visual arts


10 Day of Christmas

Watercolours! A colourful watercolour palette is loads of fun. The rainbow appearance definitely draws people in. For kids it can provide hours of painting fun. Add a colourful art diary and you have an inspirational creative gift!

A basic tray, like in the picture for this post, is a great place to start!

Serious watercolour artists are going to want something more substantial and expensive. It’s kind of a case of “you get what you pay for” with watercolour paints. Different watercolour brands have different pigment strengths and quality. If you are really going to get into watercolours, buy the best you can afford. Also buy the best watercolour paper you can afford. The best paints won’t mean much without quality paper. Go to an art supplies store and speak with the sales people about what you need. Most serious watercolour artists already know what their watercolour preferences are so if you are buying for an experienced artist, a gift voucher is a good idea as they will likely have their favourite brands of paint and paper.

Watercolour teaches patience and acceptance of one’s artistic mistakes. It is a beautiful medium that is definitely worth trying.


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visual arts


3 day of Christmas

Pencils. They sound so simple but there really are a lot to choose from and they all serve a different purpose.

  • Coloured pencils. Yup, got to have them. There are expensive ones for serious coloured pencil artists, but if you’re just looking to stock your art kit for some creative fun, you can buy basic coloured pencils just about anywhere.
  • Graphite pencils. A range of graphite drawing pencils from 6B and up to 4H will be really useful for sketching and shading.
  • Watercolour pencils. I have found that these are extremely popular with students. They love the control of being able to sketch their art and then add water to magically turn it into a painting. They are a nice step before using watercolour palettes or paints.

While you’re browsing pencils, make sure to pick up a couple of quality sharpeners and some erasers. Pencils don’t really like sharpeners, so be gentle. Also, you know that frustrating experience of having the lead break and fall out of the pencil every time you sharpen it? Well, it may be that the lead has broken when the pencil has been dropped or sharpened roughly so take good care of them.

There are more pencils that I will blog about at a later date, but for now, these 3 kinds are great tools to have in your creative art tool kit.


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visual arts

Paper roll

2 day of Christmas

lego drawing

A large roll of paper is such an inviting gift! Sometimes we need to make drawings or paintings that are much bigger than any art diary we have. Sometimes we want to get our whole arm moving when we draw or paint and the only way to get this to happen freely is to have large areas for artmaking. This might be chalk for drawing on the cement outside or maybe we’re lucky enough to have a huge canvas to work on. In the absence of a large work area, a large roll of art paper can be just as good. It can be taped to the wall for upright work or taped to the floor for working on the ground. It can be used to trace our outlines to make life size portraits or can become the city planning map for an intense Lego session. It could be used for drip painting, Jackson Pollock style, or it could become the canvas for an illustrated historical timeline. Maybe it could be a giant underwater mural. It really has a lot of possibilities and can be very exciting for kids who are only used to making art on a smaller scale.

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visual arts

Art Diary

9 day of Christmas

An art diary is to artists and designers, what a journal is to writers. An art diary provides a different platform for ideas than a journal though. The pages are designed to handle paint, watercolour, glue, all kinds of art materials and lots and lots of sketching. The unlined pages are a canvas for the sketches for art, inventions, designs and anything creative minds can imagine. Unless you are an experienced artist with specific paper needs for your work (yes, there are a lot of different papers for lots of different materials) you can easily pick up a colourful art diary from a major retail store. I like to have a large art diary for large project work and a smaller art diary for portable artmaking, like painting or drawing excursions (I’ll talk more about that soon). A little art diary would make a great stocking filler!



1 day of christmas


This first one might sound super simple but I’ve found it to be a great starting point for creative minds. A blank journal or notebook can be the beginning of so much great work. A poem, a story, a song, an invention, an artwork idea, the possibilities are endless. Creative minds can be messy and having somewhere safe to write things down can help organise and connect ideas. Sometimes having a lot of ideas at once and trying to remember them all can get a little overwhelming, so writing them down can sometimes free up a bit of that head space. Don’t think of it as a blank journal, think of it as a potential for a thousand ideas!


visual arts

12 Days of Creative Christmas Gift Ideas


Ever wondered what gifts you could give to inspire creativity? For 12 days I will open our creative gift ideas advent calendar. Beginning on the 1st of December, each day I will share ideas, as an art teacher, for things that I believe help to inspire creativity through art. Many of these things I believe to be essential for creating an environment in your home or classroom that encourages creativity. These are not the latest in creative toy suggestions, they are open-ended items that INSPIRE creativity.

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Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: 365 Days of Drawing

365 days of drawing

365 draw

365 drawing

Book Review: 365 Days of Drawing by Lorna Scobie

Gosh! Where do I start with this beautiful book! As an art teacher, if I could give anyone (and I will be giving 5 copies as Christmas gifts this year!) a book that will encourage their drawing skills through playful art journaling, it would have to be this book by Lorna Scobie!

When I read about the author’s love of animals, the countryside, climbing trees and illustrating the natural world around her from a young age, I was reminded of the story of how Beatrix Potter developed her artmaking from childhood by following an intrinsic motivation to respond to the world around her.

I love that this book not only gives us tutorials on art skills such as choosing colour palettes, shading objects to create dimension and scaling drawings but it also has tasks like visiting a museum and taking your drawing and painting tasks outside. Every now and then you are also asked to reflect on yourself as the artist with question tasks like “What inspires you” and “How have you overcome the challenge” of some of the tasks that may have been trickier than others. The book has a definite positive vibe and allows you to artistically reflect on your favourite people, seasons and memories.

Some tasks will teach and challenge your drawing/painting skills and others will let your imagination run free and relax through the comfort of pattern making. As an art teacher, I appreciate the references of some tasks, from a Matisse style collage to an Escher style spoon drawing. The book is also dotted with Scobie’s own inspiring watercolour illustrations to give you the courage to create.

Being someone who has kept my own art diaries from childhood, I feel like this is a beautiful way to document your own art skill development in a way that is easy to keep and look back on. Like a favourite novel, you can keep returning to this journal and then safely placing it back with your other treasured books.

As Sobie says in the introduction, this book inspires drawing and art activities through Imagination, Tutorials, Relaxation, Colour Theory and Observation. Each of the 365 activities focus on one of these areas. Everyone in my family now wants their own copy and so I’ve ordered more. From 8 to 108 this book can be enjoyed by all.

I did not get paid for this post, I just really loved this book and thought others may too. When I messaged the talented Lorna Scobie to ask if she would mind me posting a review of her book she kindly said I could and that she may share the review, so if you have visited from her page, welcome!

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.