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Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade

From Alpha Omega Publications

Review by Martha Robinson

Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade $49.95 on VHS or $51.95 on DVD. Please support by buying this program from our Christian Book Distributors link or on our direct link to Alpha Omega Publications.

Alpha Omega's Lifepac program, Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade, includes a video, spiral-bound teacher's manual, and five workbooks in an attractive storage box. The world famous "Painter of Light" hosts the video, and his image is shown throughout the workbooks with tips and explanations of concepts.

Drawing Basics offers a systematic approach to art instruction. Each lesson in the workbook begins with a list of objectives and materials. Step-by-step instructions, including when to watch the video, and straightforward activities follow. Periodic self-tests and five unit exams test understanding. Children have the opportunity for success with basic tasks such as drawing straight and curved lines beginning the program. The lessons increase in scope and difficulty to allow the student to do a complete still life drawing as the final project.

The course teaches both real and imaginary drawing. Sketching, contour drawing, underdrawing, and proportion are some of the discussion points for realistic drawings of people, animals, and landscapes. The same techniques added to memories and creative thought give the child the chance to draw both imaginary creatures and places. Mr. Kinkade explains the role of tone and texture in finishing a picture.

The fourth workbook is a mini-art history course. After explanations of ancient art from caves, and art and architecture from Egypt and Greece, the workbook reviews with basic comprehension questions and assigns related projects. The Renaissance section highlights Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

On the 1.5 hours long video, Thomas Kinkade explains and demonstrates art concepts and techniques. This art master makes everything look easy, but he builds the child's confidence by pointing out that even experienced artists have to focus on the basics and sometimes make mistakes. He has a warm and friendly presentation.

The teacher's manual includes a reproduction of every page of the workbook with teaching tips and answers to the exercises and tests. While the program is designed for grades three to five, it may be made suitable for children up to eighth grade by doing the additional tasks specified in this manual. One additional "Bible integration" project per unit (five total) are "reproducibles" and offer specific tie-in to Biblical principles and Scripture. A set of "alternate tests" are included in case the student did not show mastery of the material after the first test. Many pages at the beginning of the teacher's manual detail items of particular interest to schools using Alpha Omega's materials -- how the program adheres to NAEA standards and grading scenarios.

Recommendation: Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade is a solid drawing course. With the step-by-step instructions and encouragement from the video, even the most timid artist (child OR parent!) has the opportunity to succeed. Thomas Kinkade's amazing talent is evident on the video, and yet, with his easy manner, the student does not feel intimidated. The workbooks are clearly written for third to fifth grade children, but this program could easily be used as a family-wide, fun time. The art history portion is brief, but with the addition of some library books or internet searches, the parent could flesh it out. Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade is sure to make art into a subject that is clamored for!

Our Experience: My 10- and 13-year olds sat spellbound watching Thomas Kinkade draw. Both emphatically told me that they want to do this program! resources related to this review:'s Art Page with creative resources and links for art!
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