Backyard ART Camp :: kid art project books to inspire! {and a book giveaway}

next monday Jane launches in her awesome artist-inspired project but before that we both wanted to share some of our most inspiring books! jane is sharing picture books to inspire art  and I’m sharing project books!  (we are quite the duo, no?)

these are my favorite art project books, the ones I peruse on rainy days when the boys are running wild in the house or come to me with ‘I’m bored’.  we’ve done projects from each one of these books but some of them are better for younger or older kids so I’ve arranged them somewhat in age order.

backyard art camp: art books for kids

art treasury by rosie dickins a great book for starter art projects! one of our absolute favorites! each project discusses an artist and provide a simple projects spanning printmaking to drawing with chalk pastels.  the projects are accessible for lots of different ages but are definitely accessible for young kids.  i’ve gushed about this book before and we have done many of its projects.

the artful parent by the beautiful jean van’t hul is a recent addition to our library of books.  this book is not only full of great projects but also includes gentle, thoughtful ideas about encouraging creativity in general.  her tips on how to encourage creative, inspired activity are like wonderful reminders to honor and enjoy your kids.  sometimes we open this book and don’t follow a project to the letter but instead end up going in a completely different but wonderful direction.

side by side by tsia carson operates in a similar spirit. this book was the inspiration for the creation of a family art room in our house.  I love tsia’s projects! and I really appreciate her philosophy that art can be done side by side with our kids…I love making things alongside my kids!  the book includes loads of great projects.  some of them involve unusual supplies or a good deal of set up but it is well worth it.

art books for older kids

d.i.y. kids by ellen and julia lupton is for a slightly older kid…some projects assume mastery of a computer and are a little more complicated.  but, the projects are super inventive and super kid-friendly.  things like decorating a hoodie, making your own stickers and book design.  all the images in the books are kid-made and I think that would be very encouraging for art-interested older kids!

art lab for kids by susan schwake includes 52 different projects spanning all mediums from printmaking to mixed media.  each project are highlight an artist that works in that style. many of the projects are more appropriate for the older child, mostly because of the patience and attention required. I like the way this book is laid out and I love lots of the projects.  of all the books we have, however, this is the book most ‘serious’ and very geared toward teaching technique.  reminds me more of art training than crazy kid activities.  sometimes that is what you want!  my kids haven’t gotten there yet but if  a kid is really into learning art, this would be a great book!

now for the extra icing on the cake!  the book giveaway!  jane and I are thrilled to say that Potter Craft has offered a copy of  Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts For Kids for one lucky winner!  this book looks chock-full of projects, I will be terribly jealous of whomever wins the giveaway!

crafts for kids

to enter to win simply leave a comment either, here, on this post or on jane’s picture book post telling us “who is your favorite artist and what is your fave piece of theirs?” 

you can also earn two bonus entries for subscribing to A Happy Stitch and Buzzmills (via Bloglovn’, Feedly, etc)  or liking us on Facebook ( a Happy Stitch and Buzzmills)!

the giveaway will be open from now until midnight EST 7/23.  jane and I will tally together and combine our comments and choose a winner randomly.  we will announce the winner in our BAC post next Wednesday, July 24!

enjoy these books.  we are really looking forward to reading your comments!

and don’t forget to join the flickr group and check out the newly formed Pinterest board to follow all things backyard art camp!  we are so eager to see the projects happening in other backyards!

check back for the rest of backyard art camp! we can’t wait!


34 Comments on Backyard ART Camp :: kid art project books to inspire! {and a book giveaway}

  1. Rebecca Hersh
    July 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm (5 years ago)

    My favorite artist is Edward Hopper and I love all his streetscapes and paintings of people in scenes, but my two favorite paintings of his are probably Early Sunday Morning and Nighthawks. I love the way his art inspires storytelling. You always want to know what’s happening inside those buildings, or inside the heads of those lonely people. There’s so much mystery and possibility and sadness on the canvas. Just like life. It’s genius the way he can inspire such deep and complex stories like that, with just a snapshot.

    • ahappystitch
      July 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm (5 years ago)

      That is so true Rebecca! Lovely response.

  2. Drea Clark
    July 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm (5 years ago)

    It is really hard to choose a favorite (in this field or any other) because I love so many things… but I am a huge fan of Mark Ryden. Not just because he’s a local LA painter, but because his work is so distinctive and beautiful, creepy but inspiring. Every piece makes me want to think of an elaborate backstory for all the characters, but “Allegory of the Four Elements” is one I would loooooooove to have hanging in my home.

  3. Kiva Liljequist
    July 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm (5 years ago)

    I tend to love the art I find in books, and one of my all-time faves is the art of Maurice Sendak. Don’t know if this “counts” for what you’re asking for here, but I’ll post it nonetheless! Today, in thinking about this question, I find myself loving the art from “Outside Over There”. On the fist page, where Ida and her mama and baby sister watch papa’s ship head off to sea, and the ship is also being watched by cloaked, faceless goblins, you know nothing good will come of this. It’s such a great, moody image.

  4. Leticia Cataldi
    July 17, 2013 at 4:43 pm (5 years ago)

    This is one tough question. It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite one. There are just so many artists that I love. I feel bad choosing a favorite. An artist that I have always loved and as a kid thought his art was made for kids (and that’s why I’m choosing him) is Miró. I love the colors and shapes and playful feel of his work.

  5. Leticia Cataldi
    July 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm (5 years ago)

    “Cat encircled by the flight of a bird” is one of my favorites and would make amazing fabric. My mother bought a beautiful scarf with this print when we went to the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona.

  6. Kristen
    July 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm (5 years ago)

    We spend a lot of time scrapbooking and paper crafting.
    I love to paint- and think my littlest might be ready to join in the fun. It’s been hard to craft with a 2 yo in the house 🙁

  7. Heather
    July 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm (5 years ago)

    Traditional artist? My favorite is probably Georgia O’Keefe – she has one with a ladder to the sky that I love (I know, unusual that it is not a flower). I also love children’s book “artists” – loads of them!

  8. Marianne Erena
    July 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm (5 years ago)

    Degas! Hands down. And while I am an 8 year old who just wants to be a ballerina, favorite is The Laundress. A rare full fave portrait I just find engaging and gorgeous. There is also The Interior which parenthetically title Rape Scene. It’s beautiful, haunting heartbreak.

  9. Kristen
    July 17, 2013 at 10:32 pm (5 years ago)

    Hahah! Back again. Favorite work of art? At this point in time I’d say Degas and really any of his series of ballerinas. Have a daughter who dances, I have such a sweet spot <3

  10. Serena
    July 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm (5 years ago)

    My favorite artist has newly become Vincent VanGogh. I was never a huge fan of the impressionists, but this year my daughter (newly 6 years old) took part in an art club at her school and was captivated by his work. She came home so eager to tell me about it. Then we took a trip to Paris in May and she saw a flier in our hotel for the Van Gogh exhibit at the Orsay Museum. She begged us to take her to see it. We scrapped our plans for the afternoon and spent about 30 minutes drinking in the lovely gallery with his works. My new favorite painting is his Starry Night on display at the Orsay, because I watched my daughter’s eyes light up and heard the hushed awe in her voice as she described to me the way he used circles to paint the night sky.

  11. Daniela D
    July 18, 2013 at 8:37 am (5 years ago)

    One of my favorite artists is Claude Monet. His Water Lilies triptych and single panel mural are what are inspiring me right now. I always discover something new when I see these works, maybe a new color or layer, a new texture or pattern. He nurtured the paintings the way he nurtured the gardens that inspired his art.

    Those tremendous works always remind me to slow down. I think that was his intention…to slow us down, to be inspired, to appreciate and to discover something new.

  12. Jessica Ware
    July 18, 2013 at 9:18 am (5 years ago)

    My favorite artist is Syrus Ware, my twin! I love the bright, bold colors that Syrus uses to make strong statement pieces about the black diaspora. My favorite piece is one that they did of their daughter, Amelie, but there are other amazing ones that tie for second: “watch out for black mail”, “antenette”, “violets”, “watermelon woman” and wait, I forgot about the awesome portrait Syrus did of the two of us, which is my number one fave!!

  13. Jen Voorhees
    July 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm (5 years ago)

    Can I chose an architect/interior designer? They count, right? If so, Frank Lloyd Wright is my absolute favorite. His work is a constant inspiration in my life. It’s impossible to choose a favorite piece, but for the sake of this contest, I’ll go with Fallingwater.

  14. Kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS
    July 19, 2013 at 8:58 am (5 years ago)

    My daughters are my favorite! They’re still is always changing and their imagination is wild!

  15. Life with Kaishon
    July 19, 2013 at 10:12 am (5 years ago)

    Oh my! This is such a difficult question. My favorite artist would probably be Henri Cartier-Bresson because I love how he captured the world around him in an artful way! : ) Thanks for having such a fun giveaway. Hope your Summer is fantastic.

  16. Xandra O'Neill (@WombtoWorld)
    July 19, 2013 at 10:30 am (5 years ago)

    I love M.C. Escher. Years ago I went to Spain and fell in love with El Greco too. I’m not sure what it was but his work really struck me and I got to see a small church that he painted which was pretty incredible!

  17. Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife}
    July 19, 2013 at 11:42 am (5 years ago)

    I can’t say I have a favorite artist – I guess I’m not very cultured, lol, but I love the idea of a Backyard Art Camp! I pinned this post to my Books board!

  18. Lauryn
    July 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm (5 years ago)

    I have to say my favorite famous artist is Georgia O’Keefe but my favorite all around artist is my daughter. Things that she comes up with and creates amaze me. I love this idea and can’t wait to check out the posts!

  19. Patricia Burns
    July 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm (5 years ago)

    It’s hard to choose a favorite – from the delicate work of Japanese prints to the beautiful flowing work of Helen Frankenthaler to the color fields of Mark Rothko – flowing connected colors bringing peacefulness and internal energy to the viewer. Frankenthaler and Rothko would be fun to try in art camp. Love to see what a creative young artist would do with these.

  20. Janeane Davis
    July 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm (5 years ago)

    One of my favorite artists is Faith Ringgold. I like the way she tells stories in quilts.

  21. Gigi
    July 20, 2013 at 3:31 am (5 years ago)

    My favorite artist has to be Henri Matisse. Especially his latter works. The bold color and curved lines make me happy. I love the way he expresses his art through paper cutouts when he was ill, it shows how art flows through his heart and mind, his whole being all through his life.

  22. Sarah
    July 20, 2013 at 9:42 am (5 years ago)

    Well, can’t pick a favorite, but I love Charlie Harper, and my favorite piece of his is a poster I found in Costa Rica for Monteverde’s conservation center…. It has hung in every home I’ve had for 12 years.

  23. Kelsey
    July 20, 2013 at 10:36 am (5 years ago)

    My favorite artist is Turner, and my favorite painting of his is Rain, Steam, and Speed. I have definitely spent long afternoons, sitting in front of his works at the Institute of Art in Chicago.

  24. Julie
    July 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm (5 years ago)

    I have to say my sister – Laurie! She inspires me!

  25. Julie
    July 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm (5 years ago)

    I love the lines and wide openness of Hopper, the mosaic-y chaos of Klimt, and the light and beauty of Degas. In other news: You are such a good, crafty mama. My girls would like to do a mama swap as you seem to understand that a good project entails more than markers…


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  1. […] have you entered the giveaway? go for it! the odds are pretty good right […]

  2. […] hope everyone is feeling super inspired by the picture books, art projects books and our found art project because Jane from Buzzmills has a fantastic project planned for […]

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