Art Toolkit

Teaching artists and CAM educators provide art-making tutorials for kids and artists of all ages.

<em>Rachel Youn: Gather</em>, Great Rivers Biennial 2020, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 11, 2020—February 21, 2021. Photo: Dusty Kessler.

Clean Green Floral Machine (Advanced)

Create a kinetic sculpture inspired by the dancing flowers found in Rachel Youn’s installation Gather. Using cardboard and a chromatography technique on coffee filters, simple materials are converted to hand-operated moving artworks.

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<em>Amy Sherald</em>, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 11–August 19, 2018. Photo: Dusty Kessler.

Remix Portrait inspired by Amy Sherald

Amy Sherald’s body of work is unique in that she renders the skin of her subjects in shades of gray. In contrast, she infuses color into clothing and accessories as well as the vibrant backgrounds that characterize the dreamy, empty spaces that her subjects inhabit. In this tutorial, you can create your own portrait in the style of Sherald.

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Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 8 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Dusty Kessler.

Collaging the Self inspired by Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas works to portray her black female subjects both expressively and powerfully, often drawing inspiration from art history. At the same time, Thomas seeks to depict her own inner world and explore her own memories through her choices of costume and décor. In this tutorial, you’ll visualize your own inner world by photographing and collaging images of yourself that display your character.

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Automatic Drawing inspired by Nicola Tyson

Nicola Tyson uses a strategy she calls “psycho-figuration” that allows her subconscious to take control of the art-making process. Art history students may recognize this as similar to automatic drawing, a method used by the Surrealists. Ready to tap into your subconscious? Follow along with our tutorial to make your own Tyson-inspired psycho-figuration portrait.

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Code Quilting inspired by Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers’s work has long focused on African and African American material culture and history, including the rich tradition of African American quilting. In Biggers’s work, the quilt is the canvas as well as the medium, in addition to paint, scraps of fabric, and even charcoal. Follow along to make your own quilt “painting” from fabric, and adding your own meaningful, personal symbols.

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Fiber Weaving inspired by Sheila Hicks

Sheila Hicks has spent her long career immersed in the world of weaving and other handmade fiber crafts. Some of her artworks are her small weavings that she calls “minimes,” and include found objects that range from magazine pages, wood, shells, and other odds and ends that represent the time and place in which they were made. Follow our tutorial to make a simple handloom weaving.

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Paper Sculpture inspired by Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet has created artwork with a variety of art materials. Her ‘flat sculptures’ consist of layers of colored paper pulp layered over molds made from objects around the artist’s studio. Follow along with the steps below to make your own paper sculpture using homemade papier-mâché layered over or under cardboard of different shapes!

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Embroidery with Janie Stamm

St. Louis-based artist Janie Stamm was our LEAP Middle School teacher this season, working with young artists in the making of 3-D imaginary islands.⁣ LEAP has come to a pause, but Janie has shared a way to help us all feel less like we’re stranded on our own islands. Follow along with her embroidery tutorial to keep your hands and minds busy and creative! ⁣

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Thirsty Bird Flip-Book inspired by Marina Zurkow

Looking for an easy project to keep your little ones busy at home? Follow our four-step flip-book activity inspired by Marina Zurkow’s The Thirsty Bird.

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Paper Collage inspired by Derek Fordjour

Derek Fordjour developed his unique painting process using humble materials, chosen for their affordability: charcoal, newspaper, cardboard, foil. Try your own interpretation of Fordjour’s process at home—or for a beginner-friendly alternative, follow along with our simple paper collage tutorial.

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Blind Contour Drawing Tutorial

Running out of Saturday night social distancing ideas? Natalie, one of CAM’s Visitor Services Associates, shares a great way to stay entertained—blind contour drawing. Watch Natalie’s simple tutorial, then grab your quarantine partner and get drawing.

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Colored Pencil Blending with Cecily Fergeson

Local artist Cecily Fergeson shares a virtual colored pencil blending tutorial that kids and adults alike can practice at home. In this video, Cecily will show you four methods of colored pencil blending: layering, burnishing, saturation burnishing, and tonal burnishing.

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