Posts filed under materials

Back to School: Cleaning paint-brushes

We're back... - to school. This time we will show you how we take care of our paint-brushes with kids.

We tell them they should not leave the paint-brushes in the water, because the brushes' hair will change shape:

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They should put them out and leave them on a cloth:

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[It is a bit different for acrylic paint, but since we usually don't use acrylic paint with kids, we teach them this way (for working with watercolors or tempera paint).]

Every time we change the color or want to clean the brush, we dip the brush into the water and push it hard to the bottom of the cup:

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Then we wipe the paintbrush on the cloth (if there's too much water on it):

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When we're done with painting, we usually clean our paint-brushes with a soap:

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And then we wash them under running water:

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That's why it's very important to use quality paint-brushes, so that they 'survive' all the painting and the cleaning process and serve us well.

We hope you find this information useful, so now you're all ready to have fun with the paint and with your kids :)! Enjoy!

Back to School: How to hold paint-brushes

If you learned by now how to hold drawing materials, then you probably won't have any problems holding paint-brushes. 

You can hold them like you hold pencils. If you paint details, you hold the brush closer to the tip:

paintbrush 1 creatissimo lab.jpg

If not, then you hold them loosely, away from the tip:

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However, if you use wider brushes and paint bigger areas, you can hold your brush like this:

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Or you can hold them the same - like smaller brushes:

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Easy, isn't it?

Hmm, and now that our paint-brush has got dirty... - what's next? Well, you will have to wait until next time or you can come to Koper on Saturday (24. Sept.) and watch me paint at the event Sladka Istra (= Sweet Istria)...

Back to School: How to hold pencils and other drawing materials

Now that you've got drawing materials, it's time to learn how to use them. It is very important to use them the right way as the hand is 'the eyes' of the brain. When we write and draw, we stimulate our brain in a certain way, and that's important for our development. 

We said a few words in this post how to hold a pencil, but since I was talking to a brain specialist who also mentioned the importance of the correct use of a pencil, we decided to say a few words more, now that the school has started.

We help ourselves to put a pencil in a hand with our left (or opposite) hand. We set it out like you see on a picture bellow: it rests on a middle finger and on the spot between thumb and forefinger.

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Then you just hold the pencil with thumb and forefinger.

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On the pictures below you can see how the hand looks like without a pencil. You can see we use three fingers. The middle finger is for a support, so it is not set right next to a forefinger. We push it a bit more toward the inside of the hand.

With the thumb and forefinger we create so-called pipette hold.

pencil in hands 04 creatissimo lab.jpg
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Here is one of the tips how you can help yourself or your children to learn and practice for a pipette hold. They should thread beads or other small objects, where they need fine motor skills.

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If you make sketches with your drawing materials, you can hold your pencil more loosely - like you see on the picture below. 

pencil in hands 07 creatissimo lab.jpg

We hope, the post was helpful. If you have any other tips, suggestions or comments, let us know - our mission is to help as many people as we can and to help each other. Thank you!

Posted on September 5, 2011 and filed under children, creative lecture, education, how to..., materials.

Back to School: How to choose art materials for your kids - drawing material

When choosing drawing materials for the children, we should have two important things in our mind. First: strong pigments, and second: the age of a child.

Children love strong, vibrant colors. Therefore, we should give them drawing materials with strong pigments. (Look at the difference on the picture: unhappy faces show the drawing materials with less pigment, happy faces show those that your children will love). We should avoid buying fluorescent colors, which are not natural colors.

The younger the child is, the thicker the drawing material should be. The older the child, more the child wants to draw details and needs thinner pencils, markers or crayons. (See on the picture: from left to right).

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For the pencils, we recommend to choose a soft (B) pencil. At our workshops we usually use B2 pencils.

Some colored pencils and crayons are water soluble, some not. Whichever you'll choose, keep those two things, that we mentioned above, in your mind.

Instead of the crayons, we prefer to use oil pastels. They give a similar effect and (usually) have stronger pigments.

Children should be taught to avoid using an eraser. They don't need it. As art is expressing ourselves, there's no place for erasers. The same goes for the rulers. However, a good sharpener is something we should have near by; we suggest a metal one.

How to choose the right materials in the shop? Go to the shop where you can try the materials. You can also find the shops where you can buy each item separately...

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a) good markers; b) old, used markers (both drawings by a retarded person - shouldn't he deserve good materials?)

Try to color a piece of paper. If you have to press a lot to see a trace of a pencil, crayon or marker, then this is not the best material for your child. Your child will have to press even harder to get the same effect as you. When coloring or drawing, a child should fell relaxed and doesn't need to 'work hard' for the result.

Although we're trying to avoid talking about brands of drawing materials and leave the decision to you, we'd like to say that Crayola materials are the worst we've worked with. Yes, they have cheap materials and yes, you get a whole bucket of markers for a little money, but it's not worth it. Not if you want that the children express themselves the way they need to.

Buy the materials by yourself as children tend to want and 'like' something because of the pretty picture on the packaging, not because it's good for them.


We'll talk about how to use drawing materials in one of the next posts.

Do you have questions about drawing materials we didn't cover? Let us know in the comment section... Or read about choosing the right brushes in the previous post.

Back to School: How to choose art materials for your kids - brushes

School is just around the corner and we thought we'd prepare a few posts for you to help you out of your dilemmas what art materials are good for your children.

Before we get started with today's topics, there's something very important every parent and a person who works with children should know. The materials we give/buy for the children show how we respect the children and their personality. If we give them old, used materials that are in bad shape, the children will get the message that we don't trust them they'd use the new materials with care. That doesn't mean you should buy super great and the best materials for your children, it means that we don't give them a marker which doesn't work or whith which a child has a hard time to draw with...

The next thing we need to teach children before they use any kind of materials is: how to use these materials. If we teach them that, then the materials will be in a good shape and in a perfect condition all the time (if we choose quality materials of course). We will show you how to use the materials in a future posts..., but now we will start with the posts which will tell you how to make sure you buy quality materials for your kids.

So let's get started! :) - with brushes:

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When we go shopping for brushes, we need to know first what kind of paint the children will paint with. Tempera, watercolors or aquarelles, acrylic paint...? For watercolors (or paint where we use lots of water), 'round' brushes are the best (top of the picture), and for tempera and acrylics we use flat brushes (bottom of the picture).

Smilies show which brushes are good and which are not so good. Any brush that looses its hair is not worth a cent. You can try this by pulling its hair or pushing the brush hard into your hand.

brushes copici 2 creatissimo lab.jpg

Round brushes should always have a point at the end, so when wet, you can paint precise lines with them no matter what size of the brush you have. 

Flat brushes should also be thinner at the tip. When wet, you can paint precise lines with it as well. If we choose quality, soft flat brushes, we can use them with watercolors too.

We usually choose brushes with synthetic hair for various reasons. One of the reasons is that we can use the brushes with different sorts of paint, plus they don't have a smell like some brushes with animal hair...

We recommend to buy brushes in an art shop. They have cheaper brushes for school children which are still good enough for your child and won't fall apart. If you are afraid your child would loose the 'precious' brushes (or other materials), put the name labels on every item he/she has.

Do you still have questions about brushes? Ask in the comments bellow and we'll try to help! :)


Next time we'll talk about drawing materials - pencils, colored pencils, crayons...


PS: These recommendations are strictly our own experiences from workshops with children. No sponsors here or claims that these recommendations are the best advices ever. Your experiences count too!