Review of ARTistic Pursuits Elementary 4-5 Book One

My 11-year-old son has been interested in art for a long time. He sketches all the time, is obsessed with perfecting his skill, and is in complete admiration of cartoonists and comic book illustrators.  Since we homeschool and live fairly rural, I wanted to be able to give him some basic art foundational skills but was not willing to drive over an hour each week to do so.  We reviewed the ARTistic Pursuits: Elementary 4-5 Book One (The Elements of Art and Comoposition) by Brenda Ellis, and we were so pleased that we had the chance to try it out! (Note that this is just one of many books offered by ARTistic Pursuits, and we picked this based on one child's level in school.  They also have books for very young students, all the way into high school.)

First, this is a book, but you'll need to buy your own art supplies.  They do offer them on the website.  For the book we chose, the supplies were pretty inexpensive, but other courses will require different (and possibly more expensive) supplies.  The very first part of the book was basic drawing and sketching skills, and then it goes deeper into concepts such as composition, depth, and movement.

What did he Learn?

My son loved that he didn't have to wait for me to do any of it.  He read through the directions, than applied what he learned right away to his work.  He was on his way to learning the theory behind some of the things he had naturally picked up over the years.  He was also learning the correct way to do some things that he had developed bad habits around.

Here is a picture of some fruits and veggies that he drew after learning about line and shape.  He spent a good amount of time on this particular portion of the course, as he really wanted what he drew to be perfect.

The course itself is broken into Units and Lessons, but my son would often spend more than a day on a lesson.  He liked to read through carefully, often delving deeper into what he learned in the history and artists profiles to do more learning on his own.  He also took a very long time studying the included drawings to glean what he could from the examples given.  He was the model student!

Extra Thoughts...

If your student is motivated and naturally inclined toward art, you shouldn't need to do much "teaching" with this program. It's very much geared to fit in nicely with the self-directed educational approach.  It is also a good fit for our "classical" homeschool program, in that it brings in history and other classical learning elements into each lesson.  Of course, if your child struggles with reading or finds it to be too challenging to do on their own, it's a relatively brief course that should take no more than 15-20 minutes of teaching or so a day from the parent.

Would I recommend it?

This book is just one of several offered by ARTistic Pursuits. I wouldn't hesitate to have any of my children learn through the book that is developed for their age level.  I'm also 100% certain we will be picking up the 2nd book for 4-5 grades for my son, when he has completed this book.

What does it cost?

Priced at $47.95, this isn't a cheap book, but it offers great value.  It's a non-consumable book, so you can keep it for all of your younger students to use when they are ready. (I also wouldn't rule out the possibility for an older student who needs a good foundation in art to take this course, as well.) With over 68 lessons spread across over 90 pages, it's jam-packed with wisdom and contains no fluff. 

It's a solid course that will hold children's interest and develop both skill and appreciation for the arts.  Learn more about ARTistic Pursuits on their Facebook page