As artists and designers, we want the children in our lives – our own, those in our extended family and our friends’ – to enjoy being creative as soon as they can pick up a pencil or dip their finger in pants. Kids’ art and drawing books provide a great way to inspire and shape their creativity – but walk into high-street stores like WH Smith and the children’s art books you’ll find are usually limited to poorly drawn colouring books tied to TV brands.
Thankfully, talented illustrators like Marion Deuchars and Serge Bloch have been commissioned by publishers like Laurence King and Wide-Eyed Editions to create practical activity books that are a lot more considered. As well as featuring a much higher level of artistry, they also have had a lot more thought put into what they will teach children – and encourage them to use their imaginations, rather than just running out their pink pens colouring in petulant pigs.
We'll start with books for younger children and the pick out some favourites for older kids and teenagers too.
3, 2, 1... Draw! by Serge Bloch
Serge Bloch is a natural choice for a kids’ drawing book, as he has a seemingly childlike illustration style (which complements or contrasts with the more grown-up subject matters he regularly illustrates). He’s best known for works that see him drawing over still life photos of day-to-day objects (usually food).
In 3, 2, 1... Draw! he lets kids get in on this, offering 50 sets of simply shot objects accompanied by suggestions of what they could become by being doodled over or within. Alongside the written suggestions, Serge has also drawn his interpretation of the scene – which are rather lovely.