It’s the time of year again when parents begin solidifying their summer plans for their children. Parents looking for a simple way to keep their children engaged in learning without overspending can turn to quality books. To introduce you to an author, I interviewed Susan Schwake, the creator of an instructional art book, Art for All Seasons. Following along with the book can help teach children new art methods to keep them actively learning and showing their creativity during the long summer months. The book has been endorsed by the art center staff at The Eric Carle Museum and professors of art education at Plymouth University. Another book, Art Lab for Kids, received an editorial review from the Library Journal. To learn more about why these books make an excellent pick for summer reading for kids, I asked Schwake a few questions.
Author Susan Schwake
Creator of the book Art for All Seasons
Theresa’s Reviews (TR): Tell me about your background.
Susan Schwake (SS): I went to school in the late 70s to study fine art and art education. I worked in the corporate world for a few years gleaning business experience and hands on knowledge of working with the public. When my children were born I left that life to be a full time mom and a full time artist/art instructor by opening my little art school. For the past 20 years I have taught kids and adults in diverse settings and in my own school alongside three adjunct teachers. Our school is housed in a contemporary gallery and media design studio which my husband and I own called artstream
. I am a painter and exhibit my work
in galleries around the country.
TR: How did you get into the publishing world?
SS: I had always wanted to write a book surrounding the idea of my philosophy of teaching and practical lessons that anyone could achieve as an adult or adult working with children. I put together a proposal of my ideas and sent it to a publisher who to my great joy, agreed it was an idea worth publishing. My first book became a best seller in two years and my subsequent books are strong sellers as well.
I have started a new series of books called Kids Art
and the first release (Nov 2014) is entitled Art For All Seasons. My new publisher is Two Little Birds Books run by the very talented and beloved children’s author/illustrator Rebecca Emberley.
TR: What can a parent or child expect to get from the experience of using your books?
SS: My books are compilations of favorite lessons which have been carefully curated to be the ones that my students find the greatest joy in. Each lesson is open ended for new results each time and plenty of room for personal style to shine. In the introductions there are explanations of materials, methods and easy set ups for making art.
TR: Describe your latest book.
In my latest book Art for All Seasons each of the 40 lessons are inspired by the four seasons and contemporary artists working in similar styles or media. Any adult can enjoy these lessons on their own or share them with a child. They will be able to create something in their own style – learn a repeatable skill and come up with new results each time. There are prompts to go further and inspiration to come up with additional ideas on their own. Parents and children working together or in larger groups will find a special bonding time when working alongside each other creating art. There is a section in the beginning which helps with setting the stage for art making and materials needed. The fact that the book is seasonally based makes it a perfect foil for family time during holidays and vacations – or a weekly exploration into making art. Each reader will come away being inspired to try the projects and will be introduced to some new artists living among them!
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