10 Simple Ways to Raise Happy Artists

by ParentCo. January 31, 2017

brother and sister finger painting

Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

It's impossible to start fostering a love for art to early. Surround your kid with opportunities for expression like the Baby Einstein + Hape Playful Painter Magic Touch Color Palette, which lets your little one explore colors, and rewards baby’s curiosity with lights and music. It fosters early exposure and comfortability with painting and expression, and bonus...there's zero mess involved. 

As a parent, it can be difficult to walk the line between encouraging our children’s passion and letting them know that they could make a career out of their art. Our culture has started recognizing art school as a good choice for some students, and the Internet has made it easier to get your art in front of potential clients and buyers.

Regardless of their future career choices, art is valuable to every kid

If your children have an interest in art, here are 10 ways to help them grow into artists without taking the fun out of their art:

Find art in your everyday life

Point out art in places that your kids might not have noticed. Show them notebook covers, book jackets, coffee mugs, stationary, magazine illustrations, and cell phone covers. It’s important that your children see the need for art and realize it doesn’t only exist in museums. Point out the art in your city. Sculptures, statutes, murals, and even billboards require art.

Introduce your children to adults who make art

It’s important for your children to meet adult artists and see that they are normal people. Animators and video game designers can seem mythical or unobtainable, but if you know someone who does art or design in any capacity, let your children learn about how they make a living and that they didn’t simply luck into their job.

(Some children can be shy around adults, especially when discussing something they are proud of, so take care not to put them on the spot in front of a stranger.)

Remind them that experimentation is part of the process

Sometimes it can seem like drawings or paintings are either good or bad, and it can be frustrating to make a mistake that cannot be fixed. Remind your children that not every art project has to be a final product. Encourage your children to doodle and keep experimenting with different ideas and mediums as a form of play.

Sometimes they’ll make something impressive. Other times they might decide they don’t like charcoals or drawing horses. That’s okay, too.

Introduce them to tutorials without overwhelming them

Tutorials on sites like Youtube or SkillShare can provide a great foundation for learning specific skills. But discourage your child from making comparisons between their ability and the teacher’s. Remind them that the teacher had to practice for a long time to become that good.

Also, watch that your child doesn’t lose their creative “voice” by simply mimicking what they’ve seen. Mimickry can be good for learning, but allow their attention to return to topics, mediums, and styles that interest them personally.

Remind them that other school subjects are still important

Our culture tends to put art into a separate category from other school subjects because it’s not required, or it’s only taught for a limited period of time. Remind your child that they will still need math to make their own canvases or handle the business side of their creative lives. They’ll need English to write proposals, grants, and artist’s statements.

Encourage them to look for inspiration in other school subjects

While artists may not need science to be artists, they can use the subject for inspiration, whether they paint spacescapes, illustrate books about scientists, or sculpt abstract representations of illnesses.

If your child is struggling in history, perhaps drawing the event will make it easier to remember the details. Perhaps they can find an Instagram account that covers the topic visually.

Encourage them to share their art

Consider letting your child open their own Instagram account to share doodles or comics or half-finished sculptures. Show your children Etsy or other websites that let you upload art to sell. Point out what sort of items are for sale and for how much.

Let this serve as inspiration for their own work. If they’re old enough, help your children set up an account to sell their own work. (Make sure to right-size expectations so they don’t get discouraged if their sales aren’t immediate or don’t amount to much at first.)

Shut down all talk of “selling out”

Most people have moved on from the idea that selling your art is “selling out,” but some people still believe that art is personal and should only be sold to certain people. Remind your children that making art on demand is a fine way to make a living, and that it’s important to set the price accordingly.

Discourage the false notion of “getting a real job”

Some artists make a living wage from their art alone. Others have a second job to have more financial stability, more variety in their day, or less pressure on themselves to make a lot of art.

All of these options are reasonable and depend on the individual and their situation. But it’s important to downplay influences who say your kids shouldn’t even try to be an artist at all.

Don’t let your own feelings affect your children’s love for art

If your children start making art about snakes, it’s not your place to tell them that snakes are gross. If a drawing isn’t as perfect as you think it could be, take a step back and decide whether you have anything constructive to say, and whether your child is ready for constructive criticism.

Perhaps you’ll feel dismayed if your child starts losing interest in art. If you force art on them or continually express your disappointment, they may lose interest in you as well.



Also in Conversations

aerial view family members sweeping the road
No, Really, Your Kids Need to Do Chores

by Mark Oliver

As a member of the household, and in the interest of building skills that they'll need for a lifetime, your kids should be doing chores. Here's the case for why.

Continue Reading

baby playing
5 Things to Know about Baby’s First Steps

by Hannah Howard

For your little one, walking means entering a whole new stage of life, where the world is their oyster. Here’s what to know as your little one learns to walk.

Continue Reading

girl with flower
7 Mess-free Ways to Teach your Child about the Environment

by Maria Dontas

If you’re a busy parent looking for easy, dirt-free ways to celebrate our Earth with your child all year long, here are 7 fun, simple ideas to try with your family.

Continue Reading