The Coolest Kids’ Art Classes On Instagram To Tune Into Now
Written by Erin Feher
Photography by Carson Ellis, PHOTOGRAPHED BY PAIGE JONES
By now you have likely heard about all the A+ artists and illustrators taking to Instagram to offer up daily art classes for creatives of all ages. Parents and kids went so bonkers for Mo Willems’ Lunchtime Doodle that the website shut down temporarily when too many people tried to tune in at once (don’t worry, it’s all sorted now). The desire to help is seemingly equally being met with the desire to draw.
We spoke with NYT-best-selling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton (Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words, and more) about what inspired her to launch her own daily drawing club on IG Live: Draw Together with WendyMac. “My illustration work is journalistic and I draw and interview people on location. Not being able to leave the house and talk to people changes everything for me. I think a lot of us are asking ourselves, ‘Given our conditions, how can our skills and resources be of best service to people right now?’ Which takes us to Draw Together. When it was announced kids are going to have to stay home and parents would be responsible for their homeschooling (along with everything else they are responsible for in a week—oy, I can’t imagine), my wife and I were talking to my parents about what we could offer. It was my mother who suggested I teach kids online. I love kids and teaching and feel at home in front of a camera. (It’s a side effect of being an only child who’d perform to imaginary audience). Also, in addition to being a NYT bestselling author, my wife Caroline Paul is a great director of photography and art assistant! We started on March 16th—the first day kids in California stayed home. We’ve been doing it every morning since. And we will continue until kids are back in school.”
“Seeing the photos and videos of kids and families from around the world drawing, engaged in what they are doing, interacting with me like they do (we get pics of them talking to me on screen, showing me their work, goofing around with me) is amazing. And giving parents a fun 30-minute break from parenting so they can work or take a shower is hugely gratifying. Hearing from parents that the kids feel seen and heard and get to be creative and centered and feel better after the show? Hugely rewarding. Drawing is a great way to center ourselves, focus, and process our emotions. Kids have a lot going on inside right now. Helping provide an outlet for them to work through some of that while having a blast and being silly and dancing and drawing? It’s truly an honor and our pleasure.”
Below, we’ve put together a lineup of the coolest kids’ art classes on Instagram to take now (with more surely to be added!). Tune in, and let you kids experience an extra-special art session with their very favorite illustrators!
Quarantine Art Club With Carson Ellis
The beloved kids’ book illustrator Carson Ellis (Home, Du Iz Tak?, The Shortest Day, and The Mysterious Benedict Society) began posting art assignments on her Instagram feed every weekday morning as soon as school closures starting rolling in. She has designed them for kids and grownups alike. The hashtag #quarantineartclub is now approaching 20,000 posts! Her #TRANSMUNDANETUESDAYS are extra cool—every Tuesday she posts three prompts chosen at random and you draw them!
When: Every weekday morning
Draw Together with WendyMac
The prolific and wildly talented illustrator and graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton (quoted above!) wants to hang out. She’s launched a daily drawing club for “kids of all ages, parents of kids, parents of parents, aunties/uncles, friends, and pets.” She’s as charming and funny as they come, so even if you’re not a natural, you will have a blast. “I thought it would be 5 minutes, but it seems like it’s more like 20? Long enough for parents to get a little work done or take a shower and take a couple deep breathes. We’ll do some calming drawing exercises, too,” promises Wendy. Starting next week she is posting the classes on YouTube as well, so kids can go back and watch classes again or participate in any they missed.
When: Every weekday, 1pm EST/ 10am PST
Where: @wendymac on IG Live
Lunch Doddles With Mo Wilems
The incomparable Mo Willems (the creator of all those goofy Don’t Let The Pigeon...books, Elephant and Piggie, and so many others) invites folks into his studio every day for his Lunch Doodle. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle, and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons, and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. If you post your art to social media, be sure to hashtag it with #MoLunchDoodles!
When: Every weekday, 1pm EST/ 10am PST
Where: The Kennedy Center website
Say Yes’s Art With Edie
Liz Stanley has been teaching us how to live an inspired and creative life for years with her popular, long-running blog Say Yes, and now she’s offering up a little kiddie art inspo, too. Every Thursday she and her daughter Edie will head over to IG Live for a simple art project, recommended for ages 4-7. “When the world isn’t turned upside down, I host an art class every spring with Edie and her friends here in our home studio. We’re missing it right now with all this social distancing, so decided to make it happen for anyone who wants to join in virtually,” says Liz. She emphasizes that they generally use basic supplies and will post a materials list Thursday morning of each week.
When: Every Thursday, 4pm EST/1pm PST
Drawing With Toddler and E.B. Goodale
Children’s book author and illustrator E.B. Goodale (Under the Lilacs, Windows, Here and Now, and more) is hosting a drawing class just for the scribbling set. Goodale takes requests for what to draw live, “or you can just sit back and watch the chaos.”
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30am EST/8:30am PST
Comic book illustrator Jarrett Lerner (of the Enginerds series) is dropping a series of illustrated activities each day, including blank comic book pages, a character maker, blank clothes your kids can help design, and a “Finish This Comic” activity. He posts new batches of activities five mornings a week, all except Mondays and Thursdays when he instead posts chapters of his unreleased novel, Knights of The Kings Table. All of the activities are archived on his site so you can access them anytime.
Where: Lerner’s website
Children’s book illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka has dozens of books to his name, including the beloved Lunch Lady series. He recently launched a daily YouTube series called “Draw everyday with JJK” where kids can learn techniques such as expressions, proportions, and word balloons. Start with episode one, which provides a quick intro to the series, and some pro tips that any budding illustrator can use. Each episode is about 20 minutes long.
When: Every weekday; 2pm EST/11am PST
Where: Krosoczka’s YouTube channel
Uber-cool designer, stop-motion artist, and mama Trisha Zemp launched an online stop-motion kids camp just over six months ago, but just last week she announced the popular series is now FREE. You need to take a few steps in order to access it: share her post announcing the free service in your Instagram stories and tag her account. If your account is private, DM her a screenshot of your story. She’ll then DM you a code to access the camp at no cost. “I am hoping that by offering this resource, it can distill some of the worry that many of us are feeling. (And keep kiddos busy with creative play!),” she explains. Zemp notes that the class is for kids of all ages—which means grownups are welcome, too.
It’s not just artists who want to entertain your kids for free. Check out what a group of children’s authors are doing to save story time, one IG Live reading at a time!
Share this story