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Drawing With Children-Les 5 Chalk Pastels


Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes talks about chalk pastels in chapter five. She suggests that you try these after conte crayons so here are my ideas for adapting this lesson for your nature journal.

The good news is that although these are just as messy as the conte crayons, your children will probably enjoy them more. They are colorful and you get lots of bright bold colors on your page. They are not as smooth on the page as an oil pastel but they give you more color than a watercolor pencil.
chalk pastels 1
We have always enjoyed the way you can overlap the colors and you can see them blend on your page but they will break if you apply too much pressure.

You will need good paper, a kneaded eraser, and a fixative in order to use these in your nature drawings. I am still not convinced I would use them directly into my nature journal or carry chalk pastels in my backpack but if you are around the house and can use them on separate sheets of paper and then insert them into your journal, they are a nice change from colored pencils.
chalk pastel leaf

You can see how the leaf looks great but there is a mess on the page and the pastels broke when I was using them. You can still use them even when they get quite small though so just be prepared that your nice new box of pastels will soon be broken and messy.


How about a couple of videos that I made to get some additional ideas?

Chalk Pastel Video #1

Chalk Pastel Video #2

pastels pencils
I also tried the Pastels Pencils (Conte brand) and they were a little easier to use than the crayon sticks. They still have the same texture so they were a little scratchy on the paper and still made a little mess. If I had to choose, I would use the pencils but not in my nature notebook. The pencils were much easier to control and you could sharpen them to a point to get a nice sharp line.

chalk pastels fixative



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 for this Lesson

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

Learning to See: CM and Appreciation for Beauty

I read chapter 7 of volume 3 which discusses “An Adequate Educational Theory”. Once again, a very dull title to an important idea regarding what we should think about when we are “educating” our children. This chapter is so full of thoughtful ideas and statements that it is impossible for me to summarize it all. I highly recommend your taking 20 minutes or so to read the chapter yourself and see what you think.

Chapter 7 Volume 2 School Education

I want to comment on something in this chapter that relates to art and how we as parents need to be offering opportunities for our children to see and experience things in a new way. Here’s a quote from page 77 that I would like to share with you:

“Appreciation for beauty usually comes after recognition. Notice how, from the time he’s little, this young child tries to capture a flower’s beautiful color and graceful form with his own paintbrush. A wise mother is careful to make her child aware and appreciative of stylized art. She has him look at a wild cherry tree from a distance, or a willow tree with its soft *****willows. Then she shows him how the picture on a Japanese screen has captured the very look of the thing without being an exact representation. When he compares a single *****willow or cherry blossom with the ones in the picture, he can see that the pictures aren’t attempts at exact duplication. From an early age, he learns the difference between painting what we actually see, and painting what we know is there even if we don’t see it. He learns that it’s more satisfying to try to paint what is actually seen.”

This learning to see things as they are and not as we think they should be is an important step in art education. It means that we can take time to look deeply at an object and see it as it is and not as our mind thinks it is. The best example of this is when your children try to draw things like human faces and human hands. These are things that they have seen hundreds of times but have they truly “seen” them. This is why young children draw hands with five fingers all sticking out. They understand that a hand needs five fingers on it but that is not what we usually see when we look at someone’s hands. We see parts of hands, parts of fingers, and hardly ever the palm facing out. This is where we see the struggle of the child trying to draw what he thinks a hand should look like as opposed to what he really see. The same thing happens when children draw ears and noses and mouths. They end up drawing the symbol for what they think are these facial features instead of what they really appear to be on the human face. Interesting stuff.

drawing of mom B My son drew this when he was about 5 years old. Yes, it is supposed to be me.
apple seeds B
Notice that my son drew the apple seeds that he knows are on the inside of the apple even though we are looking at the outside of the apple. Interesting.

We need to be able to say, “I see.” This is done by teaching our children to recognize what they are seeing and pointing out how other artists have solved these problems of drawing or painting what is actually seen.

Harmony Art Mom

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