We recently opened up a retail space in our art studio. I wanted it to be filled with all the things that I’ve tried countless times with my kids and had great success with. We have amazing spin art kits, painting kits with my favorite brushes and watercolor palettes, and the best hammers ever for kids. It’s a small little area but great if you need a birthday gift or holiday gift or just something special for your child.
I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has come by the studio already to make a purchase. It definitely feels very exciting to see these sweet Meri Cherry labels flying off the shelves. We’ve made about six rounds of spin art kits already. I think these wood art mannequins for observational drawing are a little harder to understand and maybe a bit more intimidating for some parents and kids so I thought I could shed a little light here.
*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!
My friend Jean at The Artful Parent has been doing this for years also and has written several great posts already. You can check out her advice and experiences here.
a wood art mannequin for observational drawing
watercolor pencils (I haven’t used these yet but they look good)
a paint brush
If you like this idea and would like to purchase an art mannequin kit, please send an email to email@example.com. We’d be happy to send one your way.
Here, I’ll share why I love these wood art mannequins so much and the potential they offer. First, there is the obvious. They just look so cool. That’s a given right? But there is a lot more to them than that. I brought two art mannequin kits home to my daughters and here was our experience.
Gigi, who is five and half, took her mannequin, layed it down on her paper and began to trace it. In a million years I don’t think I would have thought to do that, which is one of the many reasons I love process art. If we give our children freedom to think outside the box, that is exactly what they’ll do.
Tracing lasted for a few minutes or so and then she just observed what I was doing and what her sister was doing. I suggested to look for shapes in the mannequin that you can draw on your paper. Gigi asked me to show her one, which I always hesitate to do because then you can get into the comparison game with your child, where they compare their work to yours. In general, I would recommend asking your child to help you or say, I’ll do the first shape I see and then maybe you can help me draw some others, and make it collaborative. I started with the head and worked my way down.
Gigi was very into coloring my example which freed her up to do her own after.
Here is her version below. After you work on it in pencil, you can trace it over with a sharpie and add color details too, or just leave as a pencil drawing. Our art mannequins come with little watercolor pencils that are easy to use and great for coloring on paper and other things as well.
My younger daughter Didi, got her mannequin out of the box, played with it a little and then got right to painting it with the watercolor pencils.
You can dip them directly in water or dip your brush in water and use over the watercolors.
I love seeing kids work on natural wood. It always feels so fresh. Watercolor on wood is a perfect combo.
When Didi saw Gigi making a person she wanted to make one too, so we got out a big piece of paper and she drew her own body. She asked me to help color some parts and add a rainbow to the side. Sometimes I try to make “wrong” rainbows just to show my kids that there are so many ways to do things. Everything doesn’t have to look the same.
Didi loves her little digital camera. She’s 4 and wants to be just like her mama. Whenever I have my camera out D wants to get her’s as well. It was so cool to see her taking pics of her artwork.
*See my post 5 Big Ticket Purchases I Don’t Regret Buying My Kids here. The camera is on the list.
We finished up there but I will definitely get these out again and set up an invitation to create with them. Maybe with white chalk and a black piece of paper next time to switch it up so they don’t feel like they did it already. Trying to stay one step ahead of these little monkeys isn’t always easy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our experience. Thanks for reading along! xo, Meri