The Dot & Ish Childrens’ Books Art Lessons

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds is not only one of my favorite childrens’ books, but it is also one of my personal favorites. As a teacher and an artist, I find it incredibly inspiring for both children and adults.
The Dot is a story about a little girl named Vashti who doesn’t have much faith in her self as an artist. One day at the end of art class, Vashti has yet to draw anything but her art teacher encourages Vashti to “make a mark, and see where it takes you.” Frustrated and annoyed, Vashti slams her pen down on the paper creating a small, single dot.” Her art teacher sees something more than just a black dot and Vashti comes to art class next week to find her dot framed in gilded gold and hanging behind the teacher’s desk. This sparks Vasthi’s creativity and her belief in herself. From there on out, Vasthi can’t be stopped!

I love it because it inspires the reader into believing in themselves. So, for the last art class, I read the book at the beginning of the class to the students and then let them go crazy with markers and pens. They took their assignment very seriously and came up with some beautiful and unique “Dots”:

I was so impressed with how much they loved the book and how excited they were to do this activity. If you need a filler or an opener for an art class, I would def. recommend it. Just read the book, and let your kids go crazy with blank paper and markers.

Also, worth reading to your kids is Ish also by Peter H. Reynolds, and it has the same sort of artistic inspirational message. Reynolds has a great website that is full of ideas and activities. He also answers questions from students: http://www.peterhreynolds.com/dot/

And of course…I had to do some of my own Dot inspired artwork:

watercolor crayons 

acrylic paints on a moleskin journal 

Van Gogh and Seurat Art Projects



For the last couple of weeks, we have been working on two completing two large murals. I’ve mentioned http://www.artprojectsforkids.org in the past and my newly found love for the murals she creates that you can download.

For the individuals I work with, whom have various developmental disabilities, the projects have turned out to be a wonderful art activity. The members of the program have really enjoyed working together on the murals and it has been a great collaborative project. Each mural comes can be downloaded from artprojectsforkids.org for $5.00 a piece and the file is yours to keep and use forever.

For Van Gogh’s Starry Night, we used oil pastels and then laminated the project so the pastels wouldn’t smear. I really love how this one turned out.


We used regular old Crayola markers for Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette and then used elmer’s glue and modge podge to create a glossy smeared finish that made the mural look more like a painting…

Now we just need a place to hang them!