by making a word field with your own name in the middle. Think of hobbies, things you enjoy, things you own, characteristics, special dates etc.
Cut pictures and letters from magazines, newspapers etc. Glue them on a coloured sheet. It doesn't need to be straight, your images may overlap. When your collage is ready, everybody can see: 'This is me!'

Thursday, May 21, 2009

francesca iannaccone : artists who blog

Francesca's blog:
Francesca's website:
Francesca's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I couldn’t help myself! I was so inspired by what I’d seen out there, I wanted to be a part of it. Initially I thought it would be a good way to log my progress and to promote my work, but I had no idea what a big part of my life and work it would become, what connections I would make, how I would be motivated and inspired every day by the encouragement of complete strangers.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

The name of my blog is the same as my business - when I was at art college (I graduated 13 years ago) The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot by Angus Wilson was the first book I bought from the second-hand shop to tear up and use in my work. It was pretty much fluke, I had a flick through it and liked the language of the era, the conversations and words. And I still use it today; just last week I finally used a sentence that had been sitting in an envelope for years, in a new little paper book of mine.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Immeasurably. I don’t know how else would I be able to get my work seen and bought today. It’s given me a reason to keep going. Once you have a few readers you start to feel a need to feed your blog, and never in a negative way. There is a reason to keep creating. It can also be challenging, you see beautiful things every day so you have to have confidence in your own ability and style to keep going.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

I like different blogs for different reasons. With a few like Lu, Janne, Tif, Heather and Mandy, it’s more like visiting friends. I enjoy their writing and we have a connection, so I like seeing what they’re up to every day, it’s a way to keep in touch. Some are just a hit of pure raw creativity every day like Sissi Manana, Fine Little Day and Olivelse. Of the design blogs I like Bloesem; Irene seems to find the most interesting designers that you don’t see on every other design blog. And Grain Edit, whose 50s/60s design aesthetic is right up my street.

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

I think it’s important to remember that you can’t force your blog onto people. If you don’t get any comments for a while, don’t worry about it. I didn’t get comments for ages, I still have a very low comment count! And a small amount of ’followers’, but for me, if one person gets something from something I write or display, that’s hugely flattering. You have to do it for yourself for the right reasons, either to keep a record of what you produce, to make connections, to fill a gap in the blog universe, whatever. Just don’t get hung up on the ’who’s reading this?’ stuff. I would also encourage posting as often as possible, to keep any readers you may have attracted interested. I try and post 2 or 3 times a week but it can be hard to keep up.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

By far, the connections I have made, meeting like-minded people - new ones every day. The fact that you can genuinely make friends with someone you have never met, and really care. The sharing of ideas, the kindness, the collaborations.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?

The difficult part for me is just the fact, as with most people in this business, that it’s me and only me who is doing my job. So I have to motivate myself, come up with all the ideas, find new ways to be inspired; design, make and post everything myself.* You have to be very self reliant and know what your limits are. When I’m offered a project now, I have to be very honest with myself and think ’Can i do this in the time i have? ’ ’Will it stress me out too much? ’ ’Will I enjoy it? ’ I don’t like to be stressed, I like to be happy! So if my business stays small and stress-free, that’s good enough for me.

It’s rewarding because being an artist and working for myself is all I ever wanted, and never thought I could have. There is no greater reward. *I confess my husband did the post office run the other day. I am 8 months pregnant and I just can’t stand in that long queue anymore!

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Can I include other people’s blogs?! I’ve been fortunate enough to have people find me and ask me to do an interview or show some of my work on their blogs. Also a couple of times I’ve emailed new work to design blogs and they’ve been kind enough to post up my work. I think just being as visible as possible – I’ve done Poppytalk Handmade 2 or 3 times, and I’ve done a couple of craft fairs. It’s good to actually leave the house sometimes and meet your customers face to face! I think if you do a good job for someone, word of mouth is probably the best promotion. The way this is all set up - the communal aspect, linking to people, favouriting people, it’s a very cooperative sector of the design world, which I think must be pretty rare in a generally competitive industry.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

I guess balance is forced upon me as I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who I obviously want to spend a lot of time with. So I try to use my mornings while he’s at nursery as constructively as possible. I also try not to do any work at weekends, but as my husband would happily tell you, I do sneak down to print something or pack something every now and again. I’m working on turning the laptop off at night but it’s something I find hard! This etsy/blogging online lifestyle suits me very well, I like that I can fit it around my life and do as much or as little as I want. The other point is that’s it’s not really work to me. It’s just having fun every day, with that wretched post office queue thrown in for good measure!

What are your main goals for 2009? know what, I should think about that more. Maybe I should make a plan every January 1st. But this year my main goal is just to be able to keep the shop going while nursing a baby. I can’t have too many expectations, I don’t expect to be able to make a lot of new books or design some new stationery. Just staying afloat is my goal this year and trying not to go crazy!

Thanks Francesca!

Strange birds

Made by students of grade 5
You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size

  2. tempera paint

  3. brushes

  4. construction paper for background

The children draw a strange bird, according to their own imagination. Immediately to work with tempera and brushes!

Spring bulbs

Spring bulbs, by students of grade 2

What spring bulbs do you know? Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. Maybe you know more spring flowers?


You need:

  1. spring bulbs or pictures of them

  2. white drawing paper A4 size

  3. crayons

  4. wash bowl with water

  5. liquid watercolour

  6. brushes

  7. newspapers

  8. coloured paper for background

Draw big flowers and colour them with crayons on a white sheet. When the drawing is finished, place it in the wash bowl. Splash liquid watercolour on the drawing with a brush. The liquid watercolour will run off into the water. Move the sheet, so the colour can spread over the drawing. Because the crayonlines are fat, they will resist the liquid watercolour. Let the drawings dry on a newspaper. Paste the artwork on a coloured background.

Distorting mirror

By a student of grade 6

Everyone has ever seen himself in a distorting mirror. In some mirrors you are very fat, the other just makes you super long and another makes you get a big head! In this art class, the children draw themselves as if they are in front of a disorting mirror. Each drawing has to contain three persons: one in normal size, one as if you are bfore a disorting mirror that makes you thin, and one that makes you very fat.

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size

  2. colour pencils

  3. ruler

Uses a number of examples on the board to show how objects change when they are in front of a distorting mirror. A circle or square is getting smaller or wider, but the height stays the same. Ask children to draw some examples on the blackboard.


The constant height is very important in this drawing. If children draw themself in front of a disorting mirror, all limbs have to be on the same height as in the usual mirror. The thin figure should not be longer, and the fat one should not be shorter than the middle drawing.


Guide the children in dividing their drawing sheet. Thin is 1/6 part of the sheet, normal is 2/6 part of the sheet and fat is 3/6 part. Tell students to start with the normal person. The fat and thin person have to be drawn after this. Colour the drawing with colour pencils.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Portraits of the past

Nice sepia portraits can be painted with instant coffee. Ask students to bring pictures from the past from home, or let them search for those photographs in the internet.
Discuss those photograps. How do you know those portraits are from long time ago? Clothes and hair of course, but look also how people were posing and what colours the pictures have.

You need:
  1. white drawing paper A4 size

  2. instant coffee

  3. saucers

  4. brushes

  5. jars with water

  6. paper towels

  7. gold markers

  8. brown construction paper

  9. glue

  10. scissors

Tell the students they're going to paint with instant coffee. Each child gets a saucer with a teaspoon of coffee grains. Those grains are to be dissolved in water on the saucer bit by bit. The less water you use, the darker the colour will be. Let the students practice this on a scratch sheet.
The portrait has to be drawn with coffee and a brush directly on the sheet. There will be no scetching with a pencil. False lines can be removed with a drop of water on the brush. After painting the contour lines of the portrait, it can be coloured with the instant coffee.
Cut a frame out of brown construction paper. Draw decorations with gold marker. Paste the frame on the paiting.
Made by students of grade 6