How to Think Like an Artist

kidcreate-studio_allie-in-front-of-artHave you ever noticed that some people seem to have a naturally ability to think creatively? Such individuals are not necessarily artists, and may not have a particular interest in art. However, these people have a way of thinking that allows them to look at almost any object, situation, or person with a certain depth of curiosity or understanding that helps them to think “outside of the box” and find the extraordinary.

Not everyone is predisposed to be an artist. Yet, creative thinking or “thinking like an artist” is something we all can do! Dr. Craig Roland, an art education professor, put together this list of what it means to think like an artist.*

  1. You look at things more closely than most people
  2. You find beauty in everyday things and situations
  3. You make connections between seemingly disparate things and ideas
  4. You go beyond ordinary ways of thinking and doing
  5. You take risks and accept the possibility that you might not succeed
  6. You learn from your mistakes
  7. You arrange things in new and interesting ways
  8. You work hard and at the edge of your potential
  9. You are persistent
  10. You use old ideas to create new ideas
  11. You do some things simply because it is personally challenging

Imagine if all children were taught these habits from a young age and grew up with the mindset of an artist?  Not only would we see more artists create more imaginative work, we would also see more extraordinary ideas developed in other disciplines.

*Adapted from a list written by Dr. Craig Roland. Retrieved from, 5/8/2015 


Kidcreate Studio is an art studio just for kids that offers children’s art classes,
camps and art-themed birthday parties for children ages 18 months through 12 years.
Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate!


Art and Academic Achievement.

  Studies Show Art is Smart!

Art Brain

Does your child have an art enhanced brain?

It has long been established that children benefit from creating art.  Art helps build confidence in children, helps children learn to solve problems, and helps children develop communication skills.  So why have many school districts across the country cut back on art education curricula and emphasized the traditional 3 “Rs”- reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, or  STEM-related curricula?  Limited budgets require schools to make hard choices and there is no question that reading, writing, math, science and technology-related programs are important. But what about art you ask? Can art help my child become a better student? That answer is YES! There are several studies that have shown that art education has a measurable positive impact on academics. Here are a few.

1) Art and the ACT Test.  The ACT is one the most important determinants of what college students will attend.  A few points could make a difference in a student ending up at a first-choice school or a “back up” school.  According to a 2011-2012 study by the West Virginia Department of Education on art participation and education, students with more art credits performed better on the ACT than students with fewer art credits.

2) Art and Attention.  Success in the performing arts requires practice, practice, practice.  It also requires the ability to pay attention to detail and discern nuances in a performance. In 2008, the Dana Consortium published a report on art and cognition.  The report concluded that people with training in the performing arts are motivated to have sustained attention to that particular art form.  That ability to attend leads to cognitive improvements in other areas of life, including academics.

Click here to go to the Dana Consortium article “Arts and Cognition Monograph: Summary”.

3) Art and the 3 “Rs”.   A 2002 report published by the Arts Education Partnership culled information from 62 studies that looked at participation in various types of arts and academic achievement. Put together, these studies suggest that art education positively impacts basic academic achievement, particularly for low-income students.

In the May 2002 USA Today article “Study: Arts education has academic effect”, The Arts Education Partnership asserts that different art forms benefit students in different ways. The visual arts “improve content and organization of writing; promote sophisticated reading skills and interpretation of text, reasoning about scientific images and reading readiness.” Pursuing a combination of art forms including drama, music, and visual arts “helps with reading, verbal and math skills; improves the ability to collaborate and higher-order thinking skills.”

Click here to go to the USA Today article about The Arts Education Partnership Report.

4) Art and Problematic Behavior.   A 2010 report compiled by the Missouri Department of Education and the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education found that the more students are involved in art, the less like they are to present disciplinary problems. For example, those involved in art were more likely to go to all classes, not just art classes and ultimately graduate.

Art is smart! These and other studies and reports show that art education should not be marginalized, but should be an integral part of a well-balanced core curriculum from the earliest ages through high school.

To learn more about the benefits of art in education, click here!


Art and Academics


Kidcreate Studio is an art studio just for kids that offers children’s art classes,
camps and art-themed birthday parties for children ages 18 months through 12 years.
Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate!


The Arts and Social Modeling

No matter how much parents try to shelter their children from certain outside influences, it is virtually impossible to completely do so. Children are affected by people, places and experiences outside of the home and away from their parents. Their social development is influenced by their teachers, coaches and peers at school, sports, and their place of worship.  Kids can be affected by what they observe in the media and even by brief encounters at places such as a park or shopping center.

class action shot_clay 3Parental goals of rearing well-adjusted, positive, creative citizens can be supported by selecting activities that are more likely to present positive social modeling opportunities for their children. The arts provide such opportunities. Indeed, they are a rich source for children to observe and emulate characteristics such as focus, confidence, commitment, problem-solving, and passion.

Whether the arts activity is in the visual, literary, or performing arts, parents will find that the impact on their children’s character, social and academic development will be consistent with their parenting goals.

Art is Smart!


Kidcreate Studio is an art studio just for kids that offers children’s art classes,
camps and art-themed birthday parties for children ages 18 months through 12 years.
Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate!


Art Process vs. Art Product

The Process of Creating Art
Verses the Finished Art Product

For young children learning art, each new project is an opportunity to explore new materials and new processes.  While the ultimate goal is to complete a specific piece of art, the process of achieving that goal should be more of the focus than the quality of the final product.  For example, if the assignment is to create a picture of a cat using torn paper, it is more important to focus on and understand the steps that each child takes in creating his or her cat.  It is less important that each child’s cat looks radically different.  It is acceptable that one cat has a short tail, another cat has a long tail, and a third child’s cat only has one ear.   The learning takes place through the process, and the final product does not tell the full story of what was learned through the creation of that product.

For a child, the process is exploration.  It is the act of learning.  As your child goes through this necessary process, he or she may not immediately comprehend every nuance of the lesson.  Or he or she may interpret particular details of the lesson in a way that the teacher did not intend.  The final product, as imperfect as it may seem, cannot tell the whole story without the context provided by the process.

So, delight in your child’s unique way of exploring the materials.  Be intrigued by the varying ways that he or she chooses to use the materials.  Ask questions along the way.  During this process, not only will your child learn, but you will also learn from your child.

Kidcreate Studio is an art studio just for kids that offers children’s art classes,
camps and art-themed birthday parties for children ages 18 months through 12 years.
Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate!


How to Talk to Kids About Art

Little 3-year-old Suzy just completed her latest painting. She used different paint colors to draw a series of squiggly lines going in every direction on her paper. “Ta dah!” She squealed. Mommy and Daddy promptly gasped in excitement and exclaimed, “this one is even more beautiful than the last one!” A family hug ensued. The painting was then added to the mini-gallery full of Suzy’s artwork.

In addition to building your child’s self-confidence by complimenting his or her artwork, each time your child completes a piece of work, take the opportunity to have a conversation about the artpiece. For example, if you are unsure what the art represents– is it a cat or is it a tree– just ask. Ask if the artpiece has a title like the art your child observed during a recent trip to a local museum or gallery. Ask your little artist why she chose to use those particular colors. In addition to saying that the piece is beautiful, go into more detail about what was done well. “The lines are so straight!” “The sun is in just the right spot in the sky.” And let your child know that it is clear just how hard he or she worked on the piece.

Have similar conversations with your child when you go on trips to the museum, or when you look at the art in books. Ask about particular aspects of a piece such as the colors used, the direction of the brush strokes or the media used.

When you ask questions about art, your child will begin to focus on different aspects of art and think critically about it. Ultimately, your child will develop a deeper appreciation of art and the skill and thinking that goes into each piece.

Kidcreate Studio is an art studio just for kids that offers children’s art classes,
camps and art-themed birthday parties for children ages 18 months through 12 years.
Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate!