Drawing With Children: Les 5 Drawing Pencils

pencil sketch

(Here’s an example from my portfolio that gives you an idea of what can be done with a simple pencil and eraser. I love to use my dark values….more on that later in the post.)

When not just any old pencil will do

Drawing with Children
by Mona Brookes gives a list of art supplies to try in chapter five. I have already posted on conte crayons and chalk pastels. This entry will be about using drawing pencils, especially in your nature journal.

Pencils are easy to find and easy to use. They are small enough to fit in any backpack along with a nature journal. I always carry drawing pencils with me when we take our hikes and they are the “staple” of my nature drawing kit.

I have two ways of carrying them. If I am carrying my big backpack and have room to fit it in, I carry my Art Bin filled with various kinds of drawing pencils, a good metal sharpener, a few erasers, and a drawing tortillion.

If I am traveling light, I put a few pencils, my black ink pen, and a few old crayons in a Ziploc bag and carry them that way. Don’t laugh, it works.

Here is a photo of what I am describing. I actually pulled these out of my backpack so they are just as if I were ready to take off for a hike. I must admit that I rarely just take along pencils. I almost always end up throwing in some colored pencils or watercolor pencils. I couldn’t find a single example from my nature journal where I only used a drawing pencil. I use them to sketch things out roughly on the page and then put on a little color.
art bin and ziploc
So what kind of pencils do you want to try? Most homeschoolers have a ready supply of the good old stand-by #2 pencils. This will do fine to start but for a variety of line you might want to try a different pencil that is harder or softer than the #2.

Mona Brookes suggests:
one #H (hard lead gives lighter line)
one #2B (the “B” is the softness)
one #5B or #6B
She also recommends starting a sketch with the #H, adding in some shading and detail with the #2B, and then going back and putting on the darkest shadings with the #5B or #6B.
Here’s a link for a good set of sketching pencils: Faber-Castell Pencils

Personally, I love to use the #4B and the #6B. When I am really into a sketch, I love to really make the darks dark and it is much easier to do with the #6B. If you really want to splurge, try a woodless pencil…it feels so good in your hand.

Pencils are relatively inexpensive so you can pick up a variety and add them into your art box. If you are on a budget and want to work on your drawing skills, then try just using pencil and eraser and you can get beautiful results. I have added a few of my own drawings to this blog post to give you some encouragement in using a variety of pencils in your nature journal as well as in your daily sketching.

Next time I will share my thoughts on colored pencils.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom
Remember that at Harmony Fine Arts I am offering free downloads for my high school music appreciation plan. Ninth grade art appeciation is also available for purchase.

teapot pencil sketch
Another example of what you can do with just pencil and eraser.

Grandma Moses: Perfect Fit for a Family Art Study

I had the opportunity to visit a traveling exhibit of art painted by Grandma Moses, Anna Mary Robertson. Grandma Moses lived from 1860-1961. She painted her ordinary surroundings in a whimsical, folksy way that appealed to many people in American and around the world.

If you are looking for a delightful woman artist to feature in your homeschool, why not try Grandma Moses?

Here are some of her paintings to view, I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to pick a few to share with your children. They are fun and full of activity.

A Beautiful World, 1948

Hoosick Falls in Winter, 1944

My Hills of Home, 1948 Make sure to click the image to make it larger. This was my favorite painting of the whole exhibit.

Spring Flower, 1960

Sugaring Off, 1955 Make sure to click the zoom feature so you can see it clearly.

A great many of her paintings that you can click on to make larger

Have fun exploring.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Check out our new high school plan for art and music appreciation

Every Small Miracle-Charlotte Mason Education

walking on a sequoia

“Every small miracle that ceases to amaze us is like a new discovery to our children, as exciting as the discovery of gravity to Newton.”
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, volume 1, page 54

“…We have been seeing flowers for years–but our children haven’t. Flowers are still new and wonderful to them and it’s the fault of grown-ups if every new flower they see ceases to delight them.”
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, volume 1, page 53

I am sharing these quotes with you because they really have impacted how I treat learning with my own children. Often we need to be reminded of things and those reminders sometimes come as a breath of fresh air. My heart reads these ideas in Charlotte Mason’s writings and it encourages me to be a better mom and teacher.

Currently I am homeschooling my fourth child so that means this is the fourth time I have covered basically the same information in the 8th grade……four times. I could just be going through the motions at this point. Putting my feelings aside, I realize that this is the *first* time this particular son has been in the eighth grade and I need to try to be as up-beat about it as I can. It is all new to him.

Today we visited a friend and she has a guinea pig…a really big, hairy guinea pig. My boys have never seen one up close before and they were thrilled. I am not so thrilled with small furry things so I had to put on my “teacher” hat and think of ways to be as thrilled as they are. What is the point I am trying to make? Just that I could have easily been put off by this creature but instead I realized that my boys were excited to see something new so my job was to be encouraging and let them enjoy the experience.

roots of a sequoia
Ever climb through the roots of a fallen giant sequoia tree and out through the hollow center? My boys wanted to…so we did.

So much of what Charlotte Mason taught was about providing time and space for our children to learn new things….meaningful things from their real life. Our nature study is a window into the world for them and we miss out if we limit what we offer because we are worn-out or tired of looking at the same old things. Yes, a pine cone is just a pine cone to us but to our children it has a color, a shape, a texture, and a fragrance…all new and exciting.

Funny thing is that if we allow ourselves to experience these times with our children, we end up enjoying them too. Their enthusiasm rubs off on us and we see things through their eyes….just like it was new to us all over again. It doesn’t matter whether it is looking through a microscope at a leaf, planting a seed in the garden, knitting a scarf, making cookies, or laying down in the grass and looking at the sky. It is the everyday experiences that delight our children and we need to slow down and enjoy it with them. It makes us truly rich.

Try it and you will see,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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