Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books

Both of my kids love learning about art and experimenting with it.  Unfortunately, the five-year age difference between them makes it tough to teach the same art concepts to both.  That’s why I had to get creative about introducing famous artists to each of them.
Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books

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We’re incorporating artist study into my 10 year-old’s upcoming school year, but the artist study in his Mixing with the Masters workshop will likely be a bit too much to share with my kindergartner.

That’s no reason for her to miss out on artist study, though!  Instead, I’m introducing famous artists to her through picture books.  That will give her the chance to meet the master artists on her level and have fun in the process.

Here’s a look at the picture books I’ve found for introducing famous artists.

10 Picture Books for
Introducing Famous Artists

1. Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt – This title from Anholt’s Artists Books for Children series introduces famous cubist Pablo Picasso through a delightful story combined with vivid illustrations and reproductions from Picasso himself.

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Picasso
2.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Paintings That Smile by True Kelley – Like the other books from the Smart About Art series, Paintings That Smile is a different kind of picture book: it’s a great presentation of Renoir through a child’s eyes. I’m so excited about this one!  

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Renoir

3. Vincent’s Colors by Vincent van Gogh and the Metropolitan Museum of Art – This isn’t your typical picture book, but it’s super cool.  It combines van Gogh’s incredible art with excerpts from letters he wrote to his brother used as captions.  These excerpts definitely show a lesser-known side of van Gogh, which is a pretty cool thing.

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - van Gogh
4. Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew – Katie’s Picture Show is an adorable series for introducing famous artists to kids.  Much like Katie Meets the Impressionists, this book introduces the incredible work of Claude Monet through the adventures of a fun little girl.

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Claude Monet
5. The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock  – One of the coolest things about Wassily Kandinsky is the way he could express sounds and feelings through his abstract art.  The Noisy Paint Box showcases his story and his art in perfect picture book style.
Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Kandinsky
Through Georgia’s Eyes by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez – Through Georgia’s Eyes is a perfect way to introduce children to the life and work of Georgia O’Keeffe.  The text is short but informative in this one, leaving the beautiful illustrations do most of the work.  
Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Georgia O'Keeffe
7. Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter – It’s easy to look at the works of master artists and feel intimidated by the complexity of it all.  That’s not the case with Henri’s Scissors.

What I love about this book on Henri Matisse is that it focuses on artist style that’s comfortable for most kids. It highlights a season of Matisse’s life when he chose to create differently when many would have given up art altogether.

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Henri Matisse
8. Sunday with Seurat by Julie Merberg – I love the simple combination of Seurat’s art and melodic text in this book.  It’s a great resource for introducing this famous impressionist to the youngest of children!

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Georges Seurat
9. Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh – This book is a great choice for introducing Diego Rivera, whose art often stirred controversy. His World and Ours shares the story of Rivera and the sights and experiences that inspired his art with kid-friendly perspective.

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Diego Rivera
Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg – This one is a fun look at the processes of Jackson Pollock, the American artist best known for trading in his easel and palette and opting to create with paint cans and canvases on the floor.  

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books - Jackson Pollock

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If you’d like more help with introducing famous artists to younger kids, check out Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series. There’s tons of great information there!

You’ll also want to take a look at my breakdown of Creative Galaxy, an original show from Amazon Prime.

It’s your turn now!  What are your favorite picture books for introducing famous artists to children? I’d love to see your suggestions in the comments.

Looking for more must-read books? Stop by iHomeschool Network and take a look:

Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books

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5 thoughts on “Introducing Famous Artists Through Picture Books”

  1. Hi Emily, thanks for sharing this information! We also homeschool. I’d add in here that kids should check out some of their favorite modern artists and start writing letters to them (which is also great practice for handwriting and grammar). It lets them create a personal interaction with legends of their own era. My son has written to quite a few authors and illustrators and he has received packages of artwork on postcards, personalized art on envelopes, books, CDs and plays in return. Most folks write back. It is a ton of fun! Some of my favorite current artists are Richard Jesse Watson, Scott Gustafson, and Michael Hague. If snail-mail contact information cannot be found on an individual’s website, they can usually be reached by writing to their publisher, or by dropping an e-mail explaining that your child would love to write to them. It has been a great experience for my son! If only we could write to da Vinci and Raphael…

    Best wishes for your homeschooling.

  2. Jennifer Dodrill @ All-In-One-Mom

    Great ideas here! I love having the kids study various artists and it’s good to start them early! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Jennifer! I love knowing that our younger kids don’t have to miss out on artist study. 🙂

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