Art Instruction Books for Kids

Today I am featuring a guest artist, my 6 year old daughter!  Possibly inspired by Press Here?  I don’t know, but I love this simple polka-dotted piece!  She also has her own blog, check it out at Coloring Book Center!

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You don’t need art instruction books for your kids.  It’s the truth!  Give them crayons, markers, construction paper, and they naturally know what to do with them.  Don’t interfere, don’t hover or tell them what do do.  Just show your interest in what they create.  Provide them with good lighting a comfortable chair, and work table and let them go!

With paints, you really should demonstrate how to rinse and blot their brush (and remind them) but that is about it.  Sit back and watch them be creative, express themselves, experiment with the medium, and even begin to draw from life when they are ready.  Don’t you find all this to be true?

Providing quality materials is key.  For a comprehensive resource guide, check out Artchoo’s Basic Art Materials for Children.  Artchoo is a great site devoted to all things art and design for kids.  Definitely take a peek!

Having said all that, art instruction books can be fun and good ones can teach techniques that can become vehicles for your child’s imagination.  Here are a few that are popular in our house…

sample page

Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World

This book I have had since I was a kid.  If you are not familiar with it, definitely click on the link and check out the sample pages at Amazon.  This book shows you how to draw just about anything you can think of with basic shapes and lines.  I LOVED this book when I was a kid and still love it now!

sample page

365 Things to Draw and Paint (Art Ideas)

This book my daughter picked out and LOVES by evidence of the 20-30 Post-it note page markers she has in it!  For starters, I love that it is spiral bound with thick pages.  It is made to be used and will surely last!  It demonstrates a variety of drawing, painting, collage, and other arts and craft techniques in a fun engaging way with beautifully laid out, colorful spreads.  Don’t just take my word for it, check out the sample pages at Amazon by clicking my links!

how it works…

Mix and Match Drawing: A step-by-step drawing studio (Klutz)

This book was at the top of my 6 year old daughter’s Christmas list!  We are definite Klutz fans starting with the very positive experience we have had with Hand Art.  As with all Klutz books this one considers the whole drawing experience.  It comes with markers and a pad of backdrops, drawn in very light gray, that you may choose to use.  The book itself is also spiral bound plus it folds open in such a way that the instructional portion is right in line with the pad/drawing board making it a perfect take-along.  The characters, objects, and backgrounds are drawn is a simple yet fun style and the handful of instructions for these are easy to follow.  My daughter uses this book all the time!  

sample pages

Eeboo Drawing Book With Melissa Sweet

This one is a late addition and one I only just ordered because it is from one of my favorite illustrators, Melissa Sweet!  It appears to be a sketch/coloring/activity books versus a pure reference book.  Do I have to give this to my kids or can I use it?!

sample page

Draw 50 Animals: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Elephants, Tigers, Dogs, Fish, Birds, and Many More… by Lee J. Ames

This last one is for older children and teaches step by step to draw realistic animals starting with a gesture.  The great thing about this book is that there are not words!  Just follow along visually.  There are also several others books in the “Draw 50 Series” including Draw 50 Sharks, Whales, and Other Sea Creatures and Draw 50 Magical Creatures.

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What are your thoughts on art instruction books?  Does your family have any favorites?

This post is linked up with Mama Smiles’ Learning Laboratory!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


    • My pleasure! We don’t really have a ton either – I just don’t think they are too important, but a few good ones can be fun!

  1. On Saturday afternoon, mom comes up with different arts for us to do. One of our favorites is to get pencil shavings, (like when you sharpen your pencils) and make flowers with those. . hum .. I can’t explain it very well, this might turn into a post! Thank you!

    Anyways, you are so right! It’s so cool and interesting to see what kids come up with when left to color/draw/create on their own! I love it.
    Larissa T. recently posted..An Interview with Agápe Bridal.My Profile

    • Thanks Larissa! I am totally getting a picture of the pencil shavings flowers! Definitely post about it!

      Also, thanks for visiting and commenting over at Coloring Book Center!

  2. My son’s fav’s:
    “What Shall I Draw” -Usborne and “Draw 50 Boats, Ships, Trucks and Trains”

    But you are right, the best is to encourage their natural creativity!
    kris recently posted..Smile PowerMy Profile

    • It is pretty funny watching the kids take turns shaking the book! I love how children can just go with stuff like that. Thanks for visiting Coloring Book Center! I have thought that before too about my daughter and your Emma : )

  3. I love Ed Emberly and am also a Klutz fan. When I was a kid I bought the klutz book of sculpey, and I still use it as a guide to this day!

    Also your daughter’s blog and the watercolor here made me smile. My biggest smile came from “combinding animals and colors”. :) A talented youg lady you have there!
    Krista recently posted..Sketching to MusicMy Profile

    • Thanks!

      I think it is interesting how some kids keep making art while others stop. Around that age I think.

      & You’re welcome!

    • I have been super duper busy but you books look really fun and when I free up a bit I would love to :-)

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