Q: My child is showing an interest in drawing and design. He/she seems to have talent and potential. What can I do and what equipment can I get to encourage my budding artist?
Wow! That’s super! What a supportive cool parent you are! Don’t worry, I’ve got very simple, easy advice for you. You can watch the video above where I share my personal experience of growing up with parents who encouraged me to follow my dreams, and how you can pass on similar to support to your child. The links below are the resources I refer to. You can also always check out my blog if you need this handy! This is all available there, too.
You don’t necessarily have to register for an art class, especially now when there might not be one available. You can create your own curriculum on YouTube. Don’t want your child navigating YoutTube? No prob, just create a playlist of the videos I share below. When you have time, check out some related videos with or for your child, and expand the playlist.
1. Drawing cartoons with Mark Kistler
I love all of his videos, I grew up on this wholesome stuff!
2. Cartooning with Christopher Hart
Another name I grew up with! Hart is an amazing teacher, and I’m about to recommend his books below!
3. Coloring Your Pencil Drawing in Photoshop
I talk more about Photoshop vs Procreate below
4. A Relaxing Procreate Painting Tutorial
TRADITIONAL DRAWING TOOLS
Not ready to invest in digital equipment? This is all you need:
A graphite pencil set, a sketchbook, and a kneaded eraser.
Then check out the series of Pencil Drawing Disney Tutorials! All you need is the traditional equipment to follow along and learn amazing drawing skills in the process!
DIGITAL DRAWING: Photoshop vs. Procreate
Head’s up: check out this blog post where I cover most of the basics about programs and equipment.
I used Photoshop since the age of 8. I was self-taught, so I thoroughly believe that ANYONE can learn Photoshop. Creative Cloud now has built-in tutorials for subscribers, so once you install Photoshop, you can click around to learn basic tools and functions. Devices like the iPad were not available way back in the ancient times of my childhood, so I feel like had it been, I would have picked an iPad Pro over working on my computer. BUT the advantage of working on the computer was that I picked up lots of graphic design skills. I really believe that learning Photoshop will get you FAR in life.
You don’t have much flexibility to be a designer on iPad Pro apps, like Procreate (Can someone create a vector-based app loaded with fonts like Adobe Illustrator, PLEASE). So if you or your child have an interest in graphic design, stick to the computer and invest in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. (You can use InDesign to create a beautiful portfolio!) Otherwise, it might be worth looking into the iPad Pro which the whole family can use and enjoy with WiFi access.
A great starter tablet for computer users that I recommend is the Wacom Intuos Pro. It’s affordable (compared to the screen tablets which are about $600+) and will allow your child to draw in Photoshop using a digital pen! You will need to pay a monthly Creative Cloud subscription fee to have access to Photoshop, but free trials are available if you want to test it out.
Disclaimer: I did not read these or see them in person, but I did a little research, and here’s what I found for children who would like to improve their cartooning skills:
1. Cartooning Kids by Mike Artell
This seems like a great option for younger children, ages 5+
2. Cartoon Faces & Cartooning: The Ultimate Character Design Book, by Christopher Hart
These include many great technical skills that your children can implement into their own work. It’s not a “step by step” or “trace and copy” style, rather a lesson in drawing mechanics. This is probably more appropriate for older children who are ready to learn how to draw.
Not everyone wants to hear where they can improve. It’s always nicer to hear “YOU’RE AMAZINGGG”, but we can’t get better that way. Your child will be mature enough for feedback on artwork by the age of 13-16, with an understanding that this is criticism to improve a skill. My first portfolio review at 16 could have been described as brutal, but I went in with an open mind and eagerness to get better.
I attended art events for portfolio reviews. New York Comic Con was my go-to, but smaller art festivals like MoCCA are worth looking into to meet some successful pros with wisdom to share. If you’re on the west coast, the D23 Expo is a great event for portfolio reviews. I walked up to any artist I recognized there and asked for feedback. It was incredible having my work reviewed by top talent and learning from the masters. Unfortunately, these event schedules might be different this year, so keep an eye out for events and scheduling in your area.
If your child is interested in cartooning, I’m happy to review your child’s work. You can share 1-2 drawings for some feedback!
Whew, I hope this topic wasn’t too arduous to navigate through! And I certainly hope you found it helpful! While all this is geared toward helping kids, of course you can pick up a tutorial or book to learn, too! No matter your age, if there’s passion and interest there, explore it! You might uncover some hidden talent!
Be safe! Stay creative!