Archive for the ‘IF Kids’ Category

IF Kids: What Artists Do with Tape


"Sum Times" by Aakash Nihalani

Tape, that sticky stuff we use to seal packages and mend pipes, is a flexible medium for creating art, whether paintings, sculptures or installations.  With the range of colors and patterns now available, the possibilities are endless.  Brooklyn-based artist Aakash Nihalani uses it to draw attention to the mundane, filling the space with wonder and surprise, while Rebecca Ward uses it to make her intricate, large and colorful installations.

Tape Art Work (1)


Want to try making art with tape?  Here are a few blog filled with ideas to get you started!

Use it as a stencil or masking device when painting.
IF Kids Project – April 17, 2013
Laurie Freeman’s Blog

Make a collage.
Mother of All Trips
Art Projects for Kids

Create a sculpture.
Creative Jewish Mom

Posted by Thomas James on 05/01/13 under IF Kids,Projects
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What Artists Do with Paper

Jen Stark Piece of an Infinite Whole

While paper is frequently used in drawings it is a less common material for sculptures.  Jen Stark slices through layers of paper to create her colorful works of art.  The colors explode forward or draw the viewer closer into her galaxy.

Jen Stark Coriolis Effect

Jen Stark Radial Reverie


Jen Stark Sunken Sediment


Interested in trying your own hand at making art with layers of paper?  Check out these blogs for some fabulous ideas for kids (of all ages!).

Small Hands Big Art :: Topographic Paper Sculpture Art

GMG Art :: Paper Lace and Layers

Schutz Art ::  Paper Molas

Show us what you created!   We would love to see them!  Post them on our IF Kids Facebook page .

Posted by Thomas James on 04/24/13 under IF Kids,Projects,reviews
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IF Kids Project :: Masking Watercolors

IFkids_banner  masked watercolors 3


Watercolors are a flexible medium.  One technique to create layers is to mask areas of the paper prior to adding a wash
of color.

You will need:

  • watercolor paper
  • flat watercolor brush (size 2-4)
  • watercolors
  • painter’s or masking tape
  • non-stick scissors

Let’s create!

masking watercolor


For this sample I used painter’s tape which for some reason I have in abundance around my home.  You could also use
masking tape.  I don’t recommend regular tape as it is difficult to remove.  For the star, I cut two triangles and then overlapped them.masking watercolors 2

Add several washes of watercolor.  As I was going for a night sky theme, I chose blues and purples.

Allow your paper to dry thoroughly.  If you are anxious to see the results, use a hair dryer or heat gun to speed up the drying process.  Once dry, remove the tape and proceed with the rest of your painting!

Show us what you created!   We would love to see them!  Head over to the IF Kids Facebook page or my Facebook page to share them!

Posted by Thomas James on 04/17/13 under IF Kids,Projects
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Kate Moross is THE coolest.

Post by Clio.





I had the utmost pleasure of hearing British illustrator and designer Kate Moross speak last weekend at the Offset Design Conference in Dublin.

At just 27 years old Moross blew the crowd away with her witty banter, unbelievable charm and incredible work. Never taking herself or her work too seriously Moross gave the crowd advice on fear (ignore it), the creative ‘wall’ (it doesn’t exist) and following one’s desires (always, always).

Kate Moross is unbelievably cool and mature and you’ll want to hop on twitter right away and follow her. Be sure to check out her website too for more beautifully illustrated type work and video work and design work and branding and clothing and shoes and and and…is there anything this girl can’t do?

Posted by Thomas James on 04/12/13 under cartoon,Clío,creativity,design,digital,Lettering,pattern
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IF Kids :: Three Primary Colors



Teach your children about the primary colors with this catchy song by OK Go for Sesame Streetthen make this recipe for finger paint and do a little color experimenting of your own.

Posted by Thomas James on 04/03/13 under IF Kids,Projects,reviews
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IF Kids Project :: Glue Prints


Illustration Friday, Glue Print, IF Kids

Earth Day is in less than a month.  Let’s celebrate by making some glue prints using recycled cardboard.  This project
couldn’t be easier.

You will need:
liquid glue
water soluble printing ink
1-2 brayers
drawing paper or construction paper
plastic tray
brown paper or newspaper

Let’s create!

1.   Prepare your work surface.
Cover your table with newspaper or brown paper to protect it. This process is slightly messy, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution.  Don’t forget to put on your apron!

2.  Sketch out your idea.
Cut out a piece of cardboard to the size of the image you want. Sketch your design on the cardboard.  The trick is to make the image simplistic.  Details tend to get lost.

3.  Make your printing plate.
Once you have an image you like, trace it with glue.  If young artists are working on this project, remind them not to squeeze the bottle too hard or they will get glue blobs.  Of course, glue blobs could be an interesting effect, but only if desired.  Allow the glue to thoroughly dry before proceeding.

4.   Ink your tray.
Squeeze a small amount of ink onto the center of the plastic tray.  Smooth out the ink with a brayer.  Don’t have too much fun squishing it around!  The ink dries quickly.

5.   Ink your printing plate.
Roll the ink across the surface of your printing plate.  Move your brayer in different directions to get the best coverage possible.

Illustration Friday, Glue Prints, IF Kids Project

6.   Make the print.
Center your paper over the printing plate and press into place.  Run your hands across the surface of the paper adding pressure.  If you have another brayer you can roll it over the surface or use the back of an old wooden spoon. Once you’ve pressed the paper all across the printing plate, peel it back to see your print.

You can see from these two samples that the image on the left is darker, more ink has been transferred from the plate to the paper.  A brayer was used to press the paper onto the print plate.  The image on the right illustrates how it will look when you only rub your hands across the surface.

The vertical lines are caused by the under surface of the corrugated cardboard.  If you want less texture, make your plate from old file folders, tagboard or cut up shoe boxes.  Their surfaces are smooth and will provide a more neutral background.

glueprint4    glueprint3

7.   Clean up.
Place your art aside to dry.  Use warm, sudsy water to wash your tray and brayer. Allow to air dry.  Recycle the newsprint.

Frame your prints, add them to the refrigerator gallery or use them as the highlight of a handmade card. Hint – this process is also perfect for making Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards!

Show us what you created!   We would love to see them!  Head over to the IF Kids Facebook page or my Facebook page to share them!

Posted by Thomas James on 03/27/13 under Authors,IF Kids,Lindsay,Projects
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IF Kids :: The Perfect Pencil Point

Ghetti Alphabet
Dalton Ghetti carves miniature sculptures from discarded pencils, stubs worn with age and forgotten on the ground.  He reworks them with careful precision, some sculptures no larger than a grain of sand.  Using a sewing needle to carefully whittle away the graphite, his sculptures can take years to create.
Ghetti Boot  Ghetti Little House

David Rees on the other hand takes the craft of pencil sharpening in a different direction, striving for the perfect point.  Ever since hearing his recent radio interview on NPR, I’ve become obsessed with the desire to own a pencil certified as a dangerous object.  In this case, perhaps it’s the pencil that’s mightier than the sword.

Do you have a collection of pencil stubs you can’t bear to toss out?  Do you collect pencils with your name or from each o f the 50 states?  We would love to see them!  Photograph your collection and show us over on Illustration Friday Kids Facebook page.

Posted by Thomas James on 03/20/13 under IF Kids
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IF Book Bliss :: Flotsam

Book Bliss << Illustration Friday

Post by Penelope

As the mother of a kiddo who’s in love with picture books (what kid isn’t?), I thought I’d start sharing some of our favorites here on the ol’ IF Blog in a new “Book Bliss” series. These are books that are wonderfully illustrated with great stories. Fun indeed! I hope you’ll enjoy!

Book Bliss: Flotsam by David Wiesner << Illustration Friday

The first one I’d like to rave about is called Flotsam by David Wisner. Have you seen this book? It’s amazing.

Here’s the description from Amazon:
“A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.”

Book Bliss: Flotsam by David Wiesner << Illustration Friday

Book Bliss: Flotsam by David Wiesner << Illustration Friday

David Wiesner’s detailed illustrations surely spark the imagination with images of puffer fish hot air balloons soaring through the sky, starfish islands tottering around tiny whales and sea shell homes perched on turtle shells. One of my favorite images is of a family of octopuses in their underwater living room. It’s just great — so detailed and funny.

Book Bliss: Flotsam by David Wiesner << Illustration Friday

David Wiesner is one of the best-loved and most highly acclaimed picture book creators in the world. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have won numerous awards in the United States and abroad. Flotsam won a Caldecott Medal in 2007. David also shares his process on his website!

Check out Flotsam for yourself… It’s definitely one to own even if you don’t have kids. You’ll love it!

Posted by Thomas James on 03/20/13 under books,children's illustrators,IF Kids
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What Artists Do With Glue

Gossamer Balls


When introducing children to a material or medium, I like to give them an overview of what artists have been doing with it.  It pushes them to consider it beyond a basic level. Michelle Kong always gets a WOW!  She works primarily in hot glue and has mastered its use to create ethereal works that play with light.  Afterward I have to be careful with my hot glue stash or my high school students will run through it as they experiment!


Posted by Thomas James on 03/14/13 under IF Kids
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IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho of Chicken Girl Designs

Name: Jannie Ho
Location: Boston, MA
Primary Medium: Digital/vector

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

1. Tell us about yourself / What makes you tick?
Hi, my name is Jannie Ho (pronounced Jane-nee) and I’m an illustrator specializing in children’s books and products. I went to Parsons School of Design with a BFA in illustration. I’m also known as Chicken Girl. Because who doesn’t like a chicken or two?

2. How did you get started as an illustrator?
After I left school, I worked as a designer and art director, before deciding that illustration was my true passion. I think I had a lot of years of self doubt, and when I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and she talked about “shadow artists,” it really hit home. So while I was working at the full time design job, I slowly went back to build my illustration portfolio while taking continuing education classes at School of VIsual Arts. I signed with a rep and was working the full time job and doing freelance illustration on the side. Eventually I made the transition to being a freelance illustrator full time.

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

3. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
When I started to learn Adobe Illustrator, I felt like that medium lends itself well to what I imagine my style would be like. It took years of being out of school before I found my style. But with that said, my style is always changing (and should change.) It has changed a lot since I started 7 years ago. Lately I feel a big shift coming over me and there is a huge hurdle I have to overcome. The style I can imagine in my head is not the way it is on paper at the moment. But so it goes — that is part of the process.

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

4. Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc?
I work 99% in Illustrator. I use to do pencil sketches, scan them in, and draw on top of my sketch. But since a lot of client work has quick turnarounds, I began doing grayscale vector art as a sketch, straight on the computer. If the project calls for a certain subject matter or theme, I like to do some image searches just to get the ideas flowing. And for fresh color palettes, I like for inspiration. It always gives me something new and prevents me from using the same old palettes.

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

5. How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?
I have to say I don’t really keep a sketch book for ideas. However, I always have various digital files I started with different little artworks. I listen to podcasts and free play, building a scene, making characters. My ideas flow this way.

6. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?
Yes, of course! Switching projects always helps. I try to stagger projects to keep the creative juices flowing. I really do believe in having time away from a creative problem and trust your subconscious do some work. When I get back to it, there are always new and fresh solutions. I understand this may not be optimal for client work and short deadlines. But even going for a short walk helps.

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

7. Best / most fun part of your job:
Creating a world of my own. I can be an interior designer, fashion designer, furniture designer, etc. in my illustrations. I get to draw all day — sometimes I work on projects that I would do on my own for free… but don’t tell the client that!

8. Worst / most difficult part of your job:
The feast and famine of freelancing life can be tough. Working from home can be a lonely thing, even for those of us who enjoys solitude. Thank goodness for the internet that illustrators can connect with each other through social media.

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

9. Do you have side projects you work on?
I always like to have something going on the side. I started an ABCs series which started as a promo card but then it was so much fun that I continued with them. I also enjoy writing and illustrating comics and this is something I feel I can get more personal with. As much as I enjoy children’s publishing, it is nice to work on something more “grown up.”

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

10. What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you can share with us?
I have a wonderful board book series coming out with Nosy Crow, called Tiny Tabs. The first 2 titles, Teeny Weeny Lost His Mummy, and Bunny Boo Lost Her Teddy, is being released in April 2013. I also have a pop-up gift book coming out in the fall, published by Campbell Books.

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

IF Interview :: 10 Questions with Jannie Ho

* * * * *

 5 things inspiring you/your work right now:
my daughter
limited color palette

3 constants in your day:

Your #1 art tip or words of wisdom:
It will always be an uphill battle, so just enjoy the process and the journey. Take time to celebrate achievements along the way. Believe in your work. Never give up.

* * * * *

Thank you so much, Jannie Ho!

Posted by Thomas James on 03/13/13 under cartoon,children's art,children's illustrators,digital,IF Kids,Interviews
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