Lately, I have found so much inspiration from my artsy friends on Instagram. Out of all social media platforms, I love IG the most because it’s just so easy. I love curating my own photos so that they look like a magazine spread (I obsess over color schemes just a little too much according to my sixteen-year-old daughter), and I love being able to click over to a friend’s feed and quickly scroll through to see what they are up to and get some good ideas. (I will share a list of some of my fave Instagram feeds at the end of this post. I’ll include some good hashtags, too, which is another great way to get ideas.)
The idea for this drawing tree came from a photo I saw on my friend Rachelle’s Tinkerlab Instagram feed. Rachelle is the queen of creative invitations and rolls to the beat of collaboration and community. She has this wonderful studio in San Fransisco where she invites families to come and make stuff on the weekends. And she’s always thinking of ways to incorporate public art into her neighborhood. (She also has a wonderful blog and an incredible book that I love.)
The photo that caught my attention was one where Rachelle and her two daughters set up a clothesline and a drawing provocation in the middle of a busy public path. You’ll have to click over to see what her drawing prompt was, it’s so cute. Her photo led me to setting up this drawing tree for art camp. It was a huge hit, as you can imagine. Thank you, Rachelle!
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~ Index cards, or cut paper into small rectangles
~ Some string to tie onto the index cards
~ Handwritten or printed drawing prompts
~ Two small containers, one for the notecards and one for the prompts
~ Yarn or string to wrap around a big tree
~ First, I wrote some words on little pieces of paper. I chose simple words that the girls could read easily. The older ones helped the younger ones. One of the biggest areas of struggle that I see in my students is what to draw. They often will sit down and not know where to begin. One word is all they need to help their imagination kick in. These words could easily be brought along in a baggie and used at a restaurant, in a waiting room, or on a car trip. They don’t have to be part of a drawing tree. Any time a child can draw from their imagination is an exercise in gaining creative confidence!
~ Next, I cut some cards (or use index cards), punched holes in the top, tied a piece of string on them, and put them in a basket.
~ Then I gathered the words, the cards, and some markers and put them out on the picnic table.
~ Lastly, I wrapped a string around the tree. I was able to wedge the beginning and end into bark pieces so I didn’t have to use any fasteners.
The children immediately had ideas and began to draw. As they finished, they ran to the tree and tied their card onto the yarn.
As the tree filled up, they became even more excited and energized as a group. At one point, my ten-year-old son came home and saw what we were doing. He wanted to participate, too. He read the word “bubble” and immediately went inside to get the dot markers. When he came back out with them, all of the girls couldn’t believe that he brought out a new material. And…could they do that? Of course! So they all ran inside to get more drawing materials and stickers. I think the drawing tree would have lasted longer than it did (over an hour) if the moms hadn’t come to pick them up. Time flies when you are in the creative flow!
VARIATION for TODDLERS: To make this toddler-friendly, create prompts that are more about feelings, textures, colors (curvy, fuzzy, bumpy, warm, yellow, etc.) than names of objects. This way, the children will feel more comfortable because it will be much more process-art than “drawing”.
As promised, here is a list of some of my favorite Instagram accounts for creative inspiration:
@Tinkerlab // @BabbleDabbleDo // @JeanVantHul (Artful Parent) // @PurpleTwig // @SmallHandsBigArt // @WeeWarhols // @KimBeeHive (Bee Hive Art Studio) // @HatchArtStudio // @LittleLoftStudios // @SidebySideStudio // @PipDotArt // @Handmakery // @ArtPantry // @JuliaLinsteadt (Cut Outs Studio) // @CollageCollage
And some great hashtags to look at for ideas:
#ProcessArt // #CreativeTable // #InvitationtoCreate // #CardboardCrafts // #CreativeKids // #RockinArtMoms // #KidBloggersofIG
Oh, I almost forgot my own Instagram feed @ArtBarBlog, and my three hashtags: #ArtBarClass // #ArtBarCamp // #MadeWithStuffIHave
Let me know if you think of more drawing prompt words, I’d love to make a list and post it here eventually!
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