Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sonheim

Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun
by Carla Sonheim
Quarry Books, an imprint of The Quarto Group. 2019

I have kept a sketchbook to record my thoughts in words and drawings since 2016. I love the daily practice, yet sometimes I need motivation to know what to draw. In March of 2022, I signed up for a daily practice series called, Sketchbook Revival hosted by artist, Karen Abend. Each day you receive an email with two, 45-50 minute workshops led by an artist. The purpose of Sketchbook Revival is to inspire, energize, and revive your sketchbook habit with inspiration, tips, and techniques to support a creative practice. 

Why do I bring this up? One of the presenters was Carla Sonheim, an artist, who was so very inspirational I just had to request one her books from my local public library.  Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists is a year’s worth of “assignments, projects, ideas, and techniques” that will inspire ways to bring art into your life. 

The book is divided up into seven Units of inspiration with a wide variety of mixed-media activities. Each Unit contains 7 or 8 Labs with clear instructions on that particular activity. For example, Unit 4 : Inspired by Famous Artists,  bases each exercises on six artists (Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso Joan MirĂ³, Paul Klee, Amedeo Modigliani, and Dr. Seuss. Each Lab is an opportunity for artists to discover their own unique style by studying these masters by doing blind contour drawing, tracing the Masters to drawing with your non-dominate hand. Pencils, crayons, collage, watercolors are just a few of the tools used.

This book, and others in the Quarry Lab series, are a refreshing source of ideas for creating art with all ages. You could base a year-long teen art program using the ideas from this book.

And, don’t we all need a little bit of inspiration to spark our creativity from time to time? Especially, as we await warmer temperatures, at least here in the Northeast.

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