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Kids Art Activities: Art Inspired by Great Artists

imitating famous paintings - creative inspiration

Mike’s notes from dad have evolved into “notes from dad and kids”, and most Sunday afternoons you’ll find Mike and the kids drawing together. Since my kids love to draw, we’re always looking for fun kids art activities, and this version – making drawing inspired by great works of arts – has become a favorite with six-year-old Emma!

Musee d'Orsay - impressionist paintings

It all started when my parents sent us their copy of Paintings in the Musee D’orsay – a huge book of impressionist paintings from this gorgeous museum that I spent hours poring over as a kid. One afternoon, Mike picked it up and devised a game: pick a painting, and imitate it, using only a pen and crayons!

chose a painting and try to imitate it - fun creative activity for all ages!

Here is Mike’s simplified depiction of Prince Eugene de Suede’s The Old Chateau :

Crayon and ink drawing inspired by Prince Eugene de Suede's The Old Chateau

And six-year-old Emma’s version:

A six-year-old's crayon and ink drawing inspired by Prince Eugene de Suede's The Old Chateau

And here is a depiction of the process, because that’s what Pinterest loves and I love Pinterest:

art inspired by great artistsDo you have any favorite art activities for kids?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

23 thoughts on “Kids Art Activities: Art Inspired by Great Artists”

  1. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    All of these pictures are dreamy. It just makes my heart smile to see Emma’s version. So sweet.

    I can’t say we have a favorite art activity, but art is big part of our lives. I like art much more than “crafts”. I like to introduce an artist or an art medium and then I turn the kiddos loose to create their own works of art. We get much inspiration for children’s literature. The children recently drew portraits of each other. I can’t wait to frame these. They turned out so good.

    One of my favorite read alouds to encourage children’s artistic side is “ish” by Peter H. Reynolds.

  2. I love this – what a beautiful way to learn about famous works of art while creating your own. You sure have some great artists in your family!

  3. I love the Musee D’Orsay. I was there when I was like a sophomore in high school (won’t say how long ago that was), but it was beautiful!

    I love love love the art, Mama! Talent abound in your family!

    No, I don’t do art. LOL. In fact, I asked another Mama in my homeschool Co-op group to work with my kids once a week on art. I can do science, math, phonics – but art. I hate the mess.

  4. Ooohhhh, I like the idea of copying the painting. We’ve tried making art in the style of the artist, but it never goes quite right. I think my kids are too much out of the box thinkers….. I wonder where they got that from.

    1. Emma loves her art – and so does my husband! They make a great team, but what I love about this is that you don’t even have to be any good to enjoy it!

  5. I remember doing this activity as a kid at school. They’d give us a painting and we’d copy it. Weirdly I was a good copier but when it came time to do my own it wasn’t nearly as fabulous lol.

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