Art Before Breakfast is a book to designed to encourage the creativity of art by looking at the every day things around you and learning to take a few minutes to express what you see.
You don’t have a second to catch your breath.
To smell the roses or the coffee.
Your life is getting more and more full and crazy.
Which is why you need to add one more thing to your to-do list:
The book begins with an explanations of why it’s important to include even a few moments of art in your day, how to develop it into a regular habit, and what tools you are going to need to get started. (Hint: art doesn’t need to be expensive. All you need is a sketchpad and a pen!)
The first section is a week of 15 minute art prompts – most of which centre around the first meal of your day: breakfast. By learning to see the potential of art within something so mundane, it’s interesting to start seeing the art that is around you everywhere else. I tried this with my boys – and was rather surprised by the challenge they found to complete even the first task of just drawing (in a continual line), the outside edges of all the dishes that you set up for your morning meal. They wanted to draw each individual shape instead of combining them together and there were many moments of “I’m not good at this.” or “It’s not perfect!” To me, that made me realize that they need to learn that art isn’t about perfection, but about creativity.
After you finish that first week of prompts, the rest of the book gives you ideas and challenges of how to bring art into those “extra” moments of your life: people watching, looking at nature, staring at the doorframe from the comfort of your bed, the messes around your house, etc.
From there, the author expands into encouraging colour through coloured pencils, special pens, and watercolour paints. After a brief “lesson” on how to use them effectively, the challenges continue.
One of my favourite lines in the book is this:
Art with a big “A” is for museums, galleries, critics, and collectors.
art with a small “a” is for the rest of us.
The pages of the book are splattered with the author’s own sketches, doodles, and artwork, providing visual examples of the challenges he suggests.
After showing this book to another homeschooling mom, she remarked, “If you use this book, you don’t need an art curriculum.” It’s true! This book is a great way to add art to your homeschool, without the stress of anything official.
Keep in mind that this book wasn’t written for children though, and some of the wordings or experiences in mind might not be appropriate or relevant for them. For example, the author compares taking up the habit of art to the habit of smoking, looking around your work environment, and references to alcohol. That being said, I didn’t see anything extremely objectionable – everything was completely adaptable to doing art with your kids.