Artist Notebook

Artist NotebookI have to admit that Art Study is one of my very favorite subjects to notebook.  There are so many things you can put into your Artist Notebook, and you will greatly enjoy looking through it and adding to it for years to come.  I will explain how we have set up our Artist Notebooks.

Supplies you will need:

  • 3 ring binder- should be a really big one if you plan on adding to it through the years.  We use 2 1/2 inch.
  • Photo album page inserts- the ones that will go into your binder


What to add to your Artist Notebook?

Notebooking Pages

While we are studying an artist, we typically fill out at about 3-4 notebooking pages; they are as follows:  (click on each title to see a sample from my daughter’s notebook)

  • Artist Biography Notebooking Page this is where the kids notebook what they have learned from their reading.  This includes dates of birth and death, where they lived and worked, and a little about their life.
  • Pictures I Know-this is where they write the names of works of art they have studied during our picture study time.  If the name of the art is on this page it means the child knows it by heart , and can recognize it if they were to see it in a movie, museum, etc.  My kids usually on list a few, maybe 3-5.
  • Quote/Copywork PageI love quotes! Quotes help you to get to know the artist a little better. The kids copy the quote in their best handwriting, and they usually try really hard to make it look nice.
  • Art Study Notebooking Page– This is where my kids might notebook a certain work of art.  They look at a painting and write something about it, describe it, list what they like or don’t like about it.  They can look for elements of art in it such as perspective lines and vanishing points. They do NOT do this for every painting we study.  We mostly orally narrate during our picture study times, but will occasionally fill out a page for a painting.

As we fill out our notebooking pages they go into our Artist Notebook.  I try to pick out a good living book about the artist we are studying.  Usually the books I choose are rather short, but with enough information to get the feel of the artist’s life and times.

I also try to find a book that has samples of the artists work in it.  Big, coffee table books are my absolute favorite, but I cannot always find these at an affordable price.  Sometimes I just opt for images on the internet.




Original Works of Art by your Child 

When we studied Picasso my daughter fell in love with many of his paintings.  She tried her hand at copying a few of her favorites.  They came out really good, and I have her best one hanging up in our school room in a nice frame.

You can also add these to your artist notebook.  You might want to slide them into the pockets in the back, or maybe add a manila folder to your notebook to store these in.

Adding Your Artist Pictures

This is our absolute favorite part of our Artist Notebook; adding in the pictures!

I let my kids keep a folder on the computer where they save images of their favorite works of art from each artist that we study.  The amount of images they save will vary from artist to artist.  For instance, when we studied Picasso my son only saved 5 images to his folder.  In contrast, when we studied Van Gogh he saved 35 images.  Needless to say he loved Van Gogh.

When we have finished our study of each artist, I send the images the kids have saved to walmart and have 4×6 prints printed out for their notebooks.  We file these pictures behind their artist notebooking pages.  Use your photo page inserts to store your pictures.  You obviously don’t want your child to go crazy and save 100 images to be printed, so I would encourage you to set a limit on how many they can print up!

When finished, you have a mini art gallery of the artist you studied; a small collection of his or her best loved art work and some background information from your notebooking pages.  Keep adding to the notebook over the years, until your notebook is filled up…and then start a new one.  Believe me, your kids will look back through this, and so will you.  Mom, you might even be encouraged to start your own Artist Notebook.  I have been tempted many times, but I have yet to do it myself.

There you have it!  I have created a new series of notebooking pages called Artist Notebook Helper.  The very first set of pages in this series is the Vincent Van Gogh Notebooking Pages that are linked to in this post.  Grab this set to help get your Artist Notebook started.  Van Gogh is a great artist to start with.

Do your kids currently have an Artist Notebook? If not, are you ready to start one?   I would love to hear about it.   


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