Book Review – Drawing School

Drawing School book review

I’m a sucker for art books. When I was homeschooling, I had quite a few on the shelves for my kids like Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad and various Klutz Art books, among others. I have always felt that basic art and drawing skills are important to teach!

I recently had the chance to review Drawing School. (Thank you Quarto Group and Edelweiss!) This book is ADORABLE and stuffed full of over 300 things to draw with very clear and easy-to-follow drawing instructions. The 272 pages are organized into categories of items that will appeal to both boys and girls. The categories are:

  • Pets
  • Sports Stuff
  • Let’s Celebrate
  • On the Farm
  • At the Beach
  • Under the Sea
  • At the Zoo
  • In the Garden
  • At the Circus
  • At the Show (with things like guitars, instruments, a movie star, etc.)
  • In a Fairy Tale
  • Around the House
  • At School
  • Around Town
  • Around the World
  • Beyond Our World (planets, an astronaut, etc.)
  • In the Past (dinosaurs)

The book starts out with a small section on supplies and basic drawing instruction, like learning how to see shapes and different types of lines.

Each section features a number of specific items that belong in the category. The items are shown being drawn in full color with manageable steps like the following screenshot of a cat’s head:

At the end of each section, there is a full color, 2-page spread that shows many of the section’s drawings in a scene like this:

Homeschoolers will like the Around the World section with instructions on how to draw things like an Egyptian pharaoh:

This book is not just for kids. I got it for myself, lol…because the drawings are so cute and perfect for handmade cards and notes.

I LOVE this book. I love the happy, colorful drawings, as well as the simple drawing instructions. If you have a student who loves drawing, Drawing School would make an excellent Christmas present, or a perfect addition to a low-key art program.

Learning about Color Theory with Cupcakes

Color Wheel Cupcakes

Today Otter had a lesson in color theory. We made a color wheel featuring primary, secondary and tertiary colors out of cupcakes and frosting! I like scheduling in activities like this into our homeschool, especially on Friday. It’s a great way to wrap up the week and something to look forward to all week long.

Here’s what we used:

  • white frosting in 2 tubs
    • We used Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting. I recommend having 2 tubs on hand in case you need to mix up some extra primary colors in order to have enough frosting to mix up the other colors.
  • cupcakes made from a cupcake mix
  • 6 bowls / small plates to mix frosting in
  • several spoons (a fresh spoon for each new color)
  • food coloring (you need the primary colors red, blue and yellow)

First, Otter whipped up a batch of cupcakes during lunch. He LOVES to cook and bake.

Chocolate cupcakes!!!!!

After the cupcakes cooled he got started on the project! He mixed up 3 small bowls of red, yellow and blue frosting.

Frosting and food coloring

Frosting in primary colors

We set up 9 cupcakes on a plate and frosted the first 3 in the primary colors:

Hey, look! It’s a smurf cake!

The next step was to start mixing the secondary colors. Otter started with a mixture of red and yellow first. Note: you aren’t going to get a deep, rich red using food coloring unless you put in a million drops, so we settled for a pinky sort of red and worked with that.

Mixing red and yellow to make orange

Then he mixed his new color with yellow to make a tertiary color – an orange-yellow:

He continued mixing colors until he completed the color wheel!

First (primary colors):

red, blue, yellow

Then (secondary colors):

red + blue = violet
red + yellow = orange
blue + yellow = green

Then (tertiary colors) :

violet + red = violet-red
orange + yellow = orange-yellow
green + yellow = yellow-green


Afterwards he was free to experiment with the frosting to mix up any colors he desired to frost the rest of the cupcakes.

This is a great hands-on activity for any age. It looks pretty, tastes good and teaches a bit of color theory (so mark it in your homeschool planner as art, or home ec. or both, lol).

So we made a bit of a mess, but…

Cupcake mess!

We also made a great memory (and a yummy dessert, lol)!

Here are some additional color theory activities or resources:

Paper towel color wheel activity

Color theory worksheet

Interactive color wheel

2nd Week Using Adventures in Sea & Sky

This is our 2nd week into WinterPromise’s program: Adventures in Sea & Sky. I think Otter’s favorite read-aloud right now is Treasure Island. I’m not sure how much of it he really understands because of all the dialect and maritime vocabulary, but every time I finish reading for the day he begs for more. I love that!
I also love how he’s really being engaged by all of the activities – not only the ones WP scheduled but all of the extras I’ve gathered up too. Sea & Sky is a terrific theme to expand on. There are all sorts of science extras you can add, along with plenty of crafts and movies.

This week Otter continued work on his mollusks lapbook (you can see more pics in some previous posts). Next week he’ll be starting one on whales. I can’t speak highly enough about lapbooks. They add a hands-on component that really helps learning STICK. They are fun to “review” too. Here are a few pictures of some of the new items he added:

Slug diet booklet

Slug diet

Lift the flaps to see what slugs eat!

what slugs eat

Learning about slugs vs. snails:

Lift the flap slug

Shutterfold with a map inside and questions to answer on each flap

Octopus shutterfold

Multiplying by 8’s – Lift the flaps to see the answers:

Multiplying by 8's

Accordion fold for octopus facts

Octopus Facts

Anyone else’s kid mix printing with cursive? roll eyes

Outrageous octopus facts

We also worked from the book 1-2-3 Draw Ocean Life. This week’s drawing was a sea cucumber. As before, I drew mine on the computer, while Otter followed along on paper. He is really enjoying this book. Each step is pretty simple to follow. We’re also looking up the items we’re drawing online for photos, videos, and more information.

Mom’s sea cucumber

Sea Cucumber

Otter’s sea cucumber

Otter's Sea Cucumber drawing