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Essential Guide for Art Education: For Parents and Teachers of Creative Children

A Complete Educator's Guide on How to Teach Art to Beginners


Preview of the Essential Guide for Art Education booklet
📍 The complete guide for parents with creative children


Is your child always drawing in their spare time? Are you considering art classes but not sure where to start? Here are the most commonly asked questions from parents with creative children, answered by Fei Lu, artist and founder of Winged Canvas (pictured bottom left with her team of art educators).


People holding artworks in a group video call


Jump ahead to any of the 10 chapters:



Kid erasing a sheet of paper

1. What should my child be drawing as a beginner?


In their spare time, whatever they want! Art is a form of free expression, especially for kids, so it shouldn't be managed. Children will typically try to draw their favourite characters from movies, shows, games, or perhaps illustrate their own stories.


In a classroom context, children should be learning how to draw familiar things by using shapes instead of outlines to construct them. They should also be learning the creative process, which involves planning and design thinking.



Art materials: pens/pencils, markers, sketchbook, eraser, watercolour blocks, canvas boards, 24 set pencil crayons, 3 different sized brushes, and acrylic paint


💡 Tip: Be wary of the "art schools" that just show children how to copy impressive-looking art that limits creative expression and restricts conceptual and original thinking.



Watercolour palette and watercolour paper with paint

2. What materials should I buy to get started?


Investing in some fun stationery is always a great start (I loved drawing with funky pens and pencils as a kid), cool erasers, a 24 set of pencil crayons, a similar set of markers, a set of watercolour blocks, three brushes (small, medium, large), a mixed media sketchbook, some canvas boards and a basic set of acrylic paints in primary colours. If your child is interested in digital art, see our guide for drawing tablets for beginners.


💡 Tip: No need to buy the most expensive thing on the market! You can always “upgrade” to a better quality set when your child reaches a creative milestone, and use it as motivation!



Teacher speaking to students

3. What credentials should I look for in art teachers?


First, look at their artwork and how passionate they are about being an educator. Then, look at their credentials with schooling — but it might surprise you that the best teachers aren’t the ones who have the most impressive degrees or accolades!


The best art teachers are those who are passionate and supportive -- who genuinely connect with your child, take the time to understand their interests, and care about their creative growth. These types of educators get the most satisfaction from seeing their students succeed! We believe there is something to learn from each individual, but it's the passionate teachers who make the most impact.


Lastly, look for how often their teacher creates. Do they make personal art, or take professional commissions on the side as well as teaching? It’s important to stay in practice because teachers need to be constantly learning and evolving with their students too!


✅ Passionate ✅ Understanding ✅ Personal Artistry


💡 Tip: Be wary of the art teachers who are just there for the job, talk too much about themselves, or those who are not willing to share all of their knowledge and techniques!



Happy kids with finished mixed media artwork

4. How soon should I expect results?


On average, if attending regular classes on a weekly basis, it takes about 6 - 8 weeks to notice obvious improvement. This is different for everyone, and although it's natural to compare, it's not necessarily the most supportive route for your child.


Some children draw really fast and don't care that it's messy, and others draw really slowly and obsess over every detail. Some kids give up easily, and need more encouragement, while others who show natural talent may end up slacking because they don't have to work as hard.


Some kids are defensive and don't take well to constructive feedback, while others simply do what they're told without questioning their own interests. In the end, it's not about speed or details, but their interest, effort and passion. It's about how open they are to feedback and how hard they work at improving.


💡 Tip: Observe how your child behaves when learning art. Do they tend to rush through it, or take their time? Do they take suggestions well and apply them to their work?



Three kids showing their artwork from art class
Learning new art skills helps boost confidence and promotes good mental health in children.


New students can try 2 virtual art classes for the price of 1!


5. Does my child need to be talented to be great at art?


Not at all. Talent helps — but only if the drive, interest, and passion are also there. However, we've seen talent hinder success as well. For example, I’ve worked with many students who were keenly aware of their talent, many of whom ended up slacking off, not working as hard, or not taking feedback seriously. They may be less open to trying new things and end up working in their default art style that has impressed people in the past. In the end, it's the passion and effort that counts — because without consistent practice, talent is futile.



Level 1 giraffe, Level 2 landscape, Level 3 portrait, Level 4 digital character illustration
Student Artwork Examples

💡 Tip: Observe if and how your child expresses their interest in art. Do they choose to draw or make things in their free time? Do they dream of being an artist or animator? If they haven’t been exposed to art lessons yet, consider taking a trial art class to gauge their interest.



Anime style character in static vs dynamic pose

6. My child only wants to draw anime. Shouldn’t they be learning realism?


Anime is one of the biggest influences on young artists, and over the last few years, anime culture has influenced the world of illustration and animation, becoming a global culture. Look at it this way: if anime is inspiring your child to create, don't stop it! There is a time and place for realism, and kids usually begin to show interest around age 12. There's no rush! Realistic drawing can be learned with training and classes, but it's important to expose your child to other artists, art movements, and styles.


The desire for realism may come by later in their creative journey, but even if it doesn't, that's alright too! Having a unique style and the ability to communicate ideas is far more desirable and useful in the modern age, especially in the fields of animation, entertainment and illustration.


If your child aspires to work in these fields, they can learn the fundamental art concepts and techniques required to design memorable characters and integrate the art of visual storytelling in our Cartooning & Anime Course.



💡 Tip: It's more important to observe and discuss what your child wants to draw than to discourage it.



Teacher and students in an online art class

7. What are the pros and cons of online learning?


ADVANTAGES

✅ Convenient and flexible (learn from anywhere)

✅ Safe and low-risk

✅ Saves time and stress (no more commuting or sitting in traffic)

✅ Get online feedback from teachers even in between classes

✅ Missed classes are recorded so students may catch up

✅ More opportunities for kids who are shy/introverted

✅ Forms healthy habits at home (like caring for brushes)

✅ Learning online is more affordable


DISADVANTAGES

Lack of personal touch

More mess at home

Lack of traditional social interaction

Technical difficulties



Students sculpting clay in art class

8. My child already takes art in school. Do they need extra art classes?


Sometimes, we luck out and get an amazing homeroom teacher who is great at art and passionate about teaching it too! However most elementary school teachers aren’t specifically trained in visual art, and school curriculums are usually themed-based, which means step-by-step techniques are not taught.


Students may not be graded by skill level either, but on how well they follow instructions according to a rubric, which does not give them the actionable feedback needed to improve their techniques. This leaves many students who are interested in art to learn on their own or attend extra-curricular programs to supplement their learning.


Most high school art teachers have more credentials and training in visual art, but between large class sizes and a standardized theme-based curriculum, it’s difficult to focus on nurturing individual foundational skills that smaller, more specialized art classes can provide.


💡 Tip: Schools teach art with themed-based learning (ie. draw a still life in the style of Van Gogh), and there is still a large gap in skills-based training (ie. how to draw).



Collage of students sharing their finished artworks

9. How do I make sure my child’s online influences are healthy and professional sources?


There are millions of online resources, but it’s difficult to weed out the good from the bad. Parents don’t have time to screen everything for their kids — especially if they’re not familiar with the subject. The best way to find great art resources and influences is by talking to teachers, or learning from mentors who are experienced in the industry!


The online world is a mess — and there are some really bad tutorials out there that can cause or reinforce bad habits! Only by working with experienced and passionate professionals does one learn how to filter out the good from the bad, and be able to recognize the good influences from the harmful.


💡 Tip: Finding a great teacher or mentor can save years of searching without guidance! Quality education is an investment that will keep on compounding, providing value for life.




10. Closing Thoughts


Picasso believed that all children were born artists, and we at Winged Canvas agree. There’s no denying that visual arts are a key component in childhood development. While the education system focuses predominantly on sciences, maths and languages, we strive to fill an important gap that every child needs — creativity and personal expression through visual art.


At Winged Canvas, we encourage students to create fearlessly, develop cultural awareness, communicate with design thinking, and expand their imaginations. At Winged Canvas, all of our art programs are founded on our four pillars of learning.



NERD icons for Nurture, Explore, Recreate, Design

As a school that lives and breathes for the arts, we wholeheartedly believe in being art nerds!



Art Resources


For Students and Parents

  • Pre-Recorded Courses - Follow along video courses and learn at your own pace.

  • Seasonal Camps - Daily virtual art lessons for youth during winter, spring, and summer breaks.

  • Weekly Classes - Interactive online art lessons and mentorship from professional artists.


For Teachers and Homeschoolers



💡 Spread Knowledge and Creativity

Help other parents by sharing this guide!




Two art nerd characters holding pencil and paint brush

New students can try 2 virtual art classes for the price of 1!

🎨 If your child is ready to create, claim our one-time offer for new students!

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Virtual Art Classes

Live, interactive art lessons from the safety of home. Flexible enrollment. Join in anytime!

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Art Mentorship

This is an art program specifically for students who know what they'd like to learn, or those seeking one-on-one style lessons.

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Teacher Resources

Doesn't matter what grade you teach, you can use our free teaching resources to help you educate the next generation of artists.

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Access the Best Art Education From Anywhere!

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