Archive for September, 2014

Back To School: 3 Easy Ways to Encourage Creativity Everyday

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Our mission here at Artterro is to help people tap into their natural creativity.  We believe every child is born creative, and it’s never too late to rediscover your innate artistic ability.

That mission is especially important these days; it’s a serious challenge to maintain your creativity when life gets busy, school is more demanding than ever, and kids’ schedules are so packed.  Another barrier is our own self-doubt.  We hear parents say all the time, “I’d love to help my kids do more art at home, but I’m not artistic, so I don’t know how to help them.”   Even worries about household tidiness and safety get in the way sometimes–art materials can seem like a dangerous mess in the eyes of some adults.

Some are calling the current state of affairs a crisis in creativity: “In a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas.”

Of course, as parents we don’t always control how much art our kids are exposed to at school (although we can certainly do our best to support our local arts programs!), and after-school homework and extracurricular activities can dominate the family schedule.  But we also know that art is absolutely essential to kids’ healthy development and future success.  So what can we do to improve the situation?  A lot!  And it’s not even that hard.

1. Set aside a small space for art

We’ve blogged about this before, but the basic idea is that if you keep your art supplies in an accessible place, kids will be much more likely to pick them up and start their own projects.

More details here: Make Art Happen! Setting Up A Family Art Station

And another option: Mobile Art Station

2. Set aside a little time for art

  • Encourage your kids to draw or doodle while dinner prep is happening
  • Keep art journals or sketchbooks in the car or in backpacks when you’re running errands

3. Model creativity for your kids.

  • If you take a little time to be creative and relax with a fun project, your kids will notice.  Give yourself time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, to express yourself in your chosen medium.

Would you add anything to this list?  Please share the methods that have worked for you in the comments!

This isn’t the first time we’ve felt inspired to write about this topic.  Check out Jen’s thoughts on arts in the schools from a few years ago: Nurturing Creative Thinkers With Art Education.

Art Journal Ideas: Remembering or Planning a Family Vacation

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

One of our favorite ways to be creative here at Artterro is art journaling.  We introduced our Art Journal Kit almost exactly three years ago, and we love to see how kids and adults alike respond to the prompts, supplies and inspiration in the kit.  September seems like a great time to share a series of journaling prompts and tips.  Something about the seasons changing seems to lead to introspection.

Our friend Heidi, a talented artist and mom to a homeschooling family, is all about art journaling as well.  She just shared a pre-vacation journal page with us, and hopefully it will inspire you or your family to set down a page or two of free-form thoughts, images and colors.

My family and I are leaving for San Francisco on Monday. So this entry was fun and meaningful to me.


Art journaling is all about mixing it up!  Drawing, painting, collage…you don’t need to commit to just one material or technique.  Here Heidi used pencil and handmade Artterro paper to begin her San Francisco-inspired art.

Art Journal Example 1

Here’s the finished page, where she traced over her drawing and added flourishes with pen:

Art Journaling Example

If you aren’t coming or going from anywhere in particular, try filling in a page with ideas of somewhere you’d love to visit.  Maybe it will inspire you to start planning a trip!

Art Journal Ideas: Illustrate an Inspiring Thought

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

art journal prompts birds

Today’s art journal idea is a simple one.  When you have a happy thought, write it down, and then create an illustration to match.  You can also reverse it: illustrate a happy image that pops into your head, and then write down whatever words you think of  around it.  If you do this regularly, your journal will fill up with positive ideas and images, and looking back on old pages will be uplifting!  Perfect for days when you need a little boost.

Tips and photo from our guest contributor, Heidi Crabb:

Draw and cut out design templates (like birds and leaves). Use them to trace onto the nice paper.

Add your words of dreams and visions! Pencils first, them trace over with a pen or marker.

What will your first happy thought be?