Our 9 year old son has three big passions in life - cooking, playing guitar and art. One of the ways he unwinds and relaxes is by escaping to his room and drawing pictures and comic strips. Sometimes he'll express how he is feeling through his drawings like when he drew this worried penguin picture when his little sister was about to start preschool.
Art also causes him to feel frustration. He is brilliant with his comic style drawings but he desperately wants to get better at drawing real things, real people.
When Mumsnet got in touch about reviewing The School of Art, we thought it would be perfect for D in his quest to improve his art.
The School of Art is written by The Royal College of Art's Teal Triggs and is illustrated by London based illustrator Daniel Frost. It is a new publication from Wide Eyed Books who "believe that books should encourage curiosity about the world we live in, inspiring readers to set out on their own journey of discovery".
The book's subheading is "Learn how to make great art with 40 simple lessons" and although the book didn't turn out to be quite what we expected, it was really brilliant in a different kind of way.
We had hoped that these 40 lessons would be specific art focused tasks for the reader to complete which would lead to them getting lots of practice in various drawing and painting techniques. But instead the lessons are a real foundation in the basics of art explaining line, form, shape, colours, and so on.
We are led through the book's 40 lessons by five professors, The Professor of Ideas, The Professor of Form, The Professor of Senses, The Professor of Making, and The Professor of the Planet.
It is a very holistic book in the sense that through each of these professors we learn about the wider picture; that art is not just painting or drawing but can take many different forms, including fashion, textiles, animation, sculpture and even product design. We learn that there is no right or wrong. We learn that art can be made from ANYTHING, and that art can impact the lives of those around us and even help protect the planet.
We found some of the lessons more useful than others and are going to enjoy working through them. Each lesson has a suggested activity which will help reinforce what has been learnt.
Whilst D is desperate to get stuck in with learning specific painting and drawing techniques (perhaps that would make a great follow on book to this one, Wide Eyed books?), I think this book will give him some important basics to consider when he is 'creating.'
For me, who has very little knowledge of the art world, I believe it will help me understand and appreciate art a lot more.
Overall this book does encourage and inspire and gives a great starting point to adults and children alike who are new to these concepts.
I'm going to end by quoting the professor of ideas who says 'there are no boundaries for my imagination, and nor should there be for yours'.
Find out what other Mumsnet bloggers thought of The School of Art and other Wide Eyed Books here. You can find out more about Wide Eyed books here and specifically about The School of Art here including a sneak peek at some of the lessons in the book!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network and received this book for the purposes of review. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.
Title quote by Gordon Gee.