May 2, 2017

Revisiting Exploring Cultural Art with ArtAchieve {Product Review}

Last summer, we had the pleasure of reviewing the Entire Level I from ArtAchieve. We enjoyed trying the art lessons, and the boys had asked me if we would be doing them again. They were happy when I shared that we would be reviewing the Entire Level II for a few weeks, and hoped they would enjoy this new level for ArtAchieve as much as they did the previous level.
ArtAchieve~ Online Art Lessons inspired by Cultural Art from Around the World

About ArtAchieve

ArtAchieve designed their art lessons for children in order to help them be inspired by art around the world, and to enable teachers without art backgrounds to still be able to teach exciting art classes. ArtAchieve isn't just focused on art--they also include mini social studies lessons with their lesson as they explore the part of the world the inspiration came from, dabbling in social studies, science and language arts!


ArtAchieve believes that drawing is a skill just like math or science and that by honing skills, anyone can draw! Their lessons build on the previous themes and always include warm-up pages to break the skills down into bite size pieces again.

ArtAchieve provides online art lessons (PowerPoint or video) with a couple downloadable components (just the drawing samples and warm-ups) and provides the complete supplies lists ahead of time.

ArtAchieve currently has five levels of lessons available that range from grades elementary to adult. They also have some free lessons which you can snag to try them out for yourself. The lessons can be purchased individually or bundled by level. The bundles range $30+ for the 1 year license to any of the five bundles.

We reviewed the ArtAchieve Entire Level II with both of my boys (age 11 and 6).

Our Thoughts on ArtAchieve

14 lessons in Level 2 featuring 14 countries/cultures
Because we had done the review last year, we knew what to expect from the lessons. I picked Entire Level II, because we were already familiar with Level I, and because the age range was 7+ which fits pretty much both boys. The routine was the same as before--I read the names of the drawings, and the boys picked which ones they wanted to do first. We tried to stick with the markers for the media, before diving into the other art lessons in the bundle which included things like chalk pastels and acrylic paint. It was helpful to have the supply list for each project to reference when planning out our project. To get started, I printed off the PDF pages associated with each project--these were for drawing or referencing aspects of the project. Then I played the video. There is the option to go with a PowerPoint version of the lesson, but I find the video much better for us to use.

As with the previous level, Level II introduces the student to some culture and geography through exploring the topic for the drawing. For instance, when we were going to draw the Japanese Goldfish, we had the opportunity to also explore Japanese history using the Cross-Curricular Connections page that went with the drawing lesson. For someone like me who enjoys unit study, I appreciated having all these extra explorations laid out for me--with links! This is a nice extra that is part of all the art lessons with ArtAchieve.
The Cross Curricular Connections suggestions for taking the Japanese Goldfish further
I like that Level II includes more mediums, and that the supplies don't have to be expensive. Regular construction paper and any soft pastels for the chalk pastel lesson. And the markers are just washable markers--we always have Crayola on hand so we use those. I did buy use some new Sharpies because we needed fine tipped, but that was only $2. As for the paper--they say to use glossy photo paper--but we never have. Just plain old computer paper.

The only negative aspect the boys have shared, is that they are tired of the "get ready to do art" portion of every lesson. The same list of reminders. The same relaxation routine. Now they have me skip past it to go straight to the art. It would be handy if there was away to watch that separately from the lessons themselves.

Working through the practice designs sheet
Of all the lessons we did, the boys' favorite was definitely the Sri Lankan Landscape with an Elephant. They were fascinated by the idea of paper made from Elephant Poo (thanks for the rabbit trail we now have to investigate), and really enjoyed the pre-drawing science/culture lesson. I am definitely going to let them explore it further using the Cross Curricular Connections page for this lesson. They also enjoyed their finished project and successfully drawing an elephant. I admit--it was my favorite lesson too. You will be able to see our creation below...

Another positive from these lessons is that the student is encouraged to tweak the drawing to fit their desires. So you can change the shape of things, or the location, or whatever fits what YOU want. And the artist just reminds you to think of it in terms of lines being drawn--the parts, instead of trying to do the whole. This made these drawings much easier for my 6 1/2 year old to complete--and the reason why we ALWAYS do the pre-drawing exercises for each lesson, where we practice pieces and lines featured in each creation.

Here are a few of the projects that we have done thus far:

Japanese Goldfish

our three versions of the same fish

Ukrainian Cat
This cat gave us issues...none of us were satisfied with our results. LOL

The Sri Lankan Landscape with an Elephant
This was the favorite project of all we have done
The boys have enjoyed the simple and easy to follow directions, although there were several times when they just hated what they drew. I think this is because neither boys is really a "draw-er" in regards to animals. Thus their favorite part of each lesson was the coloring stage--the exception was the Sri Lankan Landscape. They LOVED being able to draw their own trees/bushes and picking where they wanted their elephant to go. But that allows for their own creativity.

I have to agree with the boys on the repetition of the "preparing to do art" portions. It was annoying and we always sped the video along. I think that Level II is definitely more difficult than Level I. There were many times I was having issues with my own drawing (ahem. See the Ukrainian Cat). Fortunately, I was able to remind us all that it was okay to not like what we drew. LOL. (just like the artist reminds us)

The boys are kind of put off by the cultural drawings for the animals. They had to reach beyond what they thought of when drawing an elephant, cat, or fish...to accept that people see animals differently when it comes to art. That was a good experience for them.


Want to Know More?

We have been reviewing the Entire Level II art classes from ArtAchieve over the last few weeks. You have read our thoughts on this product--but what did the rest of the crew think? What are some of the other levels like?
Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}

I recommend you connecting with ArtAchieve via social media, so you can stay abreast of any sales or new classes being offered! You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for more information!

 photo 2015blogsiggy_zpsfy0kfo4t.png