Monday, May 11, 2020

Art for the Whole Family: A Review of Beyond the Stick Figure Art School

Logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach; text: Art for the Whole Family: A Review of Beyond the Stick Figure Art School; image of flower and circles

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

For the past several weeks our family has been working through the Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course PLUS 3 Bonus Courses together. These courses are offered by Beyond the Stick Figure Art School and can be by everyone in your household. It is designed to be used as a daily program for the homeschool year but we have been working on different parts in a quicker fashion as fits our needs and homeschool style. With over 60 lessons, we can incorporate art into almost every day of our homeschooling week.  

What is Beyond the Stick Figure Art School? 

Working on the premise that famous artists use techniques and skills that they have learned and practiced, your family will learn the very basics of drawing that they then can take with them into more artwork. The person behind Beyond the Stick Figure is Sally who is from England (so expect an English accent while you are learning your art!). She homeschools her children and wants to share her passion for art with other homeschooling families. 

What Are the Courses? 

There are four courses that we have access to for the review: 
    Text: Art for the Whole Family: A Review of Beyond the Stick Figure Art School; Sit around the table and create works of art with your entire family; watercolor picture and drawing with a marker
  • The Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course 
  • The Complete Pen & Ink and Watercolor Course
  • Introduction to Acrylic Course 
  • Introduction to 3D Design Course 
The courses focus on techniques that you can use to develop your drawing skills using various materials. In the first drawing course, the short videos are sometimes accompanied with PDFs to download for drawing, tracing, and practice.

There is a list of materials that you will need to purchase before you begin creating your art that is now available before you start looking at any lessons. You can then view specific videos within the courses that show and discuss the necessary materials. (For example, Acrylic Part 2 Materials, you can view the video that shows the paintbrushes, paints, and other items you will need to create a beautiful brown and white lake scene.)

We had to pick and choose which supplies to purchase for the review of Beyond the Stick Figure courses. As our teenager was going to be working on the painting portion of the course with me, we spent the money we allocated to the course on those supplies. In the future, we will purchase the marker set but with the current state of things we were unable to purchase them. We also had to substitute a few other things (like picking a different color paint) due to being able to go to the craft stores and online supplies being limited. (Personally, I don't think using a different color for our watercolor painting was too detrimental.)

pen and ink watercolor in four pictures (one photo of lesson from online)
The picture was supposed to be drawn with a black fine point sharpie marker but I couldn't find ours anywhere in the house!

How are the courses set up? When you log into the site, you will see that you need to go through each lesson and watch the videos and then mark them as complete. You cannot skip ahead to the further courses (I went through and marked the courses as complete so we can do the different drawing and painting lessons. This was a bit time-consuming.)

drawing lesson from online
Here you can see the parts of the course are listed to the left side of the screen.
There are a couple of ways to navigate once you have checked off courses as completed. 

But beyond getting the materials you need ready (purchasing or printing out documents) and have accessing to the lessons online, Beyond the Stick Figure Art School can be very easy for homeschooling parents. There is no need to write out lessons or spend time doing the teaching yourself. The instructions are provided in each video.

How Are We Using the Courses in Our Homeschool? 

Our younger children and I are working on the beginning Drawing Courses. There are three parts to the Drawing Course which focuses on the basics of drawing. Our children have been drawing straight lines, curved lines, circles, and dots. They then took those skills and worked on drawing abstract pictures and flowers.

I really like that the children work on 8 x 11.5 papers cut into fourths. It makes it a lot easier to provide them with page after page for drawing as well as being less intimidating, as is talked about in the lessons. (You aren't staring at a huge drawing page that you have to fill.)

four images of drawing curved lines in various stages and from online lessons
For many of the beginning lessons, our children worked on mastering drawing lines and shapes.

There were also some parts in the early lessons of the Drawing course where children practiced dots, circles, straight lines, and curved lines. We printed out the pages for our younger son to complete included pages that examined primary and secondary colors.

same drawing dots and lines worksheets

I watched and completed the first Pen & Ink drawing myself. I plan on working on the second one from Part 2 but I need to purchase tracing paper prior to completing the tree scene. I also went through and watched the Introduction to Acrylic Course videos.

watercolor still frame of online lesson
I am really looking forward to completing this painting. I just need the tracing paper!

online lesson for painting with acrylics
I am looking forward to painting with acrylics. 

At the end of each course, there is a rubric that you can download so you can determine how well you think you did during the course. The rubric focuses upon self-reflection. So, if your children are younger, you may want to complete it with them.

Our teen and I sat down to complete the watercolor course together. As we did not have access to the recommended gray color paint, we each choose a different color to create our small painting. I think I will have fun practicing this painting more and more to get the technique and details to my liking.

two completed watercolor pictures; one practice watercolor picture

What Are We Looking Forward To?

Our teen son and I are looking forward to working with acrylics. This part of the course is in three parts. We have about half of the supplies we need but with the current state of affairs, it has been difficult to get all the materials suggested or needed. I have gone through and watched them. I can't wait till I can start to practice painting a lovely sky, a mountain scene using brown and white, and another lovely countryside scene.

The final course, which we have not started, is on 3D Design. There are three parts to this course. I think our children will enjoy working on this part as they will get to create an animal.

There are a few things that I feel could make the online courses even better that mostly deal with navigation. I wish that the lessons were labeled with more detail. As in Watercolor Part 1, Day 9: Foreground. It would make it easier to navigate back to lessons when taking a break. And while I understand the skills taught in the courses are meant to build upon each other but it is difficult when one child wants to work on art while another is more interesting in painting. We had to go through and click complete on parts of the courses we actually had not finished yet. Perhaps each course could be individual rather than be grouped together.   

The lessons are full of some great advice – including a video just for moms (or dads) that encourages us as parents to not crush the spirit of our children when they are going through the lessons. Another piece of advice I enjoyed hearing was that of not squeezing the paintbrushes in the paper towel. Never thought anything of doing that till watching the videos at Beyond the Stick Figure. I really think everything is presented in a very clear manner to help those who are not used to drawing or working with the different types of paint or clay used in the courses. If you are looking for a beginners course to help you or your children get started as artists, Beyond the Stick Figure Art School will be a great resource for your homeschool.

Do You Want to Learn More?

There were many families who had the chance to review the Beyond the Stick Figure Art School courses. Be sure to check out the Homeschool Review Crew reviews!

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  1. This looks really cool! The acrylic course looks the most interesting to me. Looks like something I would really enjoy with my 11 year old.

  2. This looks so fun! I am glad it was enjoyable:)

  3. We are really enjoying this program too! It's so fun.