Get a Library Card Online

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The days are getting looooong. To keep my brain active (and help pass the time) I’ve been using the Chicago Public Library. They have a ton of online resources. Interested? I knew you would be.

First, you need to get a library card. You can do that here. Next, check out their Kids section – it has science projects, ebooks, audiobooks, and videos, plus homework help. Or you can be like me and listen to a 17-hour audiobook on Leonardo Da Vinci; it’s a pretty intense biography.

Stay safe, we’ll get through this. I promise. ✊

Link: Get a Library Card Online (Chicago Public Library)

Drawing Lines, Shapes, Houses, and Castles 🏘️🏰

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This week’s lesson is still about shapes. Students in primary grades (K-2) will begin adding lines to their shapes. I wonder what you can draw using only line and shape?

Students in third- through fifth-grade will practice drawing forms by drawing their own castles. Middle-school students will be (re-)introduced to shape forms and one-point perspective. They’ll then draw a house using linear perspective. It’s going to be a busy week.

Stay safe, avoid crowds, and have fun!

Link: Draw with Lines & Shapes Lesson: Kindergarten – 2nd-Grade
Link: Draw a Castle 🏰 Lesson: 3rd – 5th-Grade
Link: Draw a House 🏠 Lesson: 6th – 8th-Grade

Note: the access codes to Google Classroom for each grade band are listed to the right (in the sidebar).

Stay Home. Hit Play.

Stay Home, Hit Play

It feels like 100 years since I’ve last visited a museum. Seriously, how many reruns of The Office can I watch? Fortunately, there’s a small reprieve. The City of Chicago has launched their Stay Home. Click Play. site. Each week, Lori Lightfoot takes us all on a virtual field trip. The first week we took a look inside the Shedd Aquarium, then it was the Field Museum. Other places on the list include: the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Museum of Mexican Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and Lincoln Park Zoo.

Wash your hands. Avoid crowds. We’ll get through this soon. Right? 🀞🏼

Link: Stay Home. Hit Play.

Tate Kids: Street Art

Tate Kids: Street Art Banner

The Tate Museum (located in the United Kingdom) is a great resource to learn about art. I recommend you check out their Tate Kids section, where you can learn to make stuff, explore art and artists, and watch videos (including this one about Henri Matisse). You can also play games.

One of those games is their Street Art game. Using brushes, spray cans, stamps, and stickers – you can create a graffiti wall without leaving your chair. That’s a win-win-win situation.

When you’re done, click around the site. You might learn something 😹

Link: Tate Kids: Street Art
Link: Tate Kids

Drawing Shapes (and Forms)!

Shape and Forms Lesson Banner

This week’s topic is “Drawing Shapes (and Forms)”. After reviewing basic shapes, students in primary grades (K-2) will create a Google Drawing. Students in the elementary grades (3-5) will explore the circle and the square; the two shapes sound simple, but like chess, they take a lifetime to master.

Finally, middle-schoolers will be transforming 2D shapes into 3D shapes. Then (for my own amusement), students will add value to their drawings.

Wash your hands and have fun!

Link: Drawing Shapes! Lesson: Kindergarten – 2nd-Grade
Link: Drawing Shapes!Β Lesson: 3rd – 5th-Grade
Link: Drawing Shapes & Forms!Β Lesson: 6th – 8th-Grade

Note: the access codes to Google Classroom for each grade band are listed to the right (in the sidebar).

Pop Bottle Boats

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In conjunction with Ray’s local art museum, the Smart Museum of Art, artist Erik L. Peterson made a boat out of recycled materials. Using some basic art supplies, a twig, and envelope, and three plastic bottles, you can make a boat too. Maybe you could even give it a name? Who knows – it might be your new best friend in this era of social distancing. Watch the video and make a new friend β›΅

This boat was inspired by the material explorations in the exhibition The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. There’s also a pair of curious coloring sheets you can download.

Link: Family Day: Pop Bottle Boats (Vimeo)
Link: The Allure of Matter Coloring Sheet: Chen Zhen
Link: The Allure of Matter Coloring Sheet: Gu Wenda

Introducing Christoph Niemann

Abstract: Christopher NiemannAs an experiment, illustrator Christoph Niemann would spend his Sundays with an everyday object and a sheet of paper. Using his imagination and some basic art supplies, pennies became ice cream scoops. Scissors became legs. A sock became a dinosaur. You get the idea. Take a look at the gallery; visual puns are always fun.


Luckily for us, there’s a short documentary on his work called “Abstract: The Art of Design | Christoph Niemann: Illustration“. While the title may be clumsy in it’s use of orthographic punctuation, the video provides a fun look at the inner-thoughts and struggles of a working artist. An arts career isn’t always fancy shirts and champagne galas; there’s hard work involved too. If you think a career in the arts could be in your future, I recommend you take a look at it.


Link: Abstract: The Art of Design | Christoph Niemann: Illustration

Artists ❀ Lines

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This week’s topic is “Artists ❀ Lines”. We’ll discuss lines, what kinds of lines there are, what kind of lines can we see in a famous drawings by Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, or MC Escher. We’ll also practice drawing a picture using lines.

Sounds exciting, right? Review the materials on Google Classroom, watch a video (or two) and try your hand at the drawing assignment. Have fun!

Link: Artists ❀ Lines Lesson: Kindergarten – 2nd-Grade
Link: Artists ❀ Lines Lesson: 3rd – 5th-Grade
Link: Artists ❀ Lines Lesson: 6th – 8th-Grade

Note: the access codes to Google Classroom for each grade band are listed to the right (in the sidebar).

#DrawTogether w/ WendyMac

Draw Together with Wendy MacNaughton

Every weekday at noon, bestselling illustrator and graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton is offering free, daily drawing classes on Instagram Live. It’s a good distraction and sometimes drawing is fun. I recommend it. Here’s a link on how to access it.

Don’t have an Instagram account? No problem. A YouTube channel has been created as well. There’s (currently) more than twenty lessons available. Draw away!

Link: #DrawTogether w/ WendyMac (Instagram)
Link: #DrawTogether w/ WendyMac (YouTube)

While we’re at it, here’s a small sample of her work. Enjoy, my young drawers…