Coloring Book Review and GIVEAWAY

Today I am part of a TLC Book Tour for a new coloring book called Inkspirations Fruit of the Spirit. There are a few reasons I decided to be a part of this book tour. 1) I wanted to show you how we have enjoyed coloring books. 2) This is a Christian coloring book and I know I have readers that teach at Christians schools, Bible camps or with church groups. 3) I wanted to show you how I have gotten inspiration from coloring books. 4) I know there are creative ways art teachers have used coloring pages in the classroom and I wanted to share with you a couple of unique ideas. Here is the coloring book that I was gifted to review.


First, let's talk about the art in the coloring book. The designs are very beautiful, with lots of patterns to color. Each page has Bible verses or sentiments. This would be lovely to use with your own family, a kid's group at church, vacation Bible school or maybe as a free-time option in a Christian school. (Clearly I would not use this in a public or non-religious school setting.) 

Bible Coloring Page (1200x882) 

I could use the elephant image below in my classroom (removing the religious words) by using it as an inspiration for an art project by challenging them to draw their own animal with doodled patterns inside. 

Elephant Coloring Page in Book (1200x770) 

The lettering on these pages are very fun and creative. If I taught in a religious setting, I could use these quote pictures as examples and have the students create their own lettering design of a Bible verse or song. The book shows many examples of different styles of lettering. 

Bird Coloring Page (1200x994) 

One of my ideas this school year is for students to design their own hot air balloons for a bulletin board about "soaring" or "taking off". This hot air balloon is a nice example with decorations and patterns on the inside.

Hot Air Balloon Coloring (1200x900) 

This image reminds me of a quilt or Kente cloth pattern. 

Love Coloring Page (1200x803) 

Here are my two cute kids using these coloring pages. When we color, we go all out. Colored pencils, markers, whatever we have laying around. My daughter Daria gets to use my fancy markers because I know she will be careful with them. Desmond gets the cheaper ones. 

Coloring with Kids (1200x911) 

Here is Daria's page. I think she is quite talented for a 6 year old. But don't all parents?  Desmond lost interest after a few scribbles.

 Daria Coloring Page 

Here is one of my finished pages: 

With God Coloring Page (1200x840) 

Now some of you are probably saying, "Coloring books?? Coloring books are creativity killers!!!" (I have heard art teachers say that before.) You might think that, and you can have your own opinion and I will have mine. I don't subscribe to the belief that coloring books kill creativity. If a child uses a coloring book sometimes and draws on their own plenty too, I think that is fine. My daughter colored in coloring books a LOT when she was 2, 3 and 4. She also drew on her own constantly. She is a very creative little girl and has very good penmanship and ability to draw what she sees. She comes up with all kinds of creative drawings, so I just don't see the correlation between coloring books and un-creative kids. Obviously I don't think an art teachers should just give coloring pages to kids all the time. No way! But at home? For fun? Why not! If you are still skeptical, I wanted to show you these awesome creative artworks put together by using coloring pages (not the ones from this book.) Coloring Book Remix
Amy Carey Stine, an art teacher from Ashburn, VA, shared this lesson on Facebook. With her permission, I am reposting it for you. She said, "After Christmas all my seventh graders wanted to do was color in their new coloring books. If you can't beat them, join them! So, I presented to them, "Coloring Book REMIX." We studied surrealism and Prismacolor technique." They colored in the pictures and then cut them apart to make new collage compositions! Here are her gorgeous results:

Coloring Book Weaving

Jessica, from the Art of Education,  shared an interesting idea of making a coloring book weaving.  You can read all about it here.

Thanks for reading my review of Inkspirations coloring book!

(Amazon affiliate links have been used.)
Check out the whole line of coloring books! They even have a set of “color me” greeting cards!

Inkspirations - Fruit_Of_The_Spirit

Learn more about Inkspirations


TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for Inkspirations:

Each stop will have a coloring book giveaway!
Wednesday, August 10th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, August 11th: Just Commonly
Tuesday, August 16th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Wednesday, August 17th: Reviews from the Heart
Thursday, August 18th: The Book Chick
Friday, August 19th: Laura’s Reviews
Monday, August 22nd: The Magic All Around Us
Monday, August 22nd: Growing Kids Ministry
Tuesday, August 23rd: Savvy Verse and Wit
Wednesday, August 24th: Susieqlaw’s Blog
Thursday, August 25th: Bibliophilia, Please
Friday, August 26th: Stranded in Chaos
Monday, August 29th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, August 29th: Reading is My Superpower
Wednesday, August 31st: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, September 1st: Book Snob
Friday, September 2nd: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd
Tuesday, September 6th: The Written World
Thursday, September 8th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Saturday, September 10th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, September 12th: View from the Birdhouse
Friday, September 16th: A Bookworm’s World

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below! One winner will receive this coloring book.

Art is Basic

Easy and Fun Watercolor Flower Doodles

This is a tutorial I recently posted on my other blog Art is Basic, which is all about teaching art to kids. I thought readers here might like it as well.

Easy and Fun Watercolor Doodles with Flowers
I hope you are having a good summer. I have spent some time doodling with watercolors, my favorite artsy thing to do. Today I am going to show you how I transform puddles of watercolor to flower doodles. Here is an example of a finished watercolor flower doodle.
detail flower shot up close
This step-by-step is fun, summery art project for you or your kids to try. I like to share what is fun and exciting for me, because maybe you will take something from it and create your own spin on the idea. Here's what you need:
Step 1: Dip your brush in water and create a small puddle of water on your paper. Dip your brush in a color from your watercolor palette. Touch the puddle with the color and watch the colors spread.  watercolor circles close up
Drop in additional colors to create different effects.
Watercolor dots
Fill a whole page with the watercolor blobs.
watercolor dots
 watercolor dots
Step 2: Allow your watercolor puddles to dry. Use permanent black marker to outline the puddles. Or, you can draw flowers right on top, radiating from the center of the petal.

20160711_155524 (740x463)

Watercolor Flowers Step 2 (617x740)
Step 3: Draw flower petals in various shapes and sizes around the outside of the outlined puddles.
  Watercolor Flower Doodles with Black Pen
You can stop right there, or you can add additional color with brush markers or your other favorite type of coloring tools.
Step 4: Add additional color and patterns with markers. Use a white paint pen on top to make highlights and embellishments.
  Watercolor Flowers with Pen and Marker
 I had so much fun, I covered several sheets of paper with watercolor flower doodles.
Watercolor Flower Doodle
 Flower Doodles
Detail of flowers
 Detail pic of doodles
detail shot
Flower Doodles Close up
Watercolor Doodles of Flowers 
 Save Art is Basic

Watercolor Doodling

Art is Basic

Published Article, Colored Pencil Flowers and My Latest Creative Project

Great news! I have been published in the Summer issue of School Arts magazine.
I wrote an article about artwork my students made after learning about the art of contemporary artist Justin Vining.  You can read the article here.  I wrote a blog post last year all about this project:  Inspired by Artist Justin Vining.

I love Justin’s artwork and you can see pictures of his artwork on his website.

School ArtsSchool Arts 2

School's out for summer!  For those of you who don't know, I teach K-6 art full-time during the school year.  Most of my blogging energy gets put into my teaching blog, Art is Basic.

A colored pencil flower drawing I recently made.
It's interesting how the coloring book craze has taken over.  If you walk into a craft store or Barnes and Noble, you will see a big display of them.  I even saw some adult coloring books at a gas station.  People have asked if I have gotten into coloring books, but I usually just like to draw my own pages, like the one above.

I have been working on a new creative project, which is not watercolor, not collage and not drawing!  What is it?  A planner for club or scout leaders!  So my plan is to create all the pages of this special planner and then get it printed for myself to use.  Also, I will put the files as a bundle in my shop so if anyone else wants to purchase a download, they can do so.  I'm also thinking of getting a bunch of them printed and then selling actual physical planners from my two online shops:  Teachers Pay Teachers and Etsy.

So what will make these planners special?  Well, the purpose of them is for club or scout leaders.  After my first year of leading a Girl Scout troop, I realized that using my personal calendar, plus the online tools were making it very confusing.  I decided that for next year I needed one paper planner that was only for Girl Scouts. Can you believe I couldn't find any physical bound planners for Girl Scout leaders?  I asked in a Girl Scouts Facebook group and people used teacher planners, but covered up the headings with stickers and re-purposed pages.  I was thinking how it would be really useful to have a planner that has the calendar pages, but also pages for attendance rosters, contact information of members, badges or awards earned, meeting agendas, future ideas and so forth.  My intentions are not to make it specific to Girl Scouts (there are copyright issues with that anyways) but general enough for leaders of other clubs to use as well (like a church scouting group or Student Council). 

The digital clip art I have gotten from commercial use websites such as or Creative Market.  Some of the digital art I alter with color, cropping, rotating, etc. I think the pages are pretty cute.  I still have several hours of playing around with the other pages before I'm ready to send them off to the printers.  I am making the calendar pages from June 2016 through all of 2018, so the planner would be good for 2 years.  What do you think so far? Any suggestions or tips for printing?  Any pages you think I need to include in a club leader planner?

Art is Basic

Starting a Mixed Media Collage

I have been working in bits and pieces on this mixed media collage background. 

 I'm trying to figure out what to put on top of the background.  Any ideas?

My Teaching Blog: Art is Basic

Watercolor and Black Paint Art Journal Pages

Hi again!  This is my poor, neglected blog space.  I've been putting forth any extra time and effort I have into my art teaching blog.  I've revamped it, added a newsletter and a slideshow at the top. I've been adding products to my TPT shop and coming up with new resources for my blog.

I have had a little bit of time to experiment with art journaling again.  I've been using watercolors combined with stark black paint.

Journal page before watercolor lettering

Journal page with lettering added

Art is Basic

Flowery Collage

Art is Basic