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Idea Portfolio


Idea Portfolio for Drawing

Idea Portfolio-a collection of images to inspire your artwork

From My Archives

Do your children need inspiration for their artwork? Would it be helpful to have image references as a drawing starter or to help complete a nature journal?

Here’s something that our family found helpful over the years and is simple to create.


Make an Idea Portfolio for Drawing

Old Magazines

I found some of the best ideas came from magazines. This is an easy project to do while you watch a movie or sit in the car waiting at a music lesson. Just grab a magazine or two, rip out the images you are interested in saving for future use. I always went through the magazines before I recycled them and pulled out the images and then filed them away.

Idea Portfolio drawing from a magazine image

I subscribe to National Wildlife magazine and it’s always full of photographs of animals of all kinds. I look for photos that might interest my boys in their artwork and if I find something that I think will work; I rip it out and put it in my idea portfolio.

Other great magazines: Birds and Blooms, Sunset, Ranger Rick, Country Living. I always let relatives know that we would welcome old magazines.

You need to take the stack of ripped out pages and as soon as possible, file them in the expanding file or you will have a huge pile sitting around cluttering up your workspace. I use an accordion type file to store all the pages that I’ve collected. I try to categorize them by subject so it’s easier when the boys are looking for a specific theme for their drawings.

Some categories for your files:
Animals with fur: cats, dogs, horses, bears, etc.
Animals with texture: elephants, reptiles, etc.
Seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter
People: children, adults, groups
Boats or other vehicles


Old Calendars

More inspiration can be found in calendars of all kinds. I try to pick up a few calendars when they go on clearance to put with our art supplies. I look for ones with landscapes, paintings from famous artists, animals, still-lifes, or flowers. They can be used as inspiration when your child cannot think of something to draw or paint.

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards are a great source of ideas. I try to save cards that the boys or I might like to use as a basic idea in our artwork. This idea is suggested in Mona Brooke’s Drawing with Children book.

Your children need good ideas to spark their own creativity. A steady diet of worthy inspiration is worth the time it takes to put the idea portfolio together.


Additional Art Inspiration Entries:

Building on Picture Study: This is as simple as enjoying a painting, closely observing the details and style, and then expressing in words what you see in the painting. We study a few paintings by the same artist before we move onto the next one. Using this simple method, we always have something fresh to look at and to enjoy.

Making Room for Creativity: Creativity leads to a mess which of course can be cleaned up, but it can be an eye sore as the project unfolds. I’ve had to hurdle the idea that messy is bad…..changing my thinking to messy is just a stage. I trained my kids to clean up as much as possible and tidy the work space as you go along.

HFA Grade 1 Cover Image

I’ve written simple to use art appreciation plans for homeschooling families after many year’s experience with my own children. I highly recommend my Harmony Fine Arts Grade 1 plans as an easy way to get started with this worthwhile subject. Each week is planned out for you to use with your whole family.

You can click here for a glimpse into the topics covered, the resources used, and a sample to print and view: Harmony Fine Arts Grade 1.



The Usborne Art Treasury: Pictures, Paintings, and Projects

The Usborne Art Treasury: Pictures, Paintings, and Projects

A Quick Review


There are many simple to use art appreciation resources available, but one that’s been used in my family and I continue to recommend is The Usborne Art Treasury by Rosie Dickins.  Readers often ask me what books to purchase for their art appreciation library and I always suggest taking a look at this resource.

The Usborne Art Treasury

Here are some specific reasons I enjoy this art resource:


  • Large, clear images of artwork featured.
  • A narrative that gives some interesting tidbits about the artwork and/or the artist.


  • Follow-up art projects based on the featured painting using art supplies and materials readily available.
  • Clear instructions that will give confidence to even beginning artists (and their moms!).
  • A variety of artists and art styles that will appeal to a wide range of ages.
  • 22 projects to spread out over the course of an entire school year or even over multiple years.
  • Projects can be done in any order and with very little preparation time.
  • Perfect for families to use all together and feel successful.


If you would like to read more of my art book suggestions, here is a link to a post I wrote a few years ago: Art Books: My Suggestions for a Basic Library.


Harmony Fine Arts Grade 1 Art and Music Plans

Note: This book is featured in my Harmony Fine Arts grade 1 art appreciation plans.

You can view a sample of these plans here: Harmony Fine Arts Grade 1 Sample

Art Appreciation Goals


Creating Art Goals for Homeschoolers

Art Appreciation Goals

From the Archives


This is the time of year that many families start formulating plans for the next school year. I always loved this time of planning and anticipating a new school year! If you’re in that position, you may want to consider using my Harmony Fine Arts plans with your family next year.

For families that follow along with Music Appreciation Monday and Sketch Tuesday, the Harmony Fine Arts plans may be your next step in art and music appreciation.

I invite you to read the Art Appreciation Goals entry from my archives, print out the printable version for your planning, and then take a look at the samples of plans from Harmony Fine Arts.

Harmony Fine Arts Purchase Now button

You can download a chart that shows the chronological sequence of the Harmony Fine Arts plans and a chart of specific artists and composers included in each year.

Overview Chart – Grades 1-12 general descriptions
Artist & Composer List – Grades 1-4 – specific artists and composers
Artist & Composer List – Grades 5-8 – specific artists and composers


Creating Art Appreciation Goals from Harmony Fine Arts

Printable: Art Appreciation Goals.


As an extra incentive, here’s a discount code to get you started. Use the code below and receive $5 off your purchase of any Harmony Fine Arts plans, Grades 1-8.
Discount Code: archive5

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