Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ode to Coloursoft

With kids' art supplies, as with tools of all sorts, I've often heard the mantra, "Get the best you can afford." I always assumed that meant you should, say, buy the name-brand crayons instead of the dollar-store ones, the latter being so crappy that they're not even worth the buck you spend on them.

I'd been noticing all last fall that Nini and Desmond didn't have the hand strength to make firm marks with regular colored pencils. We used crayons for a while, but they make such wide lines that they weren't that useful for the kids' developing interest in drawing.

Then I wandered into an art story one day and discovered the miracle of Derwent Coloursoft pencils. Not having had any art training to speak of, I had no idea that pencils could be so extraordinary. The silky lines! The vivid colors! The rich tones!

The pencil set at the art store was jaw-droppingly expensive, but after hunting around on eBay I eventually found one for less than $20 and gave it to the kids for Christmas. The effect was almost instantaneous: Nini and Desmond drew more and better pictures, had more stamina for drawing, and seemed to be getting far more pleasure out of the whole experience.

Three months later, they draw on their own nearly every day. Their hands are much stronger; when they pick up a regular pencil, be it a #2 writing pencil or a regular drawing pencil, they make nice strong impressions on the paper. They've loved the pencils so much that many of them are already worn way down. Funny how simple things can make you happy: When I look at that well-used tin of pencils, I break into a smile.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. My son is an artist by nature (very talented since he was old enough to hold a pencil or whatever instrument he felt compelled to use as his "drawing" tool). If you are looking for other art supplies, look at Hobby Lobby and sometimes you can find decent buys at Walmart in the crafts department (but as the trend is, the crafts department is diminishing in most of the Walmarts - I can't even find cross stitch material or other items I used to get there). It's a blessing you found the set and that it has been used and well-received by your children.

    I found your blog through your husband's posting which was from the homeschool buzz blog. I'm not a homeschooler and probably should be as my daughter would probably benefit more being homeschooled but I've been thwarted on doing that since there is such a long process to get to the point of homeschooling, and she's only got one more year.

    I enjoy findings treasures like your blog, sharing your experience homeschooling your children, twins at that. Keep up the good job.

    I especially like the picture of them on their tricycles at the table. That could be fun - lol.

    I'm exploring more of your posts, so will probably leave more comments - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series
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