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Tony DiTerlizzi and Encouraging Young Artists

Posted by Patience on October 6, 2009 at 8:10 AM in Encouraging Young Artists
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I believe there is an artist in all of us, some very tiny and others huge. Many times we just can't figure out what our medium is. Childhood is perfect time to cultivate and explore this part of each human.Tony DiTerlizzi, illustrator and the co-author of The Spiderwick Chronicles took some time to talk to me about his own path to becoming an artist and best selling author.

His words about what role the adults in his life played in his journey really stuck with me as I have a little boy at home drawing monsters and aliens. So this weekend found us all around a table just drawing together. Jack picked up Ed Emberley's Halloween Book at the school library. We took turns drawing skeletons and scary stuff while Lucy drew self-portraits.

Here are some ideas if you are encouraging young artists in your house:

1. Use the real stuff. Wander the aisles in a real art store. They usually have a kid version of a little bit higher quality materials which are often times easier to work with and produce a different kind of art. It is more expensive but you don't have to buy a lot. It makes art feel special too.
If this feels like a stretch for your finances, delve into the world of creating recyled art, it's endless and great for the earth.

2. Practice, practice, practice. Have art materials everywhere. Keep journals and pencils/pastels in a kit for the car or your purse. Tiny balls of wax or clay in a take along bag or even a travel watercolor kit. Art can be done anywhere and at times when you need little hands to be busy.
Turn off the televsion, throw on some music, and leave materials on a table. Don't say a word. Let kids find and create on their own.

3. Have your own art show. Collect the pieces of work your child has created and hold your own art show. Send out invitations, create a gallery feel in your house displaying their art. Serve lemonade and cookies. Invite adults and children to share in the work and artist your child is.

4. Claim the artist. Refer to your child as an artist. Ask questions about why and how they create what they do. Help create space and environments in which they can work. You don't have to evaluate their art, try encouraging their effort and intent. Like everything else in childhood, it is about process and is always better when it is a form of play.

What other ways do you encourage the artist in your house? Tell us in the comments.

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