We’ve always been a crafty art-loving family, but the pandemic has definitely invited us to spend more time making art this year, especially Lainey—and it’s been so rewarding! It is not unusual to find Lainey on any given day at the kitchen barstools, surrounded by watercolor palettes and art books for a good two-hour creative session. Over the years, we’ve collected some great art books that we frequently pull out for good creative inspiration. I’ve shared some of these on Instagram, but they deserve a nice round-up in one place.
Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage
This one is our current favorite; and it’s given us so many hours of creative fun. Friday night, we sat at the dining room table cutting and collaging for SIX HOURS. There are 10,000 different things to cut out in the book—everything from pop culture art and vintage photographs to architecture, botanicals and travel images. We collage onto thick watercolor paper and card stock, or— if we really want to get fancy—these wooden panels.
50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life
Any creative book published by Flow is going to be chock-full of creative inspiration, and this one is quite the buffet. So much happiness in one place and easy-to-follow practical guidance for illustrating everyday objects with a a whimsical style.
20 Ways to Draw a Dress
I’ve used this book so many times to help me follow shapes for clothing drawings (clothing is so fun to draw!). It’s less a step-by-step how-to art book and more an inspiration book with so many adorable drawings of all different styles of clothes with lines and shapes that are easy to replicate as a you draw your own. This is actually part of an entire “20 Ways to Draw” series, and we have several of the books including Draw 500 Everyday Things and 20 Ways to Draw a Chair (household items).
Emily Lex Watercolor Workbook
I was thrilled over the holidays to see my friend and insanely talented watercolor artist Emily offer a holiday watercolor workbook. I ordered it for Lainey and within days, she had finished every painting and asked if she had other books. She does! Yay! This animal one is available year round. Lainey’s finished it as well and is waiting for more of Emily’s workbooks (hint hint, Emily!). She may not have more workbooks coming, but Emily’s beautiful book, Freely and Lightly comes out March 2. I have an early copy, and it’s a work of art.
Watercolor With Me Ocean
After Emily’s books hooked Lainey on watercolor, we searched for books similar to it and found Dana Fox’s books. This one is tucked away in the Easter Basket pile. It’s beautiful—all pages thick watercolor with color palette suggestions and rough sketches of each ocean creature already drawn.
Watercolor With Me Forest
Another Dana Fox watercolor workbook just like the ocean one, but forest friends as the painting subjects.
…and some watercolor extras we try to keep on hand: I like to keep 9 x 12 watercolor paper stocked (we usually just buy it in a pad at Michael’s) as well as these Watercolor Post Cards that are fun for small paintings. We have several watercolor palettes. This starter set is perfect for kids. Target also sells the Kid Made Modern one which is great. I also love the color choices in this one.