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Your Favorite Childhood Art Supplies, All Grown Up

Crayons on end

“Every child is an artist,” Pablo Picasso said. “The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Problem solved! We’ve created a handy guide to the grown-up art class you should take, based on your favorite childhood art supplies.

How to use this guide:

  1. Remember your favorite art activity as a kid. Summon the joy and reckless creativity of your youth.
  2. Find your favorite art supply below and see what we paired it up with.
  3. Call the School office for guidance on what class to take, and have fun in our classes! Check out the full catalog here.

Kids art supplies

crayons → pastel

If you liked: lots of bold colors in stick form
You’ll love: Exploring Pastel, Colored Pencil Drawing

Crayons, pastels, conté crayons, oil sticks — they’re all based on the same idea: pigment and binder. In other words, pure color and something to hold it together. Your box of Crayola used wax as a binder and had some filler, too; you’ll find pastels (and artist-grade crayons) have a better feel on the paper and keep their color longer.

Pastels: coloring for adults!

play-doh → clay

If you liked: squeezing and shaping stuff
You’ll love: Throwing and Handbuilding Ceramics, Beginning/Intermediate Sculpture

In grade school, you probably made clay pinch pots (or coil pots), then one day your teacher brought them back from the kiln and they were hard, shiny, and lasted forever. You can have even more fun with clay as an adult — just ask our ceramics department!


scarlet crayon


paint → paint

If you liked: pushing paint around with your fingers
You’ll love: Watercolor From Start to Finish, Painting (oil or acrylic), Abstract Painting

This one was pretty obvious. These paints aren’t non-toxic, so you can’t use your fingers — but hey, for that, there’s always art on the iPad.

pencils → pencils

If you liked: doodling, coloring, shading, blending, cross-hatching
You’ll love: Basic Drawing, Colored Pencil Drawing, Sketchbooks

No joke — you can make some serious art with pencils (that is, graphite) and colored pencils, and all without making a mess. In some drawing classes, you’ll expand your repertoire to media like charcoal and ink, too.


yarn → fiber art

If you liked: those big, blunt-tipped blue needles and bulky yarn
You’ll love: Basic Weaving, Tapestry, Wet Felting, Knitting

Fiber art is more popular than ever! And you can put it on your wall or yourself.

Elmer’s glue → mixed-media

If you liked: finding cool stuff to put together
You’ll love: Abstracting with Acrylic Paints, Sculpture From Scrap, Metal Sculpture, Collage

Were you the kid who was mixing stuff into your paint, or collecting cool stuff you found on the ground so you could make it into something? Good news! The art world has legitimized your experiments, which are called (respectively) “mixed media” and “found object” art. Translation: you see art everywhere, and that’s pretty cool.

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Did you know: The Art League's Art Camp is the longest running visual arts camp in the area! We've been here for more than 30 years! While sadly we can't find any photos from the '80s (please let us know if you have any lying around), let's take a look back at the last several years of burgeoning kid artists and eight years of fun at Art Camp!

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Simply set The Art League as your chosen charity, and every time you shop at smile.amazon.com, a portion of your purchase will be donated to support our mission to share the experience of visual arts with the community.