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Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists (Lab Series) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Schwake , Rainer Schwake
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Susan Schwake's Art Lab for Kids is a well-thought-out guide, making it easy to introduce art into children's lives. Simple, clear explanations of technique, combined with inspiration from established artists, will enable children to feel successful and encouraged to explore art as a form of expression." - Rebecca Emberley, best-selling children's book author and illustrator

"Art Lab for Kids encourages all ages to be fearless in seeking and nurturing their creativity. With lessons, inspiration, and advice, Susan Schwake gives you the tools to find and explore your artistic side." - Kathreen Ricketson

A refreshing source of ideas for creating fine art with children, Art Lab for Kids encourages the artist’s own voice, marks, and style. This fun and creative book features 52 fine art projects set into weekly lessons, beginning with drawing, moving through painting and printmaking, and then building to paper collage and mixed media. Each lesson features and relates to the work and style of a contemporary artist. Lisa Congdon, Megan Bogonovich, and Amy Rice are just a few of the artists included. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hand-on fine art experiences. The lessons in this book are open-ended to be explored over and over–with different results each time! Colorful photos illustrate how different people using the same lesson will yield different results, exemplifying the way the lesson brings out each artist’s personal style. Art Lab for Kids is the perfect book for creative families, friends, and community groups and works as lesson plans for both experienced and new art teachers. Children of all ages and experience levels can be guided by adults and will enjoy these engaging exercises.

Editorial Reviews


"Written by a couple who run a successful combination art gallery and art school for children, this book presents the authors’ most popular art projects for youngsters, covering an ambitious range of materials and techniques. This guide offers a greater-than-average number of open-ended and inventive projects that can be taught to younger children and teens alike. Each project is paired with an example of a work by a modern master or living artist. Many photographs illustrate techniques and show children deeply engaged in creativity. VERDICT: Recommended particularly for teachers and parents." - Library Journal

"I love Susan's Art Lab series and reference them in the Art Studio often. They're easy to follow, full of images, and directed at open-ended exploration - exactly the kind of reference I need for my own busy home." - Meghan Burch, Art Studio Educator, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

About the Author

Rainer Schwake is a versatile and talented media designer holding a masters degree in graphic design. His photography has been used in hundreds of business- and arts-related design works for print and websites. He is co-owner of artstream studios ( and lives with his wife, Susan, in Rochester, NH.

Susan Schwake is an artist, art educator, author, and curator. Her passion for teaching art for more than 20 years has found her working in many diverse settings, as well as her own art school, which operates inconjunction with their gallery and design firm in New Hampshire, called artstream.

Susan exhibits her own artwork in galleries in the United States and Europe. To date, she has curated over 100 compelling contemporary exhibitions in her own gallery with hundreds of national and international artists' work. Susan has worked with many corporations installing original artwork from the gallery's stable of artists.

In keeping with her passion for art and teaching, Susan has offered, and continues to offer, workshops and programs to parents, teachers at universities, art studios, community organization, public and private schools, and most recently online with e-courses in teacher training, painting, printmaking and mixed media.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homeschooler's dream! January 27, 2012
Homeschooling parents, Art Lab for Kids is exactly what you are looking for! With 52 different labs, your art curriculum for the year is done for you! I especially like the way the contemporary artists' works are juxtaposed with the artwork of children. We can teach our children technique (=having fun!) while simultaneously introducing them to artists (=learning!)...experiential learning at its best!
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119 of 133 people found the following review helpful
I have mixed feelings about this book. I can't say it's bad, because I've taught 95% of the projects before. they're great projects! But as an artist and art instructor, I've seen kids do more than what is in this book (for some of the projects). Some of the projects are very simple things you could find over the internet. Some are things you do in elementary school. It's got a broad mix of really cool projects with a lot of potential, and really dull projects that I know kids don't really respond to very well.

However, I did find three or four projects that are pretty cool, that I'm definitely implementing aspects of in my extended camp this summer!

That being said, this book is great for students who want to do art but don't have any kind of local art class institution, teachers who are looking for a good collection to fit a wide age range, and maybe homeschool parents who want their kids to have art but don't know where to start.

Kids art class teacher? not so much. You probably already know them.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book to own! January 23, 2012
"Art Lab for Kids," not only feels and looks great, it has some amazing art ideas! The ideas may be aimed at kids, but are really applicable to all ages. The material lists are perfect: letting the artist know exactly what to have on hand before starting their project. And the photography is wonderful, too. Throughout the book, the pictures give vision to the author's ideas and make the whole book just that much more enjoyable.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art For All! February 16, 2012
I just purchased a copy of this book and it is terrific for artists of all ages! As a former elementary school teacher and budding artist as well, I found this book to be well laid out and easy to use. The best part is that each of the 52 "labs" are stand alone, following the first unit which lays out how to get started and what is necessary for "setting the stage for creativity". All of the 52 projects begin with a list of needed materials followed by clear steps and accompanying photos. Each lab concludes with an example of professional artists' work using that medium. The photos are clear and beautifully laid out. The emphasis is on individual expression and artistic exploration. This colorful book is useful for parents, homeschoolers, and budding artists (like me!)of all ages, who may be interested in exploring drawing, painting, printmaking, paper and mixed media art projects. Bravo!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring April 27, 2012
By Tracy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased two kids' arts and crafts books: Kids Create and Art Lab for Kids. I looked at the Art Lab book first, and then was very disappointed with Kids Create when I looked at that book. Kid's Create is entirely in black and white and totally uninspiring. I was looking for an art book with drawing, painting, printmaking, and mixed media activities suitable for children that would not only invite creativity but also start to lay a foundation for a basic understanding of art materials and artistic techniques. What's more, I was looking for activities that left room for true creativity in the final product despite using specific techniques. The Art Lab for Kids book was attractive and inspiring. It's activities will be fun for my 6 year old son, but they'll be just as fun for him at 10 and 17 (and for me)and feel fresh even when we repeat each "adventure."

The book includes complete materials lists, colorful examples, and "further exploration" activities for each "adventure", so really there are over a hundred possible "creative adventures" in this book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I have taught Art in all levels from K through Graduate School and I am strongly recommending this book. It will be useful to teachers, parents and grandparents. Susan has given the processes for each lesson. The WHYs, the What's and a variety of examples along with the How's....I have purchased this book for m y son and daughter-in-law to use with their children and found that the parents are having a wonderful time learning and exploring the many art experiences as well. The "baby sitters" dream . The many photo examples are wonderful.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great start for a creative young mind! February 23, 2012
By Nick L
I purchased this book for my very smart young niece and her mom to work on artistic projects. I was quite pleased with the beauty and layout of the book. My niece may or may not be an aspiring artist, however, Art Lab for Kids may just be the tool to bring out the artist in her! I even saw some projects I would like to try!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Arts Made Accessible February 19, 2012
With beautiful photography and conversational text, Schwake's Art Lab is both coffeetable treasure and how-to manual. Artist examples are paired with each of the 52 projects and offer a view into the beginnings of art instruction. I appreciate that the author provides prompts to further each "creative adventure" depending on where the student is at developmentally. Most books of this nature fall short of this goal by fixating on final project instead of process. I don't worry that my children will mimic what is shown on the page. Instead, here are jumping-off points into visual arts. Schwake has built a beautiful and sturdy frame within which to create art. We need to fill our libraries with more books of this nature; our world is filled with product, with this text we can breathe more freely and focus on process...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀█▓▒░▒░░░ PERFECT ░░▒░░▒▓█▀▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀
Published 4 days ago by NW-Guy
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Wonderful! Full of projects for children to do. I've enjoyed doing some of the projects alongside my boys. So fun!
Published 9 days ago by Ash
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a keeper
Disappointing. I was hopeful of some specific projects. Instead we receive lots of general directions and ideas.
Published 22 days ago by M M Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My grandson loves it.
Published 1 month ago by MW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love this!
Published 1 month ago by saah louise
5.0 out of 5 stars We love this book
We love this book. It is perfect for homeschool art for any age. We used it for middle school and I could see it easily being used in high school as well. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Elbereth5
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great ideas.
Published 1 month ago by IOBN
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book I am going to do some projects with my 10 year old granddaughter I will order something on this line again thanks send me some more book adds
Published 1 month ago by Lois Oster
5.0 out of 5 stars ... help with inspiration for art lesson plans and it's great.
I used this to help with inspiration for art lesson plans and it's great.
Published 1 month ago by Michi
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!!!
This is absolutely inspirational & perfect for all ages!! I homeschool my two children, ages 10 & 13, and we just started the lessons... Read more
Published 1 month ago by ally
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More About the Author

Susan Schwake is an artist, art educator, author and curator. Her passion for teaching art for over 20 years has found her working in diverse settings such as private and public schools, community organizations, programs for medically fragile children, special needs agencies, summer camps, intergenerational facilities, libraries, and her own little art school to thousands of people. Most recently she has taken her classroom online. Rainer Schwake produced the new series of e-courses called: Art Class including courses in Painting, Mixed Media, Printmaking and Hand-building with Clay. Each year Susan celebrates her student's work - both children and adults - in exhibits twice a year at the local library gallery.

Susan works with diverse groups of people making art. She was hired to organize and create a permanent exhibition of children's art, involving more than one hundred local children. The children created the artwork for a new children's wing in the local library. She also was chosen to direct a similar project with four hundred people in an intergenerational setting for a new multi-agency facility. This process-oriented program was designed to bring the staff, families, and clients more closely together through the process of making art together and was permanently displayed in the facility.

Following the release of her first three books the Art Lab for Kids series - Susan continues to offer workshops and programs to parents, teachers at universities, art studios, community organization, public and private schools. Her fourth book: Art for All Seasons, published by Two Little Birds is due out November 1st 2014. This book offers a curriculum to be used all year around and each lesson is inspired by the natural world and a contemporary artist.

She exhibits her own artwork in galleries in the United States and Europe. Susan has been juried public art exhibitions, creating large-scale, site-specific outdoor works. She has curated over 80 compelling contemporary exhibitions to date in her own gallery of hundreds of national and international artist's work. She curates a rotating gallery in her city's hospital and has worked with many corporations installing original artwork from her gallery's stable of artists.

Susan works alongside her husband Rainer at artstream studios in New Hampshire. Together they collaborate daily within each facet of their creative business. Rainer holds a masters degree in Design from Farholschule, Muenster Germany and has created award winning websites and print materials for companies in a wide range of sectors. Art for All Seasons features Rainer's layout and design, including over 400 photographs that the couple styled together and photographed. They work together creating exhibit layouts, media design work and promoting the art school which they have built together. They wouldn't have it any other way. They have two creative children who write and make art and delight them endlessly.


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