ARTistic Pursuits: Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary ~ a Crew review

K-3 art book cover

Creating is always a welcome activity and when I heard about the new video lessons from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. for their K-3 level books, I was very intrigued. The series is ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray; we received Volume 1 of the series – Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary. When all of the books are released, there will be a total of eight (8) books.

instructional discs for K-3 art

Art for Children works with the student to teach them variety of words related to art creation. The book is a hardback book that is printed in full color. There are 18 lessons total. Six (6) of the lessons are video only lessons and 12 of them are text only lessons. The book comes with two discs for the video lessons – one is a DVD only disc and one is a Blu-ray. Both discs contain the exact same information and the video quality is the same.

Through the book, students will explore several different areas of art and discover how artists see the world. They will experience composition, imagination, oberservation,  and communication. They will work with shape, form, and texture while studying landscapes, still life, animals, and portraits.

The book begins with a page letting you know what materials you will need for all of the projects. There is also a short explanation of the teaching philosophy for ARTistic Pursuits.

video and book

Each of the video lessons have a single page in the book so that you know where they belong. There is materials information and a couple of steps to follow but there is no instruction written for these lessons. I think this is a shortcoming of this book. You must watch the video in order to complete the video lessons so if you don’t have access to a video player or your disc gets broken, you no longer can complete this lesson.

The video starts with an introduction by hostess Ariel Holcomb. The introduction is followed by instruction and examples by art teacher Brenda Ellis. All you see of the instruction is a video of the artist’s hands with a voice over for the instruction. It is very good instruction on how to use the materials for the lesson and the steps to follow for the project in the lesson. It is concluded with a review of the information and steps to take. Then you are to go create the project on your own. This is where having written instructions would be really helpful. For the paper folding lesson, I had to stand there with the remote control in my hand, pausing every few seconds after each instruction on how to fold the animal’s head. It worked but it was not simple.

working on a special day painting

The text lessons are fantastic. Each text lesson includes an introduction to the idea covered and is then followed by a reproduction of a work of art by a master. For example, in the texture lesson the work is The Sunflower 1906-07 by Klimt. This master work is studied and some questions are asked to help the student really focus on the art. Then the student’s project is set out for them to complete with images to help guide the student.

Each text lesson includes some preparation notes for the teacher/parent. The materials tend to be found in the midst of the lesson, rather than clearly at the front, but they are there.

Each lesson, whether video or text, can be done in about 30 minutes, depending on how much effort the student desires to put into the project creation. The lessons are designed to do approximately one lesson per week. We were able to make it through most of this book, as it was a joy to do more than one lesson a week. We often did one lesson a day and I had to stop her to get other work done.

Miss J just finished up her 3rd grade year; she is 9 years old. I chose this book for her in order to get the instructional videos of the use of materials. It was good to have some instruction on how to use the specific materials. Sometimes Miss J felt they were fine and other times she felt as though she were too old for the instruction.


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We have used ARTistic Pursuits Inc. in the past and I like the instruction that is included. I like the fact that master works are included and that students have freedom in how they apply the concept to their own work. This is not a program where they study line and then everyone draws the same thing. They might study line but then the student is encouraged to find a new place where they see the ideas of line used and create their art from that new thing. This is great for solidifying the concepts for the students.

working on her artwork

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this ARTistic Pursuits Inc. program. I like the format but it could use some tweaking. I don’t know that I would purchase the program because to get the entire series would take a commitment, though I am interested in the idea behind the focus on culture in the other volumes of the series.

At Home.

Read more about ARTistic Pursuits and their K-3 art program by clicking the banner below. Other families used volumes 2-4.


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10 thoughts on “ARTistic Pursuits: Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary ~ a Crew review

  1. Meredith Curtis June 11, 2018 at 7:30 am Reply

    Thanks for your review! It was really helpful.

  2. Brenda June 12, 2018 at 8:28 am Reply

    Hi Lori. Thanks so much for the review. In what ways would you like to see the format tweaked? At ARTistic Pursuits we always have an ear open to the opinions of our customers and strive to provide a quality art program that is easy for homeschoolers to use. I’d love to hear back.

    • 3gigglygirlsathome June 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm Reply

      Hello, Mrs. Ellis!

      I would love to see the printed instructions for all video lessons. There are times where you just don’t have access to the video lesson and there is no way to do the lesson without it. The techniques are so important and I loved having my girl learn them. Having those written would also be good for anyone who has a hearing disability, as I could not get the closed caption to turn on for the disc. Perhaps this is something you could add as a link on your website? I don’t know how you would protect that yet it still be available for current owners of the program but it would be really helpful, especially in the video of folding the animal head. I had to pause that video every few seconds while my daughter was trying to fold the paper so that she could follow along.

      I also would love to see a bit more of the discussion about the printed works of art. I know in your previous version of this series, which we own, you seemed to have more focus on those master works. I really liked that. There seemed to be more meat to the program in the previous book and some of that depth of history is missing.

      Overall, I definitely recommend your program to anyone who asks. It is fabulous and I love that you have created a way for students to correlate their learning to historical periods. The video addition is fantastic, as seeing the use of the different products is so helpful!

      Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to review your new setup. I am hoping to get my hands on a copy of another one of the books soon to see exactly what the historical parts are like as my daughter has just one lesson left in this book. – Lori

  3. Annette V June 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm Reply

    I can see the value in having the video instruction written down as well.. if only the specifics steps where stopping would be necessary.

  4. Brenda June 13, 2018 at 11:40 pm Reply

    Thank you Lori, for taking the time to let me know the specifics of what you’d like to see. I think you will find the more specific (meaty) information in the books when you get to the history books (Vol.2-8). This one is very close in content to the first half of our 2013 editions of K-3 Book One. There’s intentional simplicity in the writing to reach that Kindergartner as well as those who are a few years older. I do see the value of having some of the video lessons written down, especially the folded paper one, however due to the costs of additional pages, these pages would not appear in the book. We may add something like that to our web site. We will definitely store that one away and someday find a way to do this. Thanks again for your review. We appreciate it very much.

  5. […] Fine Arts: Artistic Pursuits […]

  6. […] were able to review Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, K-3 Vol. 1 last year. It was as enjoyable as volume […]

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