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!


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.

English · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Dear Adult, I’m Learning

I'm learning

Dear adult, please don’t judge all my artmaking based on the finished product. 

When you see my collapsing cardboard sculpture, I’m learning about gravity and engineering. 

When you see my scribbled mess, I’m developing my fine motor skills. 

When you see my clay creations, I’m learning about 3D shapes and spacial awareness. 

When you see my almost totally brown painting, I’m learning to mix colours and how they all eventually mix to make brown. 

When you see me upset about my sandcastle being washed away, I’m learning that not every artwork I make can be permanent.

When you see me building with blocks, I’m learning to turn a mess of items into something I recognise. 

When you see me frustrated about my creation, I’m learning that failure is part of the creative process.

When you see me creating, my brain is engaged in a neurological workout. 

Drama · English · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Recipe for a Story

recipe for a story

Book Review: Recipe for a Story, written and illustrated by Ella Burfoot

Ella Burfoot has been writing and illustrating since she was a child. That alone, should be an inspiration to many children who fill blank notebooks with lots of imaginative stories and illustrations. I am a parent to a child who does exactly this and being able to show them an example of a writer/illustrator who has published their work is wonderful.

Not only is the author a creative inspiration but so is this book. It is a fun story about how to write a story! Children can go through each page and think about whether they have included all the ingredients in their own writing to create a story.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Read the book again and write a list of the ingredients for a story.
  • Write a story that includes those ingredients.
  • Illustrate the story!

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

English · PDHPE · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: The Book of Mistakes

book of mistakes

Book Review: The Book of Mistakes, written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken

Goodness, this book is a gorgeous gathering of images and messages all bundled up into one wonderful book.

Artist Corinna Luyken has shared her vulnerable artmaking approach in this whimsical story about how sometimes the mistakes we make (in art or life) can be the inspiration for something even better. This book won me over with it’s celebration of genuine creativity and it’s clever incorporation of the artmaking process into the story. The drawings are full of personality and character and as the story evolves we get to see how those characters and mistakes fit into the big picture.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Have a chat about how sometimes our mistakes can be really frustrating but maybe we could look at them as inspiration instead. Mistakes are part of the artmaking process and the more we accept that, the more we will learn about art.
  • Draw a character, but as you make mistakes, turn those mistakes into unique characteristics for your drawing.
  • In pairs, draw 4-5 lines and/or shapes on a piece of paper. Swap the paper with the other person and try to turn the lines and shapes into a picture.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.


Book Review: The Museum

the museum

Book Review: The Museum by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

When we were searching for books illustrated by one of our favourite illustrator/authors Peter H. Reynolds, (other books by him may be found in our library) we came across this wonderful book about art museums and artists, written by Susan Verde.

The book takes us on a journey of an art museum through the eyes of a creative, young girl. She enthusiastically describes her reaction to artworks by well-known artists like Degas, Van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Cezanne and Munch. She breaks down the stereotype of museums being quiet, boring places and gives children permission to react to art and enjoy the experience of emotions it brings with it. She also has a chance to create her own artwork as a response to all the inspiration she has gained from viewing the works in the museum.

Most art galleries have an artmaking space for children to create art as a direct response to the works that are on display at the time.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Visit an art gallery! Do a search of the area you are in and see what exhibitions are on and when they have their making spaces open. Follow up your tour of the art by making some art!
  • Students can choose their favourite artwork from the book and research to find out more about that artist and their artworks.
  • Visit Susan Verde’s website where there are some fantastic downloadable resources for educators and students.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

English · Geography · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Australia Illustrated


Book Review: Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an Australian artist who has illustrated many books. Her journey also includes a lot of other creative ventures including her experience as an editor and publisher as well as encouraging others to draw and illustrate. Anyone who helps promote creativity in Australia gets a big thumbs up from us!

Australia Illustrated is a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to bringing the character of Australia to life through McCartney’s whimsy, watercolour images and digital art. Each section of this vast and varied country is explored, from the iconic places we know and love to the quirkier details that make us want to explore it more. From major cities to iconic foods, animals to historic details, Australia Illustrated is a visual feast of learning.

This book is a perfect way to introduce kids to the geography and diversity of this big land. The illustrations are an ideal way to communicate all of the amazing details and both kids and adults will be inspired. It would also be the perfect companion to anyone who is exploring Australia or planning a trip!

Tania McCartney’s website has links to teaching notes that explain all of the ways her book relates to different subject areas. It has quite a few ideas for activities in those different subject areas too.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • On a map of Australia, plan a trip based on the things from the book you would like to visit.
  • Draw some of your own illustrations of things you think are important for people to know about Australia or another country that is significant to you.
  • Using the illustrations you have drawn from the previous task, create a poster/brochure for your chosen country.
  • Give watercolour painting a go!

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.