Artist Spotlight: Natalie Smillie

Natalie Smillie is one to watch! Check out some of her great work below:

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Keep up with Natalie Smillie on twitter @natsmillie and

see more of her fantastic work on her site:


Natalie shares a bit of helpful information about how she works on her tablet here.

She says: “I start off the majority of the time with a hand drawn sketch that I’ve scanned in and darkened slightly. I make this the top layer and set the layer mode to Multiply.”



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To this!                       Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 7.53.35 AM


Thanks to @natsmillie


Artist Spotlight: Jim Edwards

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“Jim Edwards is best known for his depictions of iconic buildings and bridges of the North East of England. His Newcastle Cityscapes are some of the most recognisable art to come out of the region in recent years.

His work falls into two genres, contemporary cityscapes and abstract paintings inspired by manmade forms and buildings. Both styles follow a theme of architecturally inspired structures and dominating linear form.”

(See more of his beautiful work at Bridekirk Fine Art.)


Don’t you love the glow?

Visual Literacy

This video presentation shows how writing and drawing are related — for children and for adults.

Education for life.

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(posted on Vimeo by Cyra Levenson)


Info on Visual Literacy from ISTE and Edutopia


“Linking maker-based projects to classroom curriculum and academic standards will help ensure that students will learn, but also that the maker movement won’t become just another educational trend.” (Chris O’Brien, a former teacher who helps schools create maker and project-based learning spaces in New York City.)



Hiccup and Toothless

Cressida Cowell is the author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon series.

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Delightfully, Cressida Cowell says: “I grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland.” (Read more at her website here.)

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The How to Train Your Dragon books in order are:

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Available here at the author’s site, at Amazon, and elsewhere.


Watch one of the movie trailers.


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Learn about the Vikings. Get the free activity pack here.

It includes a blank Viking genealogy for you to complete, a Viking shield template, how to count in Dragonese, and much more.

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Follow Cressida Cowell at twitter @CressidaCowell.


Dragon-up your room with decals.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

What’s happening here?

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Find out by reading Katherine Woodfine’s book:

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth

Cover and interior illustrations by Julia Sarda.


Silhouette art can be an effective way of telling a bit about a tale.

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Augustin Edouart (1789-1861)


Silhouette art has been used since ancient times.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 8.36.42 AMVase by the Nessos Painter.


Today’s assignment: 1. Check out Katherine Woodfine’s new book.

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2. Create silhouette art.





Toad and Pooh

Ernest H. Shepard (1879 – 1976) was an English artist and book illustrator known especially for his illustrations of anthropomorphic* characters in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. (more)

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Christopher Robin’s braces in Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne


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Toad’s motorcar in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

(More from the University of Oxford)


*Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits and emotions.

Personification is the related attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts such as nations, emotions and natural forces like seasons and the weather.

Both have ancient roots as storytelling and artistic devices, and most cultures have traditional fables with anthropomorphized animals as characters. People have also routinely attributed human emotions and behavioural traits to wild as well as domestic animals. (More)


Today’s assignment:

1. Use pen and ink today. (Fine nib sharpie-type pens will do.)

2. Create an animal version of your protagonist.

3. Give him/her an interesting prop (just as Toad has his motorcar and Pooh often has his honey.)

Garth Williams, Artist

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Williams illustrated more than eighty books in the course of his life. (More from Sarah Larson at The New Yorker)


Garth Montgomery Williams (1912 – 1996) was an American artist who came to prominence in the American postwar era as an illustrator of children’s books. Many of the books he illustrated have become classics of American children’s literature.

His friendly, fuzzy baby animals populated a dozen Little Golden Books. (wiki)


Many of Garth Williams’ books can be found at Amazon.


Today’s assignment: Illustrate your book cover.