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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.



Mom’s Tool Belt – Lifetime Membership

I have used Mom’s Tool Belt for the past three years and it has been such a valuable tool!  The printable planners and calendars available with the membership have helped me streamline my organization system, freeing up time for me to do other things. There are many beautiful varieties and styles to choose from…each year I have chosen a different theme for my household calendar.


Now, Mom’s Tool Belt is going to be offering lifetime memberships for a bargain price of $15.95 if you purchase your membership before December 31, 2012 (after that they go up to $24.95).


For the price of one fancy planner or calendar that you could buy at your local office supply store, you could have access to hundreds of printable pages that you can customize for your household use. What does the membership include exactly?

  • At-A-Glance calendar pages
  • Covers and spines to coordinate with your calendar pages
  • Household budget pages
  • Lots of homeschool planning and organizational pages
  • Home maintenance and chore pages
  • Menu planning (one of my favorite pages) and complete recipe binder pages
  • Shopping lists and blank lists for all reasons
  • Medical records

These are just a few of the many pages you can print as many times as you want for your planners.

One year I spiral-bound my calendar and last year I started using a 3-ring binder. I like the flexibility of the binder system so I am going to use it again this year. It took me less than 45 minutes to print out and then organize my whole 2013 calendar which included my household pages, homeschooling pages, and my business planner. I feel like I am all ready for a new year!

You can view my entry from last year and see exactly how I set up my 2012 calendar/planner: Homeschool Planners and Calendars.

I highly recommend Mom’s Tool Belt to anyone who wants a flexible, beautiful planner that you can print out year after year. Debra is continually adding new pages and making upgrades and with your lifetime membership you will never need to purchase another planner ever! Don’t hesitate…you will miss the extra special $15.95 price.

Moms Household Planner Lifetime Membership

Disclosure: I am affiliate for Mom’s Tool Belt but I have used this product for the past three years and can honestly recommend it to other moms.

Picture Study Using Art Calendars

This past summer I had the opportunity to work with a homeschool co-op making custom art and music appreciation plans for the up-coming year. They picked the artists and composers and I got to pull lots of fun ideas together for them to use as part of their weekly Fine Arts class.

Their co-op does something that I wanted to share with you because it is an awesome and inexpensive way to get art prints. They order older calendars on clearance from

Georgia O'Keeffe 2012 Wall Calendar
For instance, they ordered this Georgia O’Keeffe 2012 calendar for $3.49. For that price they received twelve oversized O’Keeffe prints to use in their picture study. I used the selections to build an art appreciation plan with follow-up activities.

They ordered four different calendars for each family, one for each of the artists they will study for the school year.

M.C. Escher Evolutions 2012 Wall CalendarPaul Klee 2012 Wall Calendar
I was so inspired that I went ahead and ordered a couple of calendars for our family picture study selections this year. I ordered this Paul Klee calendar and this M.C. Escher calendar too.

I have been using the Georgia O’Keeffe calendar in my homeschool co-op classes already. I went ahead removed the prints from the binding and each one can be displayed as we study it together. The kids really like being able to have a large print to work from.

I like the convenience and the reasonable investment. I will store the prints in a big art portfolio for future use after we have finished our study.

Note: I found free shipping by doing a Google search so I was able to get the two calenders with no shipping costs.

If you have a co-op that you would like me to consider writing customized art and music appreciation plans for in the future, send me an email. I would love to help you out….it was so much fun working with the River City Homeschool Adventures from Florida.

I am not an affiliate for I am passing this information along because it is something that I would have loved to have thought of doing with my boys. Such a simple idea and reasonably priced prints are always a welcome find.

Please visit and share with us at the CM blog carnival! We'd love to have you!I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: [email protected].

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