Art is sort of a big deal in our house. Since our first daughter was 22 months old she’s had a crayon in her hand. When Santa brought her an easel for Christmas at age two it was like the gods from heaven started singing as she drew and drew and drew. She hasn’t put the pencil down since, and every morning before school I seriously have to rip the sketch book away from her. She also gets in trouble racing through tests so she can draw on the other side. She’s taken art classes, we belong to Young at Art Museum, but there has been one constant art influence in her life, Rob Cabrera.
I’ve written about Rob before, as he’s the mastermind behind the artwork on this site, and actually pushed me to start blogging. He’s also the Digital Arts Director at YAA, a teacher, as well as an animator and artist. I can usually round him up every once in a while for an art lesson, and he always inspires our daughter’s creativity. I decided to chat with him a bit though about why art matters in a children’s curriculum, and if a child doesn’t show interest in art…what do we do?
why is art important?
Rob: There’s three main ways that art benefits kids: visual learning, refinement of fine motor skills, and it helps in academic performance by developing the problem solving and decision making skills. The creative process requires artists to make choices, and making choices leads to enhancing critical thinking skills which is at the heart of learning.
what if they just don’t like it?
Rob: As Pablo Picasso once said “All kids are artists – the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” While each of our children is different and has unique interests, it’s important to cultivate creativity, as it helps with overall development of the human being. You gain appreciation and are able to look at the world through different lenses when you have that background.
any ideas for kids that can’t sit still to color or draw?
Rob: If they don’t have the passion to create sketches or paintings, one thing that helps is working with clay…it helps children’s motor skills. Clay strengthens the young artists hands that helps with sports too! It helps them grip the football and baseball, and helps enhance their hand dexterity…they can develop different touches. Collages also help with visual spatial development. When they’re able to put shapes together in a way that pleases them, it helps to identify objects, colors, symbols and helps promote cultural awareness.
For those of you looking for another tool to help introduce art to your kids, Rob just released his first book, an e-book called RobArt: Sketch. It’s an instructional and digital art book that meshes sketches that can be printed, along with video tutorials narrated by Rob that show the creative process in action. Rob told me, “I wanted to create this because it’s always been in my nature to help people, and one of the things I get asked to do is to show people how to draw. It combines sketch concepts and other techniques artists use, and gives people a foundation to create the kind of art that they want.”
It’s also pretty darn cool! As Rob states in the book’s foreward, it’s the kind of book he wishes he had as a kid…and perfect for our little artist! Lila was mesmerized as she held the iPad in her lap and watched every single video. I read some of the text to her…and then she was off, creating and watching them over again. In the past we’ve watched videos of art and drawing on YouTube, but she was really taken by the instruction. This book wasn’t necessarily intended for children, but Rob’s natural way of teaching, paired with the easy and uplifting voice overs and music really held her attention. And I’m not just saying that because he’s a friend, at only $2.99 it’s an easy buy! RobArt: Sketch is only available now for the iPad, but will be released later for Android and Kindle.
Hope you’ll give it a shot, and don’t forget to inspire your little artists! You never know…they may be a fashion designer…or a football player?