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Drawing With Children: Les 5 Conte Crayons


Drawing With Children Lesson 5 begins our exploration of a variety of art mediums.

See the rest of the lessons linked at the bottom of this post.


Now we are getting down to the real meat of this book. The basics have been covered and now we are given some instruction and direction on what to try after we have tired of markers.
conte crayons
The first medium mentioned is Conte Crayon.…this I admit is not my favorite way to draw. It is messy and I don’t have much control. I have done some work with the conte crayons and to me, they are as messy as charcoal. You smudge and smear and then when you are finished, the end product, even if you have used a fixative, needs to be stored carefully or they make a big mess. Now I know there must be artists that enjoy these crayons but I gave them a try and I have moved on.
kneaded eraser
If you use the kneaded eraser that they suggest, you will want to keep it for using exclusively with the conte crayons otherwise you will make a smudgy mess on your next pencil project…..yes, I am speaking from experience.

I would not use these crayons with little ones. They break easily and they will probably not like the results. I would save these for at least middle school age children, if not high school….or better yet, college. 🙂
cat gesture drawing
Gesture drawing of my cat done with conte crayon

I would not recommend conte crayons for your nature journal. About the only thing I like to use conte crayons or charcoal for is to make “gesture drawings“. Drawing with Children talks a little bit about gesture drawing on pages 180-181. Basically it means a quick kind of drawing that you look quickly back and forth between the model and your drawing.


Here are the rest of the Lessons:

Lesson 1 – Getting Started

Lesson 2 – Drawing from Graphics

Lesson 3 – Still Life

Lesson 4 – Volume Drawing

Lesson 5 – Conte Crayons

Lesson 5 – Chalk Pastels

Lesson 5 – Drawing Pencils

Lesson 5 – Colored Pencils

Lesson 5 – Oil Pastels

Lesson 5 – Watercolors

Click to each lesson for adaptations, suggestions, and videos.


You can download all the Drawing With Children – Nature Journal Style Lesson Plans here: Drawing with Children Lesson 1 – Getting Started.


Cover Grade 4

Please note that Drawing With Children is part of the Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 Curriculum. You can click over to read more about this art and music appreciation plan here:

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Explanation

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Sample

The plans in Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 relate the lessons to a study of great art and artists. Please see page 9 in the sample linked above to get an idea how I do this in the plans.

Supplies Needed the Lesson Above

Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to products I own and recommend.

You Can Paint Pastels-Book Review

You Can Paint Pastels Video Tutorial @harmonyfinearts

I am always on the look out for good beginner’s art books and I found a gem this week. We are using oil pastels along with Artistic Pursuits Jr. High Level 2 this year. I needed a bit more direction than the book offered so I was hunting for something to use with my boys. I found You Can Paint Pastels.

Edit to add: This book is not available new on but there are lots of reasonably priced used copies for you to order. I think this book is worth finding used and using in your family.

You Can Paint Pastels

This post contains affiliate links.

I highly recommend You Can Paint Pastels by Marie Blake. It shows you step by step how to use this medium and it is simple to follow. My 11 year old son worked on the still life project this morning and had awesome results. I think for moms who are looking for help with their nature journals and how to actually draw realistic things in your journals, this will be a terrific help.

Contents include:
Basic materials
Color mixing
Foreground and distance
Light, shade, and shape
Exploring plants
Still Life
Animals and people

Here is a short video I made on how to use oil pastels for beginners: Oil Pastel Demonstration- Beginners.

Discovering Great Artists

Discovering Great Artists Review @harmonyfinearts

Here is a review of a book that I have been using for quite some time now.

Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Kim Solga can be seen around the homeschooling world quite a bit and I know a lot of different programs recommend it for a study of great artists. Here’s some pros and cons:

Things I Like About Discovering Great Artists

* The chart in the front shows the artist’s name, style, dates of lifetime, list of corresponding activities, and the level of difficulty
*Most activities give an example of a finished product
*Most materials we have on hand
*I love chapter 5 with examples of games and activities (Masters Scrapbook page 111 is a fabulous idea)

Things I Don’t Like About Discovering Great Artists
*I would have liked a list for each artist giving their major works so we could easily look them up. (See note below for a suggestion.)
*I wish the prints included in the book were in color for the children to look at and study

This book could easily be the basis for a whole year’s worth of art projects. They recommend the book for ages 4-12 but I would recommend it for ages 8-14. The art activities and the projects listed in the back will keep you busy.

Update: I just did a quick search of the Bright Ideas For Learning website (publishers of the book) and they now have a page that links to each of the artist’s work! Click the link above to check it out! They also have art activity cards that you can print out from their website. These cards can be printed in color and they include an artist’s print, short biography of the artist, and an additional art activity.

This book would be a great inexpensive choice for starting out on your journey to get to know artists while having some fun activities to try.

This post contains affiliate links.

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