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Art Kit Factory https://artkitfactory.com Art Kits for Curious People Thu, 24 Oct 2019 22:54:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://artkitfactory.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/cropped-logo-on-yellow-1-1-32x32.png Art Kit Factory https://artkitfactory.com 32 32 167581365 Doodling 101 https://artkitfactory.com/doodling-101/ https://artkitfactory.com/doodling-101/#respond Wed, 08 Aug 2018 18:05:08 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=814 Doodling 101

or 5 Reasons Doodling Should be Taught in School

In the last 10 years, doodling has become the coolest tool for idea generation and information processing in the new economy. Companies even hire professional visual note takers to document board meetings in real time – its called Graphic Recording. But the stigma of doodling as evidence of distraction still exists. I’ve heard plenty of recent stories about teachers who don’t like students to doodle in class because they think the students aren’t paying attention. But more and more studies show that is simply not true. Here are the five reasons doodling should be taught in the classroom:

1. Doodling helps you focus – scientific studies show doodling makes it easier to pay attention when you feel like your mind is wandering. Professor Jackie Andrade conducted a study that showed that participants who were instructed to doodle retained 29% more information than those who were instructed not to doodle.  

2. Doodling encourages creative thinking – when you draw its easier to make novel connections between two different ideas. By engaging your verbal processing center and your creative brain in tandem you have an opportunity to explore ideas in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Some  more of Mariah’s favorite doodles

3. Doodling helps you retain more information – by engaging multiple modes of learning, you are more likely to be able to process, retain and recall information. When you doodle while you listen you are engaging all three modes of learning – auditory (listening), visual (image processing) and kinesthetic (mark making).

4. Doodling helps relieve tension – because doodling is a kinesthetic process, doodling helps people who struggle to sit still stay calm and focused. When you find it hard to sit still and listen, being able to engage your hands in doing something other than tapping your pen on the table can make the difference between being able to listen to what is being said and getting in trouble for being disruptive.

5. Doodling reveals what you know and what you don’t know – when you doodle you have an opportunity to examine a concept from a new perspective. Using images to communicate concepts frees you from having to find the correct words. In turn, the exercise of doodling those concepts can help you find the right words to describe the concept. That new perspective also gives you the opportunity to consider what you don’t understand about the concept yet.

Giving students the tools they need to be able to doodle productively may sound like just another thing to include in the classroom schedule. But each subject already benefits from creative note taking; observations and record keeping in science, sentence diagramming in ELA, number grouping in math, cartooning in history (ok, I made that last one up, but it sounds like a good idea).

Frustrated Kate Doodle

The biggest obstacle for most students will be getting past the idea that they “can’t draw”. My answer… “can you hold that pencil?” We all learn to draw before we learn to write. Young children don’t worry at all about whether what they draw is “good.” That happens gradually, as they begin to compare themselves to the friends and grown ups around them. It is important to emphasize that it’s not the quality of the drawing the matters, it’s the act of drawing that matters. Letters, lines, circles boxes and arrows are all easy places to start – the rest is in there, waiting to be set free.

Mariah’s 4th Grade Doodle Notebook from Ms. Medina’s class


What Does Doodling Do?
The Power of Visual Note Taking https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2016/12/28/the-power-of-visual-notetaking.html
The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory
5 Ways Doodling Improves Learning and Creativity

Other Resources:

Picturing to Learn
Sunni Brown: Doodlers Unite! TED talk
All The Presidents Doodles
In Defense of the Visual Alphabet
Visual Thinking

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How Many Hearts Does It Take… https://artkitfactory.com/how-many-hearts-does-it-take/ https://artkitfactory.com/how-many-hearts-does-it-take/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:10:14 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=770 Esther Howland, the Mother of the American Valentine, brought the first affordable commercial valentines to the United States. Ester started her valentine card making business at 19 years old in 1847. In her first year, Ester sold $5,000 worth of valentines. That’s equivalent to almost $150,000 today! At the heart of Ester’s business empire was love – the love of her supportive family, the love and respect she showed for her all-woman, work-from-home staff who crafted the New England Valentine Company’s cards, the love and care that went into each hand crafted valentine, and the love felt each time one of those valentines was delivered. How many hearts were connected in this lovely business?

With that inspiration, we’ve got a challenge for you. How many hearts does it take to make a Valentine? A Valentine Cat, a Valentine Dog, A Valentine Bird? How many hearts? Test your doodle skill, and have some fun counting while you make some one of a kind Valentines this year!

A special thank you to my mom, Terri Nield for her adorable valentine art, her incredible creativity and her constant love, support and inspiration!

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Kandinsky https://artkitfactory.com/kandinsky/ https://artkitfactory.com/kandinsky/#respond Thu, 25 Jan 2018 06:42:03 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=762

” A painter, who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art. ” Vasily Kandinsky

Vasily Kandinsky’s Art Friends

Gabrielle Münter
1877 – 1962

Paul Klee: 1879-1940
Co founder of The Blue Rider Group

Walter Gropius: 1883 – 1969
Founder of the Bauhaus School in Weimar

Franz Marc: 1880 – 1916
Developed a theory of color symbolism that he used in his work. Famous for his stylized, meditative paintings with animals in nature as a central focus. Co-Founder of The Blue Rider Group.

Arnold Shoenberg: 1874 – 1951
Composer, Painter & Music Theorist

Solomon R. Guggenheim
Art collector and founder of the Guggenheim museum

Kandinsky’s Art Groups & Writings

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)

Concerning the Spiritual In Art

Point & Line to Plane


Kandinsky: Compositions
by Magdalena Dabrowski

The Noisy Paintbox
by Barb Rosenstock

The Art Story: Wassily Kandinsky


Seeing Sounds: Kandinsky + Schoenberg

Inventing Abstraction

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Marigolds, Hummingbirds & Dia de Muertos https://artkitfactory.com/marigolds-hummingbirds-dia-de-muertos/ https://artkitfactory.com/marigolds-hummingbirds-dia-de-muertos/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 22:51:33 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=733

La Calavera Catrina – José Guadalupe Posada

Feeling inspired by the Día de Muertos festivities in Los Angeles yesterday, I embarked on a little research project about art inspired by the Mexican holiday. In the process of reading about José Guadalupe Posada, Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, I read about The Legend of the Cempasuchil Flower  and the story of Xóchitl & Huitzilin and how the marigold came to be a symbol of true love and Dia de Muertos.

So I’ve added a new installment to our flower portrait coloring page series!

Download yours and start coloring.

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Skeletons & Balloons – A Super Simple Lettering Lesson https://artkitfactory.com/skeletons-balloons/ https://artkitfactory.com/skeletons-balloons/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 18:43:03 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=705

Remember the letters you learned to write first? They were made with just a line and they are called skeleton letters, the basic bones of lettering. If you can write those, it’s an easy next step to write letters that are not just a stick, but have thickness to them. You can make letters that are bolder, and even fill them in with a color or a design. If you make the outline line with rounded corners, they are called balloon (or bubble) letters.

First, write your stick or skeleton letter. (If you write this in pencil you can erase the skeleton after you make the balloon.) Then trace a line around the skeleton letter, leaving lots of space for a thicker letter, or less for a thinner one. If there is an open space in the letter (called a “counter”), you will need to draw a line inside that space, too. Now your skeleton letter is a balloon letter!

Not sure how to draw a Q? Or a W? We’ve got you covered. Check out our How to Draw Balloon Letters Video Playlist – one for each letter of the alphabet!

If you are writing a word and have more than one letter, drawing the line around the skeletons might make the balloons overlap each other. Draw the balloon line as far as you can, imagining that the second letter is behind and partly covered up by the first one. If you color in overlapping letters you can make the outline stronger or make the letters a different color to tell where one ends and another begins.

Have questions for us? We’re happy to help! Drop us a line at info@artkitfactory.com
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A California Native Celebration of Fall in Los Angeles https://artkitfactory.com/a-california-native-celebration-of-what-we-call-fall-in-los-angeles/ https://artkitfactory.com/a-california-native-celebration-of-what-we-call-fall-in-los-angeles/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 05:39:00 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=663 Fall is in the air in Los Angeles. No, we don’t really have “fall colors” or “sweater weather.” At least not yet – we get a little of that in February and March. Fall at our studio is a low of 57 degrees with a high of 75. Sometimes we get an occasional burst of heat that makes a beach day absolutely necessary. Occasionally we get a few minutes of barely a drizzle – then we talk about the rain for days. Ok, so our season changes are barely perceptible. But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel it. And certainly our native plants do. So to celebrate being a Los Angeles Native, and inspired by the fact that I’m currently fascinated by native plants and their traditional uses, I’m starting a California Native Botanical Coloring Page series! For the first installment I’m starting with one of our native staples for fall color,  the Big Leaf Maple or Acer Macrophyllum.

Download the Big Leaf Maple Coloring Page

Want to get the same pencils we used? We can help! We’ve got them on sale in our store right now.

… A little more about the BIG LEAF MAPLE

The Big Leaf Maple is native from Alaska to Southerns California. The name Macrophyllum literally translates to Large Leaf (marco=large, phyllum=leaf). Its leaves can be up to 12 inches across – the largest of any Maple! A mature Acer Macrophyllum can reach 100 ft tall and 50 ft wide. These trees provide a vital habitat for lichen, moss, ferns and birds.

Native Americans carved paddles from this tree, wove ropes from the fibrous bark and make a sweet syrup from the sap. They even ate the flowers and seeds and made tea from the leaves!

Nature is an amazing muse. Take some time to explore the natives growing around you and join us in celebrating the changing seasons.

For more information about the Big Leaf Maple, check out these sites:

Big-Leaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum


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Get in touch with your inner Grandma https://artkitfactory.com/get-in-touch-with-your-inner-grandma/ https://artkitfactory.com/get-in-touch-with-your-inner-grandma/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:16:56 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=619 Welcome, everyone. We’re kicking off a new feature at the Factory – “The Artist of The Month.” Each month we’ll feature an artist, give you a brief rundown of their life and career, then follow up with an art project based on said artist. It’s your own personal art history class, without the grades. Have a suggestion for an artist we should feature? Let us know. Want more art projects based on that artist, Let us know that too. Explore and have fun. One of the best things about art is that there are no wrong answers. (Can you tell I did poorly in high school?) What we’re all about: helping you discover and hone your style.

Grandma Moses Stamp 1969

By Bureau of Engraving and Printing [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Grandma Moses

Artist of the Month (September)

A Brief History:

No, her first name was not Grandma (though it would be funny. It would be better than Brooklyn, I know that much.) Anna Mary Robertson Moses was born on September 7, 1860, in Greenwich, New York. She went to work at 12 years old as a maid/cleaner/caretaker for a wealthy family. At 27, She married Thomas Moses, after which they moved to a farm in upstate New York. She had ten children, but sadly only five survived past infancy. When her husband died in 1927, she continued to run the family farm with the help of her son. She loved to do embroidery, but at 76, her arthritis prevented her from continuing. Her sister suggested she take up painting. Thank goodness for that. Her paintings initially sold at the local drugstore for $3, until a New York art dealer discovered her work and promptly set up a showing of Grandma Moses’ work at a prominent gallery. Now her paintings can fetch upwards of a million bucks. Not too shabby.

She painted over 1,000 paintings in the course of her career. She died in 1961 at the age of 101.

Her approach: “I paint from the top down. First the sky, then the mountains, then the hills, then the trees, then the houses, then the cattle, and then the people.”

Grandma Moses - Sugaring off (1945)

Grandma Moses – Sugaring off (1945)

Why I like it:

As a forty (mumble-mumble) year old who still hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with his life, I love anyone who starts a new career at 76 and finds fulfillment and success therein.

To me, Moses’ paintings are Incredibly accessible. I don’t mean to say they’re simple or childlike. They possess an ephemeral quality very similar to Monet. Her work is incredibly evocative of the season in which it occurs, activating all the senses. You can smell the hot cider in the winter scenes, feel the soft flannel against your skin, and hear the fallen leaves crunching under your feet. There is a wonderful grace and sense of movement in her work that, combined with her color palette, creates a feeling of calm in the viewer. Check it out for yourself and see what it evokes within you:

Grandma Moses - Summer Party

Grandma Moses – Summer Party

Grandma Moses - Checkered House

Grandma Moses – Checkered House

Inspired to create your own? Check out the art lesson: Show Us Your Grandma Moses

Need some supplies to get you started? The Doodley Doo Kit is just what you need!

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Show us your Grandma Moses https://artkitfactory.com/show-us-your-grandma-moses/ https://artkitfactory.com/show-us-your-grandma-moses/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:16:31 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=636

Let’s have some fun.  First I started off with a basic landscape complete with almost all the Grandma Moses stand bys: Sky, mountains, hills, houses and farms, trees.  NOTE:  Don’t make the mistake I did and do this step in pen, as it’s very hard to draw over when you’re using watercolors or colored pencils like I was).

Include a lane or two, maybe a stream or lake.  Lightly sketch in a few buildings.

Now it’s decision time:  think about what season you’d like to capture.  Got it?  Great.  One more thing:  think about the time of day.  For me I chose early Spring and pre-dawn when the skies are just beginning to lighten.

Keep in mind the following quote from Grandma Moses herself:  

“I paint from the top down. From the sky, then the mountains, then the hills then the houses, then the cattle, then the people.”  

So whatever materials you use, you might want to follow that order in the creation of your artwork.  Or not.  Want to use cut out brown construction paper instead of drawing a tree?  Go for it.  Want to glue cotton balls instead of painting clouds?  Fantastic.  Want to limit yourself to only those supplies found in your Art Kit?  Stop making me love you.  Just don’t forget to share your results with #artkitfactory on any and all social media.  Here’s my version:

I liked my results, but I want to try this with either acrylic or oils.  I feel like I didn’t fill the page with color like our beloved GM.  Maybe some pastels with a blending stick.  Who knows.  Okay, you know the deal.  I showed you mine.  Now you show me yours.

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Portraits, Pointillism & Pens: A Mini How To https://artkitfactory.com/portraits-pointillism-pens-a-mini-how-to/ https://artkitfactory.com/portraits-pointillism-pens-a-mini-how-to/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 05:54:35 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=552

Pointillism was developed in the 1880s by a branch of Impressionist artists including George Seurat and Paul Signac. But the term Pointillism wasn’t popularized until art critics used it to ridicule the works of these now famous artists. Pointillism’s connection to Impressionism is unmistakable. Scientifically, these artists were interested in how we perceived light and color. However unlike the Impressionists who were interested in “capturing a moment in time”, Pointillists were more focused on how our eye blends fields of color dots into one continuous color and how that technique lends itself to giving the impression of more light in the work.You can see a distinct pointillist technique in Vincent Van Gogh’s self portrait completed in 1887:

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Self-portrait, Spring 1887, Vincent van Gogh

He was clearly very proud of his beard! And those eyes! (In this portrait he still had both ears, I checked. )

Traditionally speaking, Pointillists used oil paint, however you can use just about any medium to achieve the same result – crayon, pencil, marker… even cut paper would work! In the interest of simplicity, we decided to use our collection of pens and markers.  The primary requirement is that you use small marks (dots or lines) to create the effects of color, line and shadow.

We started by deciding NOT to do self portraits like Van Gogh did, but instead to create cartoon faces. We enjoyed making up stories for each of our characters. Then using some basic face proportioning techniques and a pencil we created a light sketch for our characters. Because we were unconcerned with creating anything resembling a real person’s face, we were able to focus on playing with the texture the dots made and how we could create new colors by combining dots.

We had the red carpet starlet:

with pouty, red lips:

The gymnast (inspired by a friend from gymnastics):

with dramatic eyes:

And the investigative journalist

with multicolored eyes and interesting hair

You can spend a little time creating a basic impression of the shadow, line, shape, and color, or you can spend hours and hours filling your page/canvas with tiny dots to create a Pointillist Masterpiece! It is entirely up to you.

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Ogden Genessee Alley Street Art Gallery https://artkitfactory.com/ogden-genessee-alley-street-art-gallery/ https://artkitfactory.com/ogden-genessee-alley-street-art-gallery/#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:48:39 +0000 http://artkitfactory.blog/?p=343 Melrose Avenue between Fairfax and La Brea is a legendary place for finding street art. You can find the hottest selfie spots by looking for the throngs of people gathered dangerously at corners trusting that no one will run them over as they position themselves strategically in the middle of the street to get that perfect shot. But less well-traveled are the alleyways just off Melrose. An ever-evolving collection of clever, thoughtful, sarcastic, trippy, subversive art just waiting to be appreciated. Here’s a small collection art snippets to wet your creative whistle, and a reminder that art can transform the most unlikely places with its magic.

Don’t Take my word for it. Visit yourself!

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