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Life after art

Back when I was about four or so, I loved to draw. I distinctly remember asking my mom to draw pictures with me one afternoon, so we sat in my room at the bite-sized table and chairs, the sunlight striking diagonally through the window and onto my bed. And we drew.

My mom drew a simple picture of a field of grass with an apple tree and a sun, and I copied her. She drew the bed of grass horizontally across her paper, so I did the same on my own. I waited until she was done with the brown crayon, and then I drew my own tree trunk, placed on the left-hand side of the paper, just like her. I remember feeling a bit bummed that her apples looked more like real apples than mine, so I lowered myself closer to my paper so that I could focus. I wanted my apples to be as good as hers.

This is one of those flash memories, where I’m sure the drawing event took about ten minutes, but from my kid perspective, it lasted all day. It was a drawing day.

I took the prerequisite art class in elementary school, just like everyone else, and it was a class I looked forward to all week in my early years, but not so much as I got older. From my perspective, I didn’t have a “natural talent” for art, so it felt like too much an effort to get my toothpick sculpture to really look like the Eiffel Tower. I’d rather read. That was my forte.

You will be creating the rest of your life. You might as well do it on purpose. -Matt Appling

I left elementary school, and I don’t think I’ve taken another art class since. But I always loved to create—still do love to create (and I love to soak up the blessings of others’ creations as well). I find inherent satisfaction in the rhythm of sewing, in writing, and in decorating our home. There’s something soul tempering about an afternoon spent creating…just because. Life moves slower, I can better think, and I’m just not so crotchety afterwards.

matt applingMatt Appling is an elementary art teacher, and he regularly witnesses the gradual shift inevitable in many kids, starting from five-year-olds unencumbered by fear of rejection or lack of skill, to sixth graders who rush through art projects so they can proclaim, “I’m done!” and move on to something else.

Matt, like Picasso, believes that all of us are born artists, but that the challenge is to stay an artist as an adult. And his new book, Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room, makes a strong case of this truth, reminding adults that deep down inside, we are all, indeed, artists. We were all made to create. And it’s not too late to find and reclaim the long-lost artist that lives deep within.

Life After Art

With chapters that discuss stuff like the challenge to stay an artist as an adult, how our entire society suffers from an epidemic of lost creativity, the beauty of constraints, and that failure is an option—even a necessity—to becoming creative beings once again, Life After Art is a gem. Matt also tells comical stories about his students, and the corresponding sweet truths he’s learned from these young people. I think about this book hours after I set it down.

Somewhere along the way, children learn that failure is something to be feared, rather than to be learned from and embraced. -Matt Appling

It’s a short read, but it’s packed with truth. It’s a shot in the arm to get out there and be the creative self you KNOW you are. You really are. Stop saying you’re not.

There is eternal value in creating; it shouldn’t be an afterthought to enjoy only once we pay the bills and do the dishes. Deep enjoyment of life requires being the creative self you were meant to be. Art class lasts through elementary school, and then we too often move on to More Important Things.

But there is life after art. We need to live it.

What will you create today: beauty or ugliness? -Matt Appling


Matt is giving away a copy of Life After Art to ten Simple Mom readers! Simply leave any comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win (I’d love to hear a memory from an art class you’ve taken). If you’re reading this via email, please click over to the post and leave a comment on the blog.

Oh, and head here to read chapter one for free.

This giveaway will end tomorrow night, Friday, July 19, and we’ll announce the winners soon after. I hope you win!

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Ellena

    This sounds like a wonderful book! Even if I don’t win a copy I definitely think I’ll be buying a copy.

  2. Ellen Wilson

    As a fellow elementary art teacher this book seems intriguing.

  3. Rachael

    I just remember 7th grade art class. The teacher put a ball in the center of the room that had lights shining down on it from different angles. We were then told to draw the ball–so I drew a circle. My teacher told me to draw the shadows. I couldn’t see them. I still struggle with that idea to this day!

  4. Ellen

    Sounds like I need to read this one!

  5. Heidi

    This book looks amazing! I would love to read it!

  6. Sara

    I would love to read this book!

    • Melissa C

      I still love coloring. It’s my favorite thing to do with my three year old! I’m not good at drawing but I can color.

  7. Steven

    My wife would really love to read this book.

  8. Marissa

    Sounds like a great read!

  9. Jennefer

    I think I may need this book….

  10. Diane

    Sounds like a refreshing perspective, would love to read this.

  11. Bridget

    My mom is an elementary art teacher… this sounds like her!

  12. Angela

    The book sounds so good! I’d LOVE to read it!

  13. Cassie

    My mama was in college when I was 9-12 years old. She minored in art, and I loved it when my dad was busy and she had to take me to her evening art classes. My favorite was learning to work the wheel in ceramics because the teacher was always kind enough to let me join in. I hate that I’ve lost some of those skills!

  14. Crystal

    Oh wow, I think I need this book in my life. Sounds like a life changer.

  15. Crystalyn

    I would love to read this. I always loved art class in elementary and middle school, but for some reason I didn’t really take any art classes in high school until I as a senior. I was too shy to ask for them for some silly reason!

  16. Sarah

    Looks like a good book. Would love to win.

  17. Dawn Sparks

    I don’t have a specific memory but I define myself as “not artistic”. If I end up homeschooling our kids, I’d love a resource to help me get over that and pass on a love of art to them.

  18. Sarah m

    I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but it’s been on my amazon wish list for awhile. I’d love to read it.
    I remember LOVING my elementary school’s art classes, but always feeling annoyed that I could never finish a single project during the class time. It wasn’t something you could ever go back to, and I never had the amazing art materials at home (colors, sure, but I can’t remember ever having paints at home). One of my favorite projects was weaving different colors/sizes of yarn through a strawberry pint container, and using it as a catch-all basket. It was so pretty, texture-y, and bright.
    Sarah M

    • Matt Appling

      That time limit is a catch-22 for me as a teacher. It’s always the same kids who have trouble with the time limits. 🙂 I hope you’ll be encouraged by the book, and you may find that even those annoying time limits have something to say about our lives.

  19. Wendy Halverson

    This sounds terrific! Makes me want to grab some crayons right now and doodle. I hope I win!

  20. Chrissy

    My kids go to a charter art school and my wife teaches there, as well. This would be a wonderful addition to our library. I am continually amazed at how easily my children ease into an art project while I always hesitate and underestimate myself. Somewhere along the way we lose that ease and confidence in ourselves as artists. I cannot even recall an art class memory; I cannot remember a time that I ever though of myself as “good” at art. I would love to discover that ease and creativity in myself.

    • Matt Appling

      Chrissy – I hope the book encourages you to do exactly that!

  21. Chantelle

    This is something I’ve been struggling with and thinking of a lot lately. My life is so academically focused and I find joy in playing, or creating, on the piano to express myself but I can’t compose. So what do I do? My favorite memory is painting a white rose in canvas in art class. But then I compared myself to “natural artists” in the class and was discouraged.

  22. Chantelle

    My favorite memory is painting a white rose on canvas. But then I compared myself to “natural” artists in my class and was discouraged.

  23. Lauren

    Art was my first love. I hate that I haven’t picked up a paintbrush or piece of charcoal in years…
    I always loved the art room because it felt so relaxed. Big tables covered in paint splatters instead of rigid little confining desks… You just felt like you could breathe easier and dive into creating something…

  24. tracy

    There are many ways to be an artist! I would love to read this book.

  25. Tracy @ Using Time Wisely

    I like art, but my daughter likes it better. I need more push to get creative.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Jana

    I feel such walls come up when I try to create. I want and need to discover what they mean and break them down. I know I am a delightfully creative person once I make it out of this artificial box I’m in now!

  27. Lorraine

    Sounds like it could help me get back into creativity. I took my first art class in 4th grade. I was hooked. I took art through high school. I’m not gifted but I do alright. I wanted to major in art at college but succumed to the family pressure that said “what would you do with an art degree.” I married, had 2 girls and moved states. I remained somewhat artsy until after we started adopting. We kept adopting and I have 15 children including the homemade ones. I have 11 home now. Their special needs, and homeschooling have consumed most of my time. We’ve delt with some tramatic issues and been all consumed. Needless to say my creativity has hit rock bottom. I miss being creative. In art. Homeschooling with this many kids, I have to think creative, but it’s not the same as creating art. I miss it dearly. I want to do watercolor. I want to do anything. I just need to get my hand held in the process of making it a piece of my life again. I am trying to incorporate it into our homeschooling. But even that is different than being in the zone myself. That creative spirit. Simple. Real. The day to day stuff just seems to suck all my time and energy away. Does the book address this? I am very curious.

    • Matt Appling

      Lorraine – it sounds like you have devoted quite an enormous amount of creative energy to your life! (Whether you have called it “creative” or not.) I just want to applaud you for what sounds like an incredible career of raising a family. I do address the fact that there are always pressures placed on us – some are just the way the world is, such as time, money, etc. We can’t get rid of those. But there are plenty of pressures that we place on ourselves, are artificial and maybe can be removed.

  28. Gayle

    I was just remembering last week how much I used to sketch and I haven’t done it in years. Would love to read the book. Maybe I will buy a sketch pad this
    week ?

  29. Ashley

    Sounds like a great book!!

  30. Sara

    I think I always feared not doing well in Art class, but I always enjoyed it! I remember my early elementary and middle school art classes best because I loved the teacher. He really liked the good artists, but always seemed to like me too even though I didn’t think I had that natural talent. I was too fearful once I got to college to go to the school nearby home and major in photography because I had to take 2 drawing classes for the major. I feared failing. I just don’t feel like it was a good day if I haven’t created something. My husband and I often talk about feeling like we can’t use our creativity often enough in our current phase of life. Both of us feel really energized when we are able to use our creative side. I would love to read this book. I would love to get inspiration to be more creative each day and even be creative in how I can be creative.

  31. Katie

    I always had gone memories of art class, I loved using “real” art supplies. I hope to instill a love for creating in my own children, and would love to read this book.

    • Matt Appling

      I hope the book helps you with that, Katie. I think you’ll find that your kids are natural creators – of something. Half the work is already done for you. 🙂 We just have to help our kiddos hang on to what they’ve already got.

  32. Leah

    This book sounds great! I was pigeonholed as Uncreative as a child, and used to dread art lessons. I remember my one art success: making a clay butter dish in the shape of a cow. It was far too big but my parents loved it and I was so proud of myself. I actually now live a very creative life, and find it sad so many kids are ‘put off’ at school out of fear.

  33. Jennie C.

    I think that’s a book I’d like to read. 🙂

  34. Melissa

    Reading this post reminded me of my Year 8 art teacher. After telling him at the beginning of the year that I was hopeless at art, he encouraged my creativity and set out to prove me wrong. I would love to read this book!

  35. Abby

    This loss of creativity and fear of failure is so on my heart right now. I will definitely have to read this book!

  36. Jamie

    I watch my 7 year old gleefully attack a blank piece of paper with paint while my 12 year old looks on wistfully and says, “I’m not good at drawing…” It breaks my heart. I would love to read this book.

  37. Liv

    I painted on canvas for the first time this week while making an art project for my bathroom. I loved it! It reminded me of when my sisters and I used to sit and paint for a big chunk of the afternoon when we were kids. So I have started looking up more projects to do that have some structure, but still have creativity!

  38. Laura

    I love the idea of art, looking at art, even being friends with artistic people – but, alas, I have no artistic talent. I would like to see how this book articulates the idea of art that I find so inspiring.

  39. Debbie

    I was never encouraged to be creative as a child, but God gave me three artistic children. So this is a GREAT reminder to be more intentional about it. Would love to read more about how to be.

  40. Heather Y

    Oh my goodness, but this message just keeps turning up over and over and over again for me recently. Perhaps someone is trying to tell me something? Would love to read this.

  41. Holley d

    I love the concept of this book, and feel like busyness so quickly compromises creativity, at least for me anyway.

  42. Jennifer P

    I remember the day I finally learned to draw a straight line with a straight edge in a graphic design class. Those were the days when they first started making boys take home economics and girls got down into the shop classes. I think that is when art became real world…..This book looks great!

  43. Heather

    I recently took an art class with my daughter. At first, I didn’t realize it would require adult participation and, when I did, I became incredibly nervous and self conscious. However, once I talked myself down and stopped worrying about what my sketch would look like, I truly enjoyed myself…in a way I haven’t experienced in a very long time.

    This book sounds great!

  44. Martha

    I’m married to an artist who is never happier than whilst painting. I want my kids to be as happy as that in their lives.

  45. Loro Cortright

    Would love to read this book!

  46. Julie

    I figured I had little artistic talent after my second grade art teacher ridiculed my drawing of a cat because the cat didn’t have whiskers. I’ve since found many other creative outlets: writing, sewing, publication design to name a few. I still don’t draw very well, but all my cat pictures have whiskers.

    • Matt Appling

      I can’t tell you how many adults have told me they discovered (or were told) they couldn’t do art – in art class. That really bugs me. Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter if your cat has whiskers. You can, should and *deserve* to be creative. 🙂

  47. Tiffani

    This sounds like a book I must add to my list. We try to do a lot of art around our house, and I help teach some children’s art classes, so this is any area of interest to me.

  48. Stefani

    Wow. This book seems really great. I never think of myself as an artist because I am a terrible drawer/painter. But I love creating! I drew house plans (for fun) into my twenties. Now, I scrapbook all of our pictures. My daughter, on the other hand, loves drawing. My boys are still a little young, but maybe this book would even help me to encourage their creative side–in whatever “art”realm it is in.

  49. Marion Schleusener

    I recently told someone that I love beauty, but don’t really know how to create it, so I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty others create. She told me, quite emphatically, that I could to create beauty and shared with me possibilities for doing so. I would appreciate more encouragement in this area!

  50. Zuzi

    wow, this book sounds good! 🙂

  51. Jan

    I sm not an artist, but in my job I frequently draw little stick figures to supplement instructions. 🙂 Does that count?

  52. Stephanie Williams

    This sounds like a great book! I’d love to read it to help encourage myself and my kids to be more creative.

  53. Kara

    As a former artist- I would love to read this to prevent what happened to my love of art from happening to my kids.

  54. Robin from Frugal Family Times

    I haven’t taken “art” classes since jr high. I have taken craft classes though, like pottery and primitive rug hooking. There’s something about being a grown up that gives us permission to create, as long as we produce something. Kinda sad.

    I’m inspired to take some paints and canvases to the cottage next week – and not just for the kids. Thanks for that!

  55. Rachel

    Looks like a great read! I will have to add it to my list 🙂

  56. Juanita

    ” I’d rather read. That was my forte. ” – This sentence is me! I can totally relate to the 6th graders hurrying through the art class in order to get to something else; for me it was most likely free reading time, or spelling, or math; anything other than art!

  57. meredith

    This sounds like a fantastic book! I’d love to gain perspective on keeping creativity going for myself and my family.

  58. K

    I need to read this book!! The creating of art was ruined for me in k-12 which is probably why I am so commited to the importance of creating as an adult – for me, my children, and my students. Can’t wait to read it!

  59. HeatherC

    I love creating with my kids! This sounds like a great read. Thank you for the giveaway!

  60. Leigh

    I onky remember one art class in middle school. I’m sure we had art earlier, but nothing stands out to me. My favorite thing we did that class was watercolors… I loved it! I moved on to music and didn’t take another art class because of it, but I’ve tried to keep doing something creative, whther it’s music, photography, knitting, sewing… or just coloring with the kids.

  61. Kari

    This book sounds fascinating! I have always loved art class, from elementary school, all the way through college. I now have a small calligraphy business and really enjoy having the freedom to create. However, during an art class in high school, we were working on a wood carving project. I had long hair at the time, and it wasn’t pulled back. As I was leaning over my project, my hair got caught in the Dremmel tool, and it took the rest of art class and all the rest of the students and teacher to help me get it out of my hair! Embarrassing, but I’ll never forget to pull my hair back when working with tools again! 🙂

  62. Helen

    Oh, I’d love to win! the book sounds great.
    I remember many wonderful times spent around the kitchen table with my mum and sisters drawing the afternoon away – could it really have only been 15-30mins in real time?!
    I’ve daydreamed about being an art teacher to high schoolers, just to be inspired and be around the creativity.

  63. Brooke McAlary

    I’ve always embraced the creative side of myself, but it’s centred more on writing than anything else. Just last week though, when I was crafting up a storm with my 4-year-old, I discovered a beautiful set ofwatercolour pencils I won in a Year 11 Art contest. Apparently I was the most promising artist in my grade. (I can only assume it was a particularly lacklustre group, artistically speaking.)

    Funnily enough, I remember being terrified of art class from that point on (something to do with expectations and failure, I expect).

    But rediscovering the watercolours was such a fun surprise, and I spent hours drawing, shading and blending, with no end goal in mind. It’s been years since I’ve just created for the sake of creating, and it was such a welcome shift.

    I’m also reading The Icarus Deception at the moment, and much of what Matt shares is echoed there too. This sounds like a book I need to read!

  64. Marie

    This kind of sounds like a really awesome book. I remember a super cool art project in elementary school in which the teacher took ceiling tiles down and had us paint them. They remained up until at least I graduated from high school. I haven’t been back since to find out if they are still there.

  65. Sarah G

    The first memory that came to my mind was of the one and only piece of art I ever won any kind of award for. I think this just reinforces his point that, all too often, art only has value to us if it “gets us something”. Definitely looking forward to reading his book!

  66. Terry C.

    I would love to read this. I remember in elementary school I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I loved to draw and I always wanted to learn calligraphy. Then I grew up and life took over. I would love to get back to that childhood feeling of the freedom to create and not feel guilty about it. 🙂

  67. Gale

    This is a book I would enjoy reading

  68. HeatherB

    This sounds wonderful. Realizing I’ve pushed down my inner-creative but know I secretly long to create again. I used to enjoy art, writing, and photography. Now I’ve put all of these things aside for the more urgent in life. Sadly. I don’t have one specific memory of art class…just that it was always my favorite!

  69. Jenn M.

    About 7 years ago, I was on a small island in Maine visiting an art exhibit. I had watercolors and brushes with me–I liked to try to paint the beautiful sites on the island to take home the visual memories. An older woman at the exhibit noticed my paints and said, “Are you an artist?” and I smiled and said “Well, on days like this I like to think I am!” She frowned and said “Unless you make a living with art–you cannot call yourself an artist.” It is silly how those words have stayed with me all of these years. I never used my watercolors again. I just found them down in the basement, cracked and dried. I think the message that this author sends is SO important! I need to read it to get my groove back on!

    • Matt Appling

      You know, I had that same attitude – when I was eight years old. There’s a story in the book but I’ll save it. Needless to say, I’ve dropped the whole elite artist act. 🙂 It just doesn’t work. Apparently, the woman you remember had never heard of “folk artists.”

  70. Christine

    I believe this whole-heartedly. I would love to have this for inspiration!

  71. Lori

    I almost can’t wait for the giveaway…want to go buy this book RIGHT NOW! 🙂

  72. Lisa

    This little gem is definitely being added to my reading list. Whether I win or not – it sounds like a must read!

  73. Jennifer

    I loved art class growing up but it would seem for me “if you don’t use it you lose it” because now the idea of art class scares me. Blank paper is VERY intimidating. 😉

  74. crystal

    Oh, this sounds wonderful! Putting it on my wish list.

  75. Diana

    Wow! Looks like this book hits home for a lot of people, including myself! I would love a copy!

  76. Nadine

    I really needed to hear this! God has been nudging my heart to start painting again and this is like a small confirmation:).

  77. Sue B

    This is a great post. I used to love art and creating when I was little but didn’t continue as I felt I wasn’t good enough. Now that I have children, I spend time with them, drawing and making things, I have rediscovered my love of being creative.

  78. Karen

    This book sounds wonderful! Music was my “thing” in school and still is, but I really enjoyed art class, too. My daughter loves to draw (thankful for the talent that was passed on from my grandmother who was an artist). It is so sad to see subjects like art and music taken away from schools. Creativity is no longer important in the minds of those dictating what our children must learn/know in school.

  79. Lisa K

    This looks like a wonderful, inspirational book.

  80. Kate W.

    I was an art major in high school and continued on in college for a short time. After that it dropped off. I miss it everyday and since it seems like something to be done only when everything else is done (which as a mom, it never is), I don’t make an effort to get myself back into it. Thanks for this post. I hope it will help motivate me to make art a part of my life again.

    • Matt Appling

      Hey Kate – I hear you on the limitations that you have in your life. There’s never enough time to get it all done. I’m not saying you should shirk the work you have to do, but I think this process starts by believing that you deserve to have a creative outlet, and that you will serve your family better when you invest in yourself. I’m not trying to add another item to your endless to-do list. 🙂 But I hope you’re encouraged to do something – not because it must be done, but because it’s validating and humanizing to you.

      • Kate W.

        Hi Matt,

        Thanks, and, you’re right. Across the board I could stand to invest in myself a bit. I think art is a great place to start (and more than just filtering my pics and posting on Instagram). I’m going to make this a priority.

  81. Missy Arey

    I remember art class from elementary school and loving it, but then discovering I wasn’t an artist as I got older. I now love to quilt but still struggle to trust my color combinations based on what I was told in older art classes. This book sounds wonderful.

  82. Laura

    YES. I need to read this. 🙂 Thank you!

  83. Liz Belanger

    What an intriguing premise for a book. I think my husband would really enjoy reading it, as would I!

  84. Mandy

    This book sounds amazing. Would love to share it with my son’s preschool teachers.

    My most vivid art memory: in 6th grade art class I painted a big gray bunny on a blue sky/green grass background. My teacher, in front of the entire class, said that the bunny was too fat and looked more like a blob than a bunny. The sky and grass combo was too simplistic, childish. Therefore, I had earned a “B.” I hated her and the class from then on.

    • Matt Appling

      I wish that hadn’t happened, Mandy. I go to so much trouble to make sure kids don’t criticize each other – I would never criticize a kid in front of everyone. I let the kids do the critiquing and I do most of the praising. Let that memory go – some bunnies are just fatter than others. 🙂

  85. Katie

    My daughter is 5 and I have loved the excuse to sit and draw with her – I managed to retain my love of creating and hope to be able to pass it on to my kids! I’m curious to read this and see how it ties in with what I’ve been reading and thinking about how to build up kids who value determination and perseverance in themselves and can see past initial failure.

  86. Christine C

    My first art memory was my mom covering our galley style kitchen floor with newspapers, giving my sister and me a canvas, setting up a vase with some fake flowers in it, and all of us painting it. Hers was the best but it was so fun for all the setup and everything. Very special.

  87. Kimi

    I am gonna have to read this book. When I taught preschool, I was always telling my assistants, You have to let the children do their own art. It’s not about perfection, it’s about creation. If we do it for them then it is our art, not theirs.

  88. Lauren

    I am very interested in this book. We have a seven year old fearless creator, but her dad has a really hard time even doodling with her. Something about his art class experiences in elementary school left him convinced that he is not creative, can’t draw, isn’t “artistic.” It’s a sad (but common) state of affairs, I think.

    • Matt Appling

      That’s really common. I hope you and your husband enjoy the book and can find ways to recognize it when the same patterns crop up in your kids as they grow up. Most kids let the creative spirit go. We just have to find a way to help them hang on to what they’ve got.

  89. Catherine

    I don’t remember liking art class as much in elementary school, but I always thought I was good enough. I ended up taking some art classes in high school and found it was like everything else – the time you put in reflects the product.

    I spent many evenings creating in thoses years, some projects I was proud of and some didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I think those classes served me well.

  90. Traci

    The book sounds great! Have to read it!

  91. Becca

    That sounds like such a beautiful book. I am a music teacher and I often see the same in my students. Really hoping I win! 🙂

  92. Julia Davis

    As a fellow art teacher I too feel the need to encourage creativity in others. I feel it is something that is missing from our culture- the feeling that we are free to create wether we are “good” or not. I am interested to read this book to find out what the author thinks about this subject.

  93. Dianna

    This sounds like a wonderful book! I have good memories of art class up until high school, my last art class was in college, it was a black and white photography class. In high school I loved painting with water colors, I should probably do that again sometime. Thank you for sharing!

  94. Terry

    Since I have retired from my profession in the scientific field I have become interested in…no, driven to reconnect with the creative side that I feel I have suppressed as an adult.

  95. Marla Taviano

    Ooh! Sounds amazing!! I hate drawing. Do words count as art??

    • Matt Appling

      Sure do! I’m not trying to make everyone into “artists” per se. Life isn’t just about making pretty pictures. It’s about seeing our lives through the prism of creativity. But you never know, you might get through the book and feel the need to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. 🙂 This fall, I’m enrolled in a woodworking class. I have zero experience with woodworking, and I’m looking forward to making a lot of mistakes!

  96. Mary

    I would love to read this book! I despised art as a Kindergardener, because our teacher wanted everything to be perfect. We didn’t have art again until 6th grade, when we had the most wonderful teacher. She made me realize that creation doesn’t have to be perfect, the joy is in the process…and then the class ended and I never took another. Time to get back on that horse!

  97. Kelli

    This is on my list…seems everyone is reading it! Can’t wait!

  98. Sheri Zee

    I’d love to read this! And also share it with my kids.

  99. Tonya

    This sounds great!

  100. Caroline Starr Rose

    I would love to be entered! I still remember a seal I painted in preschool that was pretty darn spectacular. Painting that picture helped me learn my right from my left (my easel was against a wall on the right side, and I had to leave it on my left to get more paint).

  101. Nan

    My husband is a gifted visual artist. I am not, but I have always known that I am creative and I express myself creatively and tend to think outside the box. It freed me up once I realized being an artist wasn’t simply making art. It is a mindset. How we approach things throughout our day.

  102. Victoria

    This is not a memory of me creating art but one of my mother. My mom took art classes off and on when I was growing up, normally when I was really little a friend of hers would watch me but on this particular day the friend must have canceled and I a preschooler ended up going to clay sculpting class with her.I remember they gave me a lump of clay to play with on the floor and sat me on a tarp. I also clearly remember the lady who was modeling for them. She had a white sheet covering just the essentials, and her face was so kind, so pretty. My mom was making a model of her head, it stayed in our home for years and I thought about that day every time I looked at it..and remembered the day my mom share her art. My mom passed away years ago and one of my top things to grab from her home was that clay head. Everyone else in the family thinks it is creepy but I love it…that is the day my mom shared her art…a world all in its own.

  103. Steph

    I remember drawing Garfield obsessively when I was about 9 or 10, and I did take art classes in high school, but by then my sister had taken art classes and she was “better than me,” so I thought I couldn’t do it and gave up. I recently water painted with my girls and it turned out pretty good. I have an almost-8YO who has declared she “Wants to be an artist” so i would appreciate any tips on how to encourage her not to lose her creativity!

  104. Johnna Morecraft

    I won the art award in high school but life jumped in and I haven’t picked up a brush since. I watch my children, 4 and 6, reckless abandon in their art projects. My 6 year old son wants to be either an artist or a police officer. On my bucket list, I want to take a pottery class.

  105. Jennifer

    I will definitely be reading this book, one way or another! I’m also interested in how a former artist turned mother, creates art WITH her children without having her children feel discouraged with their own abilities. Sigh.

    • Matt Appling

      Jennifer – I know exactly what you mean. Every project I do with the kiddos, I work through ahead of time so they have a visual goal in mind. But then there are the kids who look at my work and say, “Mine doesn’t look anything like yours, Mr A!” It can be a challenge to get them to accept that it’s okay – I have at least twenty years of practice on them. 🙂

      • Katherine

        My favorite was when we learned one point perspective and drew a road leading to a point on the horizon with a house off to the side. We had to follow the directions very carefully to get all the angles just right. It was really structured, which is not the norm for art, but it stuck with me all these years.

  106. Denita

    I remember winning a bookmark art contest in 3rd grade and being thoroughly surprised. I have a budding artist on my hands and would live to know how to prevent anyone, including herself, from crushing her artistic spirit. Please let it be me!!

  107. Kristy

    This book seems to jive with everything I’m thinking and feeling as I journey through teaching students and mothering my young daughters. My favorite “art” memories are my first creations that I made with oil pastels and charcoals.

  108. Tracy Stone

    You’ve given me something to think about. As a mother of a nine-year-old, I need to keep that in mind and see what I can do to keep him interested in creating. It’ll help me to be more creative, too.

  109. Janet

    Aw… We JUST moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand (10 days ago), where I am hoping to involve women in processing their stories through art! This books seems just what I need! 🙂 My daddy was an artist/art teacher, but I laid art aside long ago; now, when everything else is new, seems a good time to figure out what kind of artist I am inside! I am so eager to see what emerges… for myself – and for others!

    • Matt Appling

      Wow – that is a pretty spectacular change of scenery!

  110. Breezy

    One of my college art classes was 3-D functional art. Our final project was to design a sled (College was in MN – lots of snow that winter!) I will always remember the group that created the Crazy-Boy, basically a Lazy-Boy recliner on Skis. How that was really “art”, I don’t know, but luckily no one died that day!

  111. Cathie

    I would love to have this book.

  112. Libby

    I remember a couple things about art class in first grade. One is drawing or something with our very “cool” teacher who had Michael Jackson music playing in the background. And the last day of school I got to make a big paper fish that I painted. We hardly did messy painting projects and it was so fun to get into it and paint!
    I’ve had my eye on this book and am looking forward to reading it.

  113. Jennifer

    I remember having almost the same exact experience as a child, wanting to copy my mom’s “perfect” picture and feeling disheartened in elementary school art class. I too choose my art in the world of books. But even since I’ve longed to be an artist–I think my stash of glue, paper, ribbons, stickers, markers, etc. etc. speaks to that desire. This book sounds like the perfect inspiration for an elementary school art class drop out like me!

  114. Adrienne

    I was so surprised when I open my reader up this morning and saw this! Matt Appling is my daughter’s art teacher at school. We feel really blessed to have him teaching art there. Now I really have to read this book!

    • Matt Appling

      Wow, the Internet is a small world. 🙂 Believe me, I am the one who is blessed to be a part of the WA family. Hope your family is having a wonderful summer!

  115. Sharon Harding

    I should love to read this book. Somehow we stop enjoying the process and get too focused on the end result. I run a story time and craft session for preschoolers and their parents. I see so many parents who are so focused on the end results (having a cute craft to take home) that they completely squash their children’s creativity.

  116. Cindy

    This book has definitely been added to my wish list! I have loved creating ever since I was little, and now I want to do my best to make sure my son’s wild imagination never gets crushed. I’ve never excelled at the ‘traditional’ arts, but I am constantly sewing, woodworking, crocheting, or reworking thrift store finds, and I’ve found that I’m not truly happy unless I have a project in the works.

  117. Susie

    My friend just left her job teaching middle school art for an elementary art position- I would love to win this book for her. My son loved art as a young child, but now is bothered by his inability to “get it right.” It is a challenge to find projects that to him don’t seem to require perfection.

  118. Sandy

    This is one of those books I need. Actually my whole household needs it. My husband was seriously discouraged in elementary school when it came to art. I’ve gently encouraged him to try again over the past 30 years, but as with so many things, sometimes it takes an outside voice for some truths to be heard.

  119. Kelly @ Love Well

    I’m entering.

    (But I’ve also put the book on my Amazon Wish List, already. You know. Just in case.)

  120. gail

    I took a watercolor class at the local art studio when I was 10 years old. We had people my age to high schoolers in that class. Learned about how to do perspective painting, and different water color techniques.

    And now I just finished having my 7 year old do a week long art adventure class, at the local art museum. Loved seeing what she came up with.

    One of our favorite things is to color with the new crayola twizler crayons. Love to read this book! Gaileee

  121. Kathleen

    I loved art all the way through high school but dropped doing it regularly in college. I still enjoy creating and drawing/painting but it’s hard to find the mental space with small children. However, one of my favorite things is getting lost in a painting when the hours fly by without realizing it.

  122. Gail

    I loved creating all kinds of art when I was young and loved all my art classes and even took a couple in high school and college. The favorite thing I made was a vase made out of clay that I modeled after a vase we had at home – very challenging since it resembled a blooming flower. I still enjoy the creative process, but am stunted when I’m trying to create something that looks like something (especially in drawing or painting). I homeschool, so I am very intentional about art instruction and encouraging creativity. I also make sure our kids get some formal instruction in fine arts as well.

  123. Dee

    I am very interested in how we have taken creativity out of school and replaced it with drill and kill. I would love to read this book.

  124. Dee

    Hey, Tsh – my spam filter won’t let me go over to the link for chapter one. It has repeatedly claimed that it is a phishing attempt.

    • Matt Appling

      Dee – just go to

  125. Rachel

    I would love to read this book. I was blessed with a great art teacher in HS that left us create within the guidelines of the medium we were using. I have wished since then that my own children would be blessed with one like her. They are both very creative and my son has shown great talent since he was a little tyke, but art class and the teenage years have slowly eroded his love to draw.

  126. Bonnie

    This messages resonates with me. Even in elementary school I struggled with anything “arty.” I did not draw well ever. And as an adult I have struggled with my “lack of creativity.” Maybe this book would help me see things differently.

  127. Jen

    This sounds like an excellent book! I always loved art class, but typically felt like a failure at it. I would love to be able to encourage my children that it is more about the experience than the outcome.

  128. Rosemary

    As a non-professional artist and stay at home mom, creating beauty has often been my lifeline to my adult self and to God. It is my act of worship, the way I interpret scripture, and how I feed my soul. This book has been on my to-read list for a while now.

  129. lissa

    I am trying to explore my creative side

  130. Courtney

    This book sounds amazing! I am a photographer and artist so it gave me butterflies reading what a dear brother has learned! Thank you for posting this cute article for us 🙂 Here’s hoping for a shot to win a copy 🙂

  131. Jama

    How cool that you posted this book recommendation today! This evening my friend and I are going to our first art class since school days to try to reignite that creativity that has been squelched by our need for control in our adult lives. This is the day we risk lines that don’t flow in the right direction and perspectives that look more like a child’s eye view than reality. I would love to read Matt’s book! It sounds like it just fits the situation in which I find myself today.

    • Matt Appling

      That’s awesome, Jama! Here’s to new adventures. 🙂

  132. OM

    My mother always tells me that I’ve been a perfectionist since birth, specially with art-related things. Once when I was about two she bought me coloring pencils and a notebook just for me to draw in. Needless to say, I was only scribbling, but I showed great interest in doing so, so she thought it was a good idea.
    We sat on the table, she let me scribble and then I asked her to draw me a person. She did, and then I tried to copy it. I do not remember it at all (though I do remember similar incidents all through my life), but she says I started crying, screaming and tossing the crayons in frustration because I couldn’t do it like her. She had to hide it all among the plants on the windowsill because every time I saw the notebook or the crayons I would start crying again. The frustration lasted for days!

    Maybe this book could help me overcome a bit that innate perfectionism? 😉

    • Matt Appling

      I spend a lot of time on perfectionism, because I have been a perfectionist since birth too. 🙂 It doesn’t do anything to help us accomplish great things – it only steals joy. I hope you are greatly encouraged by the book!

  133. Brenda Turner

    I would love to win this book! I have 4 grandchildren and want them
    to always allow their inner artist to shine.

  134. Kym

    This looks like such an interesting book! I remember enjoying art classes in elementary school, but I didn’t take any classes after that. I do enjoy creative pursuits, and as a homeschool mom I am trying to give my kids as much background in art as possible.

  135. Sami

    Sounds like I should read this for my daughters sake! She loves art and I need to know how to encourage her.

  136. Jonni

    Oh Art!! I have a room full of unfinished projects, projects done and hidden, (not good enough). I love art, it makes time stop for me. But have somehow lost the drive to dive into any project. I keep reorganizing, cleaning and saying ‘when’. I would love to read this and try to get my pilot light going again.

  137. Maddie

    I would love to read this book!

  138. Jennifer

    My son is five, and I already see him second-guessing his creative abilities. I hate that, and I would love to help him be confident and not bound by convention… and just CREATE. I would love to read this book to see if I could help him in some way.

  139. Lindsay K.

    I must read this book! As a kid, I spent hours cutting construction paper & making little sculptures. I took art classes for years, but lately my creativity has taken a back seat. I need some inspiration!

  140. Lisa Rae

    Interesting. I see myself as an artist that does not take the time to create art. I suppose that is also mostly about denying my creativity and failing to honor it with my time. I think I need to read this book.

  141. Caitlin Mallery

    Oh for a clearer perspective on art. With two little ones headed into their coloring years, I would love to face them without fear. I have two sisters who are exceptional artists and have always felt I couldn’t ever draw for anyone. But now my son wants to color, and I want to enjoy this stage with him. This book sounds like a great source of encouragement for the non-artistic parents and the artistic ones! Life is art, even if our drawing skills are meager.

  142. Lisa

    What a beautiful book! After spending too many years of my life as an accountant…I’m back to creating my life in a much more colorful, creative and intentional way…this book sounds perfect for the season of life that is unfolding for me now…

  143. Andrea

    I love the sound of this book! It is important for me to encourage art with my children, and it seems that whatever I want to encourage, I need to take up as well.

  144. Lisa

    I think what I loved about art class was the chance to personalize our projects. Sure, we’re all making collages, but mine has kittens! I don’t have much technical skill in drawing, but I haven’t lost my sense of play when doing art (or “crafts” if you prefer). It’s always fun to see if /this time/ I can create a great color combination or an object that brings a smile.

  145. Liesel

    This book sounds intriguing. I would love to win a copy! I have vague memories of art class, but I am just now finding my creative voice. Again, I guess 🙂

  146. AmyB

    This book sounds amazing! I’d love to win a copy!

  147. Gina

    I have fond memories of spending time with my grandmother. She sewed her own clothes and made “crazy” quilts out of odds and ends fabrics…nothing went to waste. She saved seed catalogs and then made paste out of flour and water and I would cut up the catalogs and paste them onto paper. It was great fun! I have recently become interested in mixed media art journaling. The cutting and gluing and use of empherma reminds me of the afternoons spent with my grandmother. I feel better about myself if I find a way to be creative each day and I’m learning that in art there are no mistakes!

  148. Christine

    I, too, stopped creating art after grade school. And I can’t even put my finger on why. I began again just 2 years ago and have found such joy and reward from the process. I would love to read Matt’s thoughts on this! Thanks for the giveaway.

  149. Heather Myhr

    This sounds like a good book. I need to remember that I am creative even if I don’t think I am.

  150. Meagan S

    I have always loved art! My current form of creating is making cards to send to people who need a little encouraging. I am very interested in reading this book!

  151. Archer

    I would love to win!

  152. Kristin

    The timing for me to find this is a God thing. Right now, like this very week, I’ve been trying to make time for creative pursuits- painting and sewing. As a child I identified myself as an artist, was recognized as having talent and encouraged by my mom. Then I started hearing my dad say I couldn’t be an artist and in slipped doubt about my really having talent. I did well in an 8th grade art class but feared failure in high school and opted to never take a class out of fear.
    Then came college where art was a requirement. I found I still was passionate about it and encouraged to pursue the major by instructors. So, in a moment of courage, I went for it. I earned my Bachelors in art, but concentrated in graphic design because it was “safer”. Not as much a chance to be rejected:) I found college art to be full of pretenous wanna-be’s who lacked talent but did not lack confidence. I have struggled to find my confidence for most of my 35yrs.
    I’ve been pulled back to it, though. I know I feel better when I create. I’ve finally begun to recognize my talent doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not about that, anymore. It’s about the simple process of creating. And the feeling I get when engaging in it. This book sounds like it was made for me, right where I am, right now.

  153. Kirsten V

    Oh, how I need to read this book! It’s one of my greatest desires as a mother that my kids (al under 4 right now) never lose the “I’m an artist!” confidence.

  154. Jill

    As a former elementary school teacher, I would LOVE to read this book.

  155. Amy miller

    Having no art class but distinctly remembering in high school when I realized I was not as good at drawing as I had thought I was… Skip ahead to being a mom to 3 littles and knowing I love to create but not sure where to start- this book sounds like a kicking off point for me. Pick me, I am nervous but ready to jump back in!

  156. Pamela R

    I have never had a particular “gift” for art, however I have learned, as an adult, that art is more than just drawing or painting. I also carry with me the memory of a bust of an astronaut that I created in grade-school. It was amazing to sculpt something that ended up looking so much like a human. Thanks for the chance.

  157. Deb

    Peter Tylus was the best artist in my grade in elementary school. His art was always wonderful to look at. I marveled at all his art work. Mine was so pitiful. I never got above a “C” in art, always my lowest mark. I am still amazing at people who can create “art”.
    I would love to read this book!

  158. Jermaine D.

    This book sounds great! I studied art through college but still catch myself forgetting to create each day.

  159. Lorna

    My younger children seem to be prematurely self conscious of their creations. They are regularly unhappy with the results of their creative efforts. I don’t think I have any standards that I expect them to attain. I display their work and admire it… Does this book have anything that will help with this problem? Well, I’m assuming it’s a problem -is it? Thanks!

    • Matt Appling

      You know, I’ve found that all kids present unique challenges. I don’t know how young your kids are, but I see a lot of kids start to go that way by second or third grade. Definitely by fourth or fifth. But every once in a while there’s a first grader or kindergartner who just seems stuck, so I can relate to your plight. I think you’ll find a lot of material that you can slowly share with your kids – it’s about cultivating a culture of creativity in your home, and hope for success. But also remember that “creativity” isn’t just about “art.” Maybe your kids are very creative in music, stories, games, or something else that they have not yet discovered.

  160. Joyce

    Would love to read this book!

  161. Sue

    I was an Illustration major in college at AIP. Graduated and fell into Graphic Design. So, mainly computer and little hands on. I have a four year old daughter who is taking interest in art. Love drawing with her. She’s rekindled something that I haven’t really done in years. Excited to see if she pursues it more. Will definitely read this book.

  162. Idaho Jill

    I would love this to spur my creative juices!

  163. maria

    From a family of artists, I know it is a concious act to let go of expectations and just create. This sounds like a fantastic read!

  164. Margaret

    This sounds really interesting. I just finished reading Ken Robinson’s “The Element” and as a music educator and performer, I’ve seen so many people’s musical love and interest disappear with an unkind word or due to the American Idol effect. It’s so hard to convince people that they are more than just consumers once they’ve been scarred or made their mind up because of some other factor.

  165. Sarah

    I would LOVE to win this book- as an art major in college who doesn’t have time to create much anymore, I’ve been really interested in this topic lately.

  166. Faigie

    I personally believe its all the copycat cookie crafts that the early childhood classrooms and parents give their kids. If kids would be allowed to use art so that they learn to think and develop initiative and can be really creative from a very young age and on, we would have a lot more creative people in the world today. Most kids have some sort of creativity even if they aren’t natural artists and many of us kill it off very young.

  167. Meg

    This book sounds so interesting! I sew and knit quite a bit but of late I tell myself I don’t have time and sometimes I get impatient with the process.

    I love watching my kids create! So sincere and expressive. I have learned more from their drawings than their words sometimes.

  168. Kristin Thomas

    I would love to win a copy of this book. I have always loved being creative, but am not very good at it so it is not something that I do in life much. All of my kids are creative and I would like to help them continue to create uninhibited… unlike me.

  169. Teresa

    I remember going to art class as a youngster and just dreading having to come up with something to draw or paint or to magin what it would look like and seeing the other kids and thinking they are so much better than me why should I even try. But now I love to be creative and get excited when my kids have some project to do so I can help them. I am looking forward to reading this book!

  170. Melissa B

    I need this book and already put it on my Amazon wish list. I dropped out of art after 7th grade, where I earned my first and only C. It wasn’t about the grade, but my own lack of self-confidence and concern about criticism. The teacher seemed uninterested in those of us who were not naturals, so it seemed like a good idea at the time to just declare that I was not an artist and go back to reading. It worked for a long time; I went on to be a lawyer. But then I had kids, kids that wanted me to draw with them, to create. I am still challenged by my own inhibitions. They are now 8 and 6, and I want them to continue to be confidence and free, as well as work on freeing myself from a label I chose so many years ago.

  171. Susan K

    I miss “coloring” and doing artsy stuff! Seems like LIFE just gets in the way. I have a creating nature and have always loved arts, crafts, etc. Would love to win a copy of the book. I am intrigued!

  172. Rachel

    Oh I need this! That fear of failure thing always gets me.

  173. Emily L. Moore

    Very inspiring post, Tsh! Thank you!

    I used to draw and paint all the time when I was younger but I don’t do that anymore and I’ve realized that I lost some of the happiness that I get from creating with my hands. I was toying with the idea of taking an art class at the local college and now I think I’m and definitely going to enroll.

    Thank you!

  174. Nicole

    I’ve always thought of myself as Not the Artist, not creative or crafty. But over the last year or so I’ve realized this is a just not so. I have an inborn drive to create. Maybe not through pen and pencil or paint and brush but through the craft of writing and decorating my home. I guess I’m an artist after all. We all are.

  175. Melissa Webb

    Sounds like a really interesting book! Love to win it! I feel stuck not creating but don’t really think I have the time to even start something. Having a new baby has sapped me, lol!

  176. Cori

    My story sounds so similar to yours, Tsh. I wasn’t an “artist” but as an adult, I definitely find joy when I get to create!

  177. Carla

    This book sounds very interesting, and I know that my husband (who is a middle school art teacher) would love to read it! I have lots of great memories of doing art as a child. My mom created so many opportunities for me to explore my creativity. A few that stick out in my mind are when she taught me how to draw a horse using segmented circles and ovals to get all of the joints and body parts accurate, painting a HUGE rainbow with watercolors on a piece of paper that filled up the whole hallway, and letting me come up with special decorations for a framed photo of me and a good friend that had just passed away when I was eight. Art helped me grow, learn, and heal. Thanks, Mom!

  178. Christine N.

    Creating with my 3-year old granddaughter has lightened my world and sparked something lost along the way. I find myself slowing down, loosening the grip on perfection in many areas of my life, and getting caught up in purple hippos and lopsided popsicle stick houses. I haven’t felt this way in years! Looking forward to reading Matt’s book.

  179. Bev Dearstine-Russell

    As a Student Success Center Coordinator at a local community college, I embrace the statement, ” …failure is something to be feared….learned from…”. Often I have students come in to see me wanting “out of a class” because it was too hard, they got an “F” on the first test/paper. I will often quip that “you successfully know now what not to do on the test or what the faculty doesn’t want in the paper.” and we move on.

    My artistic abilities come in the form of cooking! I love to bake and create in the kitchen. I look forward to reading the rest of the book. Kind Regards, ~Bev

  180. S MOORE

    This book will definitely be going on my amazon wish list (hoping it is available for the kindle).

  181. Kathy

    I’d want to read this book!

  182. AmyLeigh

    Before I read that this post had a giveaway, I thought, “I really need to buy this for my mom!” She is an interior designer, and every house she touches transforms into a lovely, lively home. She is a wonderful artist but is very doubtful of her talent. Win or not, I think I’ll snatch up a copy for her. 🙂

  183. Mika

    Hmm. Less crotchety afterwards? That might just be the answer to what I’ve been wondering all day (why am I so crotchety today?) Thanks!

  184. Farrell

    I’m definitely one of those who prefer ‘black an white, right and wrong’ to the creativity of art, but I’m realizing the importance both of rediscovering the creativity in myself, and of not squelching that joy in my children. Would love to read this!

  185. Diane

    I’d love to read this! As a child I loved to draw, but at some point I decided that I didn’t have that artistic talent & I gave up. I never had the opportunity to take an art class, even in grade school. My sons both took Art in high school and loved it and they are both good at it. Maybe I need a class to kick-start my creativity in that area… My creative pursuits are crocheting, gardening & crafting.

  186. Kathryn Bonnett

    (The email link doesn’t work, brought me to a 404 page error on your website). This looks like a fantastic book! i would love a copy and would probably share with my 15 year old… He didn’t fare well in elementary art class and as he registered for drama, to fulfill his hs art credit, he read the art classes out loud and said “yeah, we all know THAT’s not going to happen” Made me very sad.. (The elementary school has a new art teacher and his younger siblings seem to be faring better).

  187. April

    I loved art in high school. But I wasn’t confident that what I created was any good. Then my art teacher invited me to join a few select students to go to an arts conference with other high schoolers. When he did this I saw that he valued my work and I had a new appreciation for my work.

  188. Ramona

    It would be great to win!

    I take art classes once a year. That mostly are calligraphy classes and are the best mama-time-out ever.

  189. Kristin

    I’d love to win this book. I gave up art too quickly as well. I remember winning 2nd place in some big art contest in 5th grade (It even had a cash prize!). I was so proud of myself and the painting I completed. The next year, I tried again. I didn’t win anything and to me it meant I was not an artist and I needed to give up. I was no longer proud of myself or that one painting and tossed it into a drawer where it got damages and I decided to later throw it away! Now as an adult, I find myself drawn back to art with photography. I hope I can help my children see there is more to enjoying art than winning a contest.

  190. Malissa

    Oh, this sounds like a wonderful book! As I head into my mid-twenties, I’ve been noticing so many changes in my perspective of the world– some good and some bad. I’ve always loved to be creative, but working a full-time job in front of a computer (albeit drafting, but not designing) makes you think you don’t have time to create. It does definitely makes me crave soul-freeing art. I can relate with your post and I’m excited to read this book!

  191. Tammy W.

    This sounds so much like my relationship with art. I always loved the creative process, but didn’t feel I was talented. Now I have a nine year old that loves Art. I want to keep that passion alive!

  192. Stacy

    Growing up I always felt I was a “good’ artist. I even got my first degree in Fine Art, but it has been years and years since I actually made anything. I know that creative process is missing in my life, and I need to return to it. This looks like a great book to get me going in the right direction.

  193. Lisa

    Thank you for this post and for writing this book! I have been talking to myself about this very thing lately… or always. As a recovering perfectionist who tries not to regret that I didn’t study some sort of visual art in college, I’m hoping to “study” creativity now and let go of the fear. I’ve loved reading everyone’s comments, and am reminiscing about my own elementary school experience with clay. We were supposed to sculpt a version of our pet, so I really tried to capture the way my cat looked when she was lounging around… not realizing that Snickers (my cat) was apparently unique in the way she lounged, making everyone doubt that my sculpture was “right”. Thank you to my beloved art teacher for believing me, or at least defending the abstract. 🙂

  194. Sarah

    I gifted this book to a friend last month & would love a copy of my own!

  195. Beth

    This sounds like a great book. Art is so important to everyone, young and old.

  196. Gretchen Hoefer

    What an interesting book! I teach 5th grade, and am always at a loss for words when kids say to me that they aren’t artistic, that they can’t “do art”. My immediate response is to ask them to try things out, give the materials a chance, have fun and explore. I want to incorporate more opportunities for art in my classroom. They go to art class for an hour each week, but that seems like so little time. Art class is definitely one of their favorite special classes.

  197. Monica

    This sounds like just what I need! I used to be very creative, but life has sucked it out of me in the last several years. I know it’s still in there somewhere, but I need help waking it up again.

  198. Margaret

    I’m a teacher, so I love to read other teachers’ books! This sounds great… I hope I win!

  199. Stephenie@livingbrilliant

    I clearly remember the first time my daughter came home from school and told me her teacher told HER she should always colour within the lines. I was terribly annoyed, as this is just the kind of attitude that encourages kids to conform in their artistic abilities! I told her to colour whatever way she wanted, and I always make sure we have time for drawing at home.

  200. Janie

    This is something I’ve been thinking alot about lately. I don’t usually consider myself a creative person, but my life has calmed down a little bit recently and I’ve found myself wanting to create…something. This book sounds great!

  201. emily falke

    I would love to read this book! My daughter is so artistic now and I’d like her to keep that as she grows. I believe creativity is a very important part of life, and I get mine through writing. I don’t have of a lot of visual art memories because as the daughter of a very, very talented artist, I always knew it wasn’t my thing.

  202. Katy

    I would love this book!

  203. Tara

    I would love to read this book. I’ve been trying to remind myself of my creative value even though its not my profession.

  204. Erin

    I took a cake decorating class once and really enjoyed learning some new techniques but I only use these skills for my kids birthdays so I can’t write beautifully with icing or make the icing perfectly smooth but I enjoy coming up with different ways to make Mermaids or crowns or tye-dye cakes and my kids always act so impressed even if it isn’t as perfectly pretty as a store-bought cake.

  205. Alicia B.

    I think I desperately need to read this! I struggle EVERYDAY with thoughts that I need to do more of what I LOVE and that is anything creative. I love to draw, paint, crochet, sew, refurbish furniture and many other things. BUT each day afterwork and driving two hours for it, I loose all drive to be creative, it makes me super sad! If I don’t win this I think I will be buying it anyway…thank you!!

  206. Adelle F.

    What a gorgeous looking book! I’ve always loved to create but never thought myself very good at “art”. I’m trying so hard to encourage my children to be both creative and artistic in their own ways and just draw/paint/do, etc. for the joy of it.

  207. kimberly amici

    I was an art major in high school, which simply meant instead of typing you could take and art class. It was a class that helped us get out portfolios ready for our college application process. My favorite memories are drawing while the teacher played James Brown. Nobody would talk or sing but we would all draw while swayed or bounced back in forth.

    It been ages since I played music and did art just for fun…

  208. Tara

    Art is such a wonderful form of expression!! I find it sad that many school/educational programs are shying away from artistic expression… I loved mashing my fingers in paint or clay in the early years, and have spent many hours colouring and doing other crafts in my childhood and beyond!

  209. Diane A

    Would love this book…maybe it will get my creative juices started again…

  210. Elizabeth

    I always feel like I missed my dream of becoming an artist. I would live to read this book and be inspired.

  211. Carin

    I would love to read this book!

  212. Maryn

    This is such a timely post for me! I’ve found an art that I really enjoy doing, but am hampered in my enjoyment of it and willingness to put time into it by the feeling that I’ll never be very good at it. Even just reading your post about this book has been an encouragement, so whether or not I am a lucky winner, I’ve already benefited from this book. Thanks for mentioning it! Pysanky, here I come!

  213. Caterina

    I’ve been a perfectionist my whole life and it has sucked all the joy out of creating. I have been so conscious of not passing this on to my daughter, but I fear she may have been born with the same personality. I see it in her and she’s 3.5. I would love to read this. My all or nothing attitude has to go!

  214. Meredith Kendall Valdez

    My son is nearly 2.5 and is really starting to get his “art” on. It’s a joy to see. I completely identify with the comparison tendency that kills our creative spirit as we get older and begin to look around outside of our selves.

  215. Carla

    I am always encouraging my kids to try new things, but they often listen to the messages sent by the world at large – where they hear that it has to be “perfect” or done “right” the first time. I’d love to read this book and continue to guide my kids toward creative thinking and doing. Thanks.

  216. Karelin James

    I was raised by a mom who loved to create to make our home beautiful. She passed that along to me and I endeavored to passed it to my kids. My daughter, recently married and on her own, commented to me that as she meets other people, she has come to see that not all people take the time to create beauty in their lives. She thought everyone did. (Now that she is creating her own home, she has painted her basement floor! Mission accomplished!) This sounds like a great book ~ can’t wait to read it!

  217. Bekah

    Sounds wonderful! I can totally remember a similar feeling as a kid! Thanks!

  218. Emily

    I’d love to win this book! I’m definitely feeling burnt out creatively lately. Reading about creativity and art would be just the thing!

  219. Julia

    This book sounds great for me! I’ve always wished to study art.

  220. Rebecca

    My fondest memory of art class was when we were to get our project back but, I did not get mine back instead I learned that it was sent on to be displayed in our governors home for a brief time and was seen by the public as well in other areas. It was very strange to me that it was being displayed and seen by others because I did not feel that it was good enough or even pretty enough but, that proved me wrong.

  221. Rachel Engelman

    I too remember looking at my mom’s drawings, longing for mine to look like hers. I took a class at a local studio around 5th or 6th grade. I remember the best drawing I did was when the teacher had us copy a picture upside down. The change in perspective helped me break through my fear and perfectionism and actually just draw.

  222. Renee Falkner

    I always recall what my high school art teacher warned us about. “Artist become junk collectors”. I didn’t understand it fully at the time but I sure do now! There is a fine line between artist and hoarder. Ha Ha Ha! There isn’t anything that I I’m tempted to throw away that I don’t think of what a great impression, container or art element that it would make. Will be enjoying this read emensly.

  223. Alison Hill

    I can identify with this relationship between creating and “accomplishing.”

    I have an incredibly talented sister who is a costume designer in NYC. She oozes creativity with every step she takes. I never could keep up or even understand sometimes. But I knew I found great satisfaction in working with my hands and I learned a ton from my failures.
    .Our youngest often asks “Can I do an art project?’ To which my husband replies “Our house IS a art project!” The latest project at my house is a turtle pond designed and implemented by our 12 year old. I don’t have a unscathed wall or patch of earth on my property that hasn’t been blessed! Its the difference between a house and home. 🙂

  224. Laura

    I would love to win a copy of this book! When I was 13 and 14 I would daily draw pictures of animals from a nature book, sometimes 2 or 3 in an evening. And they weren’t half bad. I just don’t have that kind of time anymore, but still I am managing to find ways to be creative. Now I just get creative with my son, nieces, and nephews. 🙂

  225. Amy Rogers Hays

    What a beautiful title and description of this book! It’s been on my list to read, and this is just the encouragement I need to start it. I always enjoyed my art classes in elementary and junior high. My dad has an Masters in Art (painting) so I knew that I wasn’t really, really, good like him–but the classes were fun and paced just right so that I had a lot confidence that if I worked on something for a month, it would be pretty good. And then I met my husband’s family, who proclaimed that they weren’t good at art and had horror elementary school art class stories. I had no idea that my whole elementary curriculum, in and outside of the the art room (and really in and outside the classroom) gave me this beautiful gift of trusting that I was creative. Not necessarily creative in a creative-genius sort of way, but creative in a you are creative in how you eat that sandwich and solve that problem sort of way. I think I am trying to continue to come back to that place of trusting that if I put in the time and accept that the outcome might not be perfect, creativity can indeed happen.

  226. Patty

    My mom is a wonderful artist and sadly none of her kids really inherited any of her talent! But what a good reminder to nurture our creativity in other ways…

  227. Kaitlin Jenkins

    This sounds like an amazing and inspirational book, I’d love a copy.

  228. Jenn F

    I remember saying I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, I loved creating so much. Then the pressure to “get it right” combined with a bad art teacher experience ended a lot of that dream. I have been wanting to read this book for a while. Would love to win a copy.

  229. jessica barnes

    I lost myself in the last 7-8 years pursuing what people told me were the more important things.
    Creating was put aside and thus a piece of me died. I am in the stages of resurrection and would love this book for the process.

  230. Beth

    My daughters LOVE art so we’ve supplemented with art classes outside of school (they only have art in school once a week for 40 minutes). The classes have gone really well and they’ve made some great pieces. Their art teacher keeps trying to get me to take a class, but I’ve never thought of myself as artistic. I’m a writer, but have never been able to draw or paint. My girls’ art teacher says it’s just because I’ve never been taught, not because I can’t. I’m intrigued by this idea and it sounds like Matt’s book expands on this topic. If I don’t win the book, I’ll be buying it. Thanks for letting us know about it.

  231. Nichole

    I love to create – I find great pleasure in creating even the simplest things but I have a horrible fear of not being good at art. I’m slowly getting over this. My 19th old daughter loves to draw and asks us to draw her things all the time so, even when I don’t feel like I can make a specific animal that she wants, I still try. How can you tell a 19th month old “No, I can’t draw an elephant so I won’t try” when you’re trying to teach her to try and learn and try again?

  232. Jenna

    I’ve been wanting to buy this book ever since I read about it via Emily Freeman! It looks SO good.

  233. Elizabeth

    I haven’t been exercising my creative muscle lately…I need to get back to it!

  234. Marie

    I loved my high school art class.

  235. Deborah P

    Several years ago, my great-nephew and I were creating something; I think he was 7 at the time. He’d recently taken an art class and his painting was selected to hang in an exhibition at our downtown museum. I asked whether he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. His reply, “I AM an artist.” I thought of all the conversations I’ve had with friends about our creative work – when (and whether) we can truly call ourselves artists. Yet this boy had none of that self-consciousness, that soul-searching. He was matter of fact about it. He wasn’t “going to be” one day. He “was”, right then. I pray he never loses that. I’m not sure whether I ever had it at that age, but would love to feel that way now.

  236. Tara Laxson

    Would love to read this book! My early memories of drawing are of intense focus and wanting to make sure it looked the way I wanted it to. Sadly, I gave up on art in elementary school because I felt my tries weren’t good enough. BUT, I am rediscovering the love of drawing with my children now.

  237. Heidi M

    I feel like he must have written this book for me… I am just now at 46 years old tapping back into my creativity. Art class was a place where I was actually comfortable in my own skin, even in junior high. Fingers crossed!

  238. elle

    Sounds like a lovely book!

  239. Vicki I.

    I’m definitely afraid of failure when it comes to creating and feel I have no skills. I’m going to browse through the first chapter now. Thanks for the chance to win!

  240. SarahJ

    Looks like a great book! Now I’m inspired to go create something. Thanks!!

  241. Hollie G.

    This is amazing! It’s time for me to find the creativity/artistic ability that I have set aside over the years!

  242. Rebecca

    This sounds fascinating! I loved my elementary art teacher. Every year we made “tear-able” art to decorate the hallways – we couldn’t use scissors. 🙂

  243. Rashelle

    This book sounds amazing. I’ll probably end up just purchasing it if I don’t win it.

  244. Sarah

    Just read the first chapter. Would love to read the rest and share with a friend.

  245. Lisa B.

    I used to love to draw when I was a kid, but somewhere around age 12, my drawing abilities came to a screeching halt. In fact, I think most of my drawings still look like they were drawn by a 12-year-old, and I’m 28! I’d love to win this book to see if I can rediscover what I used to enjoy.

  246. Michelle

    Looks like a good summer read!

  247. reb

    I have a degree in art history and a two-year-old son, so this book sounds like it’s right up my alley. 🙂

  248. Renee Boring

    I can remember being in fifth grade and looking at a friend’s drawing of a unicorn with a rainbow (what else?), and thinking I’m not even close to that good, and deciding to be done with art. Sad, huh? It’s exciting to watch my four-year-old get seriously jazzed about her own creations. I’d love to be able to stoke that in her and restart in the fire in myself.

  249. Andrea

    Thanks for this reminder! This is the third different blog I have seen this book reviewed! I am really anxious to read it. 🙂

  250. Kristin H

    My most memorable “flash” of an art room experience was from my sophomore year of high school. Our assignment was to use coffee as paint… we had a fabulously creative art teacher. I painted a picture of a boy playing the piano. Another teacher at the school approached me & wanted to buy my work. My friend later told me I should have been offended by her $10 offering price, but I was just so happy that someone, other than my own mother, wanted my work displayed in their home!

  251. Debbie

    The suggestion to leave a memory from an art class made me realize something that I never have before….that amidst a really challenging childhood there were a few shining hours in art class where I felt peaceful, free and good about myself, like I had something unique and even slightly wonderful to offer. Quite a gift for my little heart and now I am thankful for it. I love the idea of helping my children maintain that spirit into adulthood and I am thankful that I am blessed to be rediscovering it. Would love to read this book.

  252. Ruth M

    Glad to see the flood of response to this post. I fully believe that each human is an artist of some form. All life is creation.

    Today’s post is particularly meaningful to me because my husband and I just challenged ourselves to create one thing a day for the next year. This ultimately came as a suggestion from him to me to help keep my head in the creative world that I love, as I tend toward depression when my artistic self is shut down for too long. There are no hard and fast rules to our challenge, just the commitment to take an intentional moment of each day to do something that expresses the creative call inside.

    Our first “project” was simply sketching in bed last night before we fell asleep. I felt like a little kid, in all the best ways, and afterward, I slept soundly (Well . . . as soundly as a 40 1/2 week pregnant mama can sleep). 🙂

    Thank you, TSH, for this post and, Matt, for encouraging artists large and small to remember who they are. I look forward to reading this book.

  253. Jessica

    This would be a great read as we begin our homeschool journey with a girl who likes art.
    I remember breaking a crayon because I colored so hard in art class and being upset…eh, broken crayons, big deal!

  254. Susanna Daniell

    Absolutely loved the introduction…thank you for writing this!
    From a former elementary school teacher, artist, parent and former student.

  255. Heather

    How interesting. The last time I took an art class was in college but it was a dismal failure. These days I get my creative juices flowing mostly in the kitchen.

  256. Lisa

    Oh I would love to win! I’ve loved art since the time I was small, but haven’t felt so creative lately. I really think I would love this book!

  257. Emilie

    I want to read this book!

  258. Brynn Gieger

    This sounds like a great book. I am homeschooling my son for the first time next year (he’s 4) and really want to give him the skills to express himself creatively – musically, with paint, with words – for the rest of his life! I used to draw pretty well and I really enjoyed it, but stopped in high school. Maybe by teaching my son I can reawaken my inner artist and even pick up some new skills myself. 🙂

  259. Rebecca

    Oh how I miss drawing and painting on a regular basis. Somewhere between grad school, working, and parenting littles, I lost my creativity. Every once in awhile I get to creat and it is so refreshing.

  260. Erin

    This is something I’ve been thinking about lots lately; I’d love to read the book.

    I remember Mrs. E. I can still see her face, and remember how special she made me feel! 🙂

  261. Nancy P

    I am going to ask that our local library order this book. It sounds wonderful and inspiring!

  262. Tracy

    This is exactly what I would love to read to inspire myself and set an example to our three children. One elementary aged child loves art, the other two are still discovering their ability!

  263. Lana

    It is amazing to watch how uninhibited kids are in their drawing, dancing, singing – and very sad to see (& feel) the inadequacy & fear of adults.

  264. Kara

    Sadly my experiences with art classes aren’t positive. In Junior High I had an art teacher who walked around the room with a meter stick and if you so much as breathed wrong she would slam it down on your table. The joy of creating art was beaten out of me. Also, as a straight A student who always got a B in art I never took it in High School because I didn’t want to hurt my G.P.A. As an adult I love scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, and decorating. Making something feels so special and rewarding! I will be reading this book no matter what. Winning will help the budget though!

  265. Jen

    My most vivid art memory: 8th grade, first day in a new school. I hadn’t done art in school since 4th grade, but for some reason the school counselor put art class into my schedule. The art teacher gave me a blank piece of paper and said, “Draw your favorite thing to do”. At the end of class I returned the blank paper to him and sought out the counselor to switch me to choir (which I thoroughly enjoyed). I was so intimidated and concerned about failure, and convinced that I had no creativity or artistic ability. As an adult however, I’ve come to realize that as a quilter, I am an artist. My creations are made with fabric and I’m thankful I’ve been given a gift in that area.

  266. Claire

    This books sounds amazing!

  267. Michaele B.

    That’s one thing I wish I would do-over if I could: I would have majored in art and drama in college. But there’s such an enigmatic stigma attached to the idea of a young person pursuing anything creative as a possible professional job that it discouraged me to do so. If you come from a financially comfortable family then you have the means to explore any outlet of creativity full-time. If not, be ready to live the life of the “starving artist.” I haven’t taken an art class since I was told it would never make me any money, and I feel left out because of it. Maybe I would have been happier being the starving artist than the person who is struggling trying to make it in the real world doing doing what everyone thinks will make someone successful. It’s never too late, I know. But starting a hobby does take up some time and money! It will be nice to read a book that will encourage others (and me) to keep on expressing their natural talents, no matter what anyone else (and, at times, the voice inside them) says.

  268. Cait

    Would love to read this!

  269. kamisha sullivan

    I would love a copy of this book. Sounds amazing!
    I remember loving to draw as a child. My sister and I would watch a drawing show on PBS and learned how to draw teddy bears with unicorn horns. Thus inspiring a third grader, all girls group, called the teddy bear club. Somewhere along the way the willingness to take risks as an artist subsided. I became very self-conscience. Recently I have found a bit more freedom in my classroom (I teach second grade) and I want kids to feel free to try different art mediums.

  270. Teresa

    Sounds like an inspiring book!

  271. Jess

    I would love to read this book!

  272. Stacie

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. I remember making those pictures with the colors underneath and then the black over the top. We scratched lines in the black to make the colors show through. I have two girls who have been fearless in their art but are now starting to worry (at 3 and 4) that they can’t do it “right.” We keep telling them, their way is the right way. However, I think they are more frustrated that they can’t reproduce what they are imagining. We have lots of fun with art here but I’m always looking at ways to do more. Personally, I would love to learn/try painting one day.

  273. Maryhomemama

    This makes my heart beat faster!! What a great book idea! Loved art all my life. I even wanted to major in it at university but went for languages instead (more “practical”) Now, I have three girls that have LOVED to draw and create through our homeschooling days but I don’t have the time/energy/materials/patience…to try again. Would love to hear what he has to say to me, at 50-something and feeling like I can’t go back again…

  274. Denise P.

    Just today I painted a watercolor painting with my 3 year old son. Well…he started to paint and then decided he wanted to run around and smash trucks together, and I enjoyed a few minutes of painting. I really enjoy it and find I am much happier after. I am not the artsy one in the family but I want to enjoy doing art and I want my son to enjoy art is its many forms as well. Looking forward to reading the book and learning to reconnect with my own inner artist and helping my son discover his as well.

  275. quadmocha

    Love this! Will be telling folks about it, too!

  276. Christy Murphy

    My art teacher in grade school was Mr. Otipoby. I loved his class. I still have the Georgia O’keeffe inspired purplish flower I made.

  277. Carol

    This looks like a great book. How do I sign up for the giveaway? I was not artsy, but my creativity was more in the kitchen and working with children and encouraging them.

  278. Steph

    Sounds like a beautiful book!

  279. Brenda

    This is so true. There is such a difference between how my 7 year old and my 10 year old approach an art project. The 10 year old is so much more inhibited. Would love to read this book.

  280. Pam Smith

    Giving my 5th graders lots of time to play and explore with techniques and materials gives them more freedom as they don’t have to create something for the wall just yet. But I wonder how to keep that same playfulness and exploration when we move to their final pieces – that’s when they get too serious (and I’m so not serious about it!) This is definitely a book I need to read! 🙂

  281. Audra

    I’d like to read this book. Drawing is a wonderful, fun way to connect with your child, but drawing with my sons intimidates me. My talent is limited, but I want to teach them to let go of the ideas of perfection and just enjoy the pursuit.

  282. Tracy

    Sometimes I feel like my brain is creative but my hands aren’t 😀

  283. Melodie B

    I don’t remember valuing my own creativity as a child, but as an adult I have found that more and more, creativity is one of the most important pieces of myself. Not usually drawing (though I did recently write and illustrate a book for my daughter starring herself), I’m more likely to be found decorating, or baking, or designing and making jewelry, or lately I’ve taken up sewing.
    I’m definitely putting this book on my list of must reads. I love to be inspired!

  284. Fabiola

    Ever since I was a little girl everyone always commented how creative I was because I could draw. Since I was little my houses looked like houses, my apples like apples and my coloring was neat and inside the lines.
    I never had an art class, instead we had art projects at schools which meant we were given instructions we could easily follow.
    But in reality I didn’t have “talent” or if I did it was never nourished with anything professional. When I was in high school I started doodling, in particular I drew giant eyes made out of dots where my school notes were supposed to be.
    During this time I had the opportunity to sign up for a Drafting class (the closest to drawing I could think of) but opted instead to take Hospitality because it was fun and we got to travel.
    It was not until I was in college that I finally enrolled in an obligatory art class and found out my style had a term pointillism and began admiring and learning about “real” art. I somehow also realized that I had no real talent and began seeing my little drawings as little insignificant childish and immature scribbles. It was not Art.
    I kept at doodling because it was a mechanism to fight boredom, to think of new ideas and it was a habit of mine whenever pen and paper met my hand.
    I never signed up to another hands on art class.
    Last year on Christmas my husband gave me a “How to Draw” book, but I have to admit I haven’t opened it. Yet every time I see anything remotely artistic, whenever I see someone doing something artistic, I want to try and see if I could come up with houses that don’t look like houses and apples that are only mine.


    Forever Doodler

    P.S. Just today I’ve been struggling with writers block, even playing around with Photoshop seemed to do the trick. Art is Vital.

  285. Rachel A.

    That sounds like a great book! I’ve been trying really hard to redirect my 6-year-old when she starts comparing her art to mine; I don’t want her to get discouraged & give up, so we spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to practice & have fun with art (and how mommy has had many many years to practice. sigh.).

  286. Charlotte

    Rock painting was our project this summer! I think I went back to it more than the kids and spent some quality time with them and me! I seldom let myself enjoy creating something but this summer I created rock art and had a blast!

  287. Katie

    This book sounds right up my alley at this point in my life, much like Emily Freeman’s new “art book” I’ve heard about on your podcast. These are all somewhat new concepts to me…I’ve always thought I “wasn’t artistic” and that was the end of it. But the things you talk about here resonate with me and I want to know how to make art in my life.

  288. Dorothy

    I would really like to read this book. It’s already on my wish list. Painting has been put on the backburner when I hit the 20’s. Several months ago I picked up a paintbrush in a local art class and painted. I enjoyed it very much! I’m hoping to get back into it more in the future even if it scares me to pick up that paintbrush.

  289. Jennet

    I was a public school art teacher before my son was born, and it always amazed me to see the shift in kids thinking they could make art to thinking they couldn’t ( usually between 4th and 5th grades). This shift always saddened me, and I did all I could to combat it.

  290. A

    i’m a sucker for anything with a goopy paintbrush on the cover, and this sounds great! as a mama of a toddler, my painting days are few and far between. would love a little encouragement in that area. thanks for the opportunity to win!

  291. Sara

    I have always found an afternoon or evening of sewing/cross-stitching to be incredibly soothing, even though I would never describe myself as “artistic.” I’d love to read this book so I can encourage my kids to think of themselves as “artistic” even if they inherit my stick-figure drawing technique!

  292. LeeAnn T.

    What an amazing sounding book!!

  293. Elizabeth

    This books sounds wonderful! When I was little, my mom always had plenty of blank paper and crayons for us to draw! She kept little clay animals figures we made on her kitchen window ledge.

  294. Deanna

    Sounds like an amazing book. Love the quote about failure – that’s what I want to teach my daughter.

  295. Michelle

    Sounds like a wonderful book. I one who used to paint & draw regularly for pleasure, I never thought of it the way he has expressed it and would love to read the entire book. And get back to my art!

  296. Meredith

    We were made in the image of our Creator, so yes we were all made to create.

  297. Dana

    I’d love this book!

  298. ginny

    This looks so inspiring!

  299. Kelly

    Thank you for introducing your readers to this book. It sounds fascinating! Recently, I have begun to experience a strong desire to create and to be creative. I believe that desire is a gift, and as a result I am exploring new ways to pursue creativity. I’m thankful for it and for the encouragement a book like this gives.

  300. Liisa R

    I would love this! I am a creative person very shut down in my main venue, music, because of my fibromyalgia. Would love some inspiration to find creativity elsewhere! 🙂

  301. Erin

    I have bought so many art supplies with the intention of trying to be creative…then the ‘more important’ stuff comes up and that intimidating blank canvas stays empty. Would love to read this for some encouragement & inspiration!

  302. Melanie

    I could use this. I love to be artsy, but I’ve put it all on the backburner, thinking there is no time. My favorite things involve ignoring time and letting go of expectation, and making a mess of paint and paper and glue with my kids. I just don’t do it nearly enough.

  303. Annie

    I started drawing as a tiny tot and ended up minoring in art in college. In my drawing classes I could sit for hours drawing and lose track of time, not be hungry, not pay much attention to what was going on around me. Now I’m a mother and I hope to encourage my son’s inner artist as he grows. And, wow, the shirt I am wearing right now has this saying on it: “I was created to create.”

  304. Katie S.

    Would love to win it! Will keep it on my to-read soon list regardless.

  305. Deenas

    I remember my Mom taking a drawing class when I was young and naturally, wanting to be just like her, I started to draw. I sketched a picture of a plant in our house that was really quite good for my young age at the time. I wish I knew what happened to that picture and I wish I had kept at drawing — who knows how good I’d be after so many years have passed if I had only kept doing it. Thanks for the chance to win a good read!

  306. Ann : )

    Would love to read this.

  307. Sarah

    My sister and I split sides of our brains, she got the right side and I the left though we’re both appreciating the other side more as we age! Would love to read more about it! Thanks for the recommendation!

  308. ElsaH

    This looks like a great book. I love creating with my kids and without my kids 🙂 I wish I would have taken art classes in school. I was just too shy and didn’t think I had any talent.

  309. Janice Plado Dalager

    This sounds like a necessary reading for adults. I really want to teach and exemplify the love of process and creation for my child. But I think it may put her as an oddball in school, as I was. How to balance that and how to encourage defining success on your own terms.

    Maybe we’ll start with our own drawing day tomorrow. 🙂

  310. Anna

    As a piano teacher I have long believed that children, all children, are born loving to express themselves in the arts, whatever the outcome! I would love to read this book.

  311. Julie Anderson

    My husband is a college art professor, and he’s often saying things like these quotes to his intro art students. I’m super intrigued by this book!

  312. Mandy O

    Love this!
    I definitely loved art class in elementary school and beyond! I remember making all kinds of things and loving my art teacher. I also loved costume design classes in college.

  313. Sara S.

    One of the only teachers whose name I can remember from my childhood was my art teacher in elementary school. Her name was Mrs. White and I can remember her thick white-blonde hair and thinking that her name was meant for her. I also remember making a Kachina doll in class and when we moved recently my daughter found it in one of my childhood boxes!

  314. Kathrine Joyce

    It seems interesting! I would love to buy a copy of this book. I have always believed that there’s Life After Art. Oh well, I hope I’m one of the lucky 10 simple mom readers! Fingers Crossed!

  315. Ashley Welling

    Would LOVE to read this book!!

  316. Courtney

    This books sounds excellent! I’d love to read it for myself and as a mom to two young boys and a Kindergarten teacher!

  317. Catherine

    Sounds like a book I need to read!

  318. Rachel

    Coming from an education system that squeezes out all art and focusses heavily on Science and Maths – I’m in dire need of a change in perspective!! If the competition is open to peeps living in sunny Singapore, I would love to win a copy.

  319. Sara

    I remember doing art camp at a university in my hometown and loving it. I remember painting my house, making a pink and blue bath tub out of clay and making a puppet and a treasure box. And fish prints from real fish!

  320. Sara

    I love the idea behind this book! I remember drawing so much growing up but now I hardly do it. I would be so happy to read this book!

  321. Soko Cisneroz

    I can’t wait to read this book!

  322. Pamela

    I think creating is central to who we are, and yet I don’t make the time to nurture this for myself. I am not sure whether it is fear of failure, not living up to a perceived artistic standard or just choosing not to make it a priority. Imagine what my three daughters would learn about the importance of creativity if I took the time and painted, drew, wrote stories, played piano etc. Sounds like a great book!

  323. Tricia Paoluccio

    My dad is an inventor, and growing up I witnessed him trying over and over and over to solve a problem…he would joke about being a professional failure and that his work was 99% failure but one percent eureka!!! My husband and I are both professional artists in the theatre…we are so grateful and feel lucky we get to do what we love for a living, but it is a life of constant trying and failing or rejection. One of the best parts of motherhood for me, has been recently, when i audition for something I really care about, I make it a point to share that with my five year old son. When I find out I didnt get the part (which happens most of the time) I share that dissapointment with him and we talk about if I should give up or not. He always says don’t give up mom. I feel so grateful to my dad, for teaching /living this legacy of creativity and perserverance. My son is such an artist, totally creative and inventive…and I always think about if he does pursue a creative life as an adult, he will need these qualities of resilence almost as much as developing his talents. I will def be buying this book…unless I’m one of the lucky ones to win it!!!

  324. Desiree

    I loved art class as a child and I often pine for a place where I live that I could go and create. I’m trying to instill a love of art in my two young boys, right now my oldest is all about scribbling and saying “I made this for mommy and daddy!” As I transition into being a stay at home mom I think this book could really help me.

    Thank you!

  325. Julie

    Would love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway.

  326. Helen

    I’d love to read this. I stopped taking art classes in high school because I had to choose between art and a foreign language…

    Still, during a recent stressful time of family illness, I kept crayons in my office desk and took them out on days when my nervous hands and mind needed a distraction.

  327. Krystal P

    When I was in college studying to be an elementary school teacher, I had to take two semesters of teaching elementary school art and absolutely loved it. We completed so many projects and I learned so much. It definitely rekindled a love for art that I had missed out on since elementary school. And the professor was so good at explaining things that it made me feel like I knew what I was doing. I still have a few of those pieces of art – a book made from handmade paper we bound and painted covers for, a tesselated rubber stamp, and a clay rattle shaped like a teapot. Whenever I see them I start to get the bug and desire to create

  328. Angelina

    A negative art memory still haunts me till this day. When I was seven years old, I made a drawing of Thumper (my favorite Disney character at that time). However, instead of getting encouragement, my teacher didn’t believe that I was the one who drew it, that it was someone older like a parent. That criticism and the subsequent lack of parental support suppressed my desire to be an artist, something that I have always regretted.

  329. Tamara

    Just trying to write this comment, I am thinking of all the times I have been encouraged to keep trying and the times I have stopped creating. I am realizing now how long it’s been since I have done any kind of art project with mymkids. Life has gotten very busy. Time to slow down and pick up a paint brush again! Thanks for the reminder!

  330. Laura Susan

    I’d love to win this book and pass it along to a friend once I’m finished!

  331. Sarah

    This book sounds great! I had never considered my son particularly artistic, but he had an art teacher from K through 4th grade who was amazing and encouraged the kids to believe that they were all artists. My son produced art that was quite lovely and showed us a side of him we didn’t know was there. I took art classes as a teenager – I enjoyed watercolors and always wanted to take a sculpture class. I think that especially in our virtual age, the ability to make something beautiful with our own hands is important. I will be buying this book in the likelihood I don’t win it. 🙂

  332. Erin

    Now I really want to read this! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  333. Jamie W

    My 5 year old daughter lives for art, its all she ever wants to do. I would love this book so I can help her hold on to that passion.

  334. Jen

    I’d love to read this!

  335. Michaele B.

    This is something I wish I would have read when I was younger. 🙂

  336. Elaine

    This sounds like such a wonderful book! Just glancing over the comments, it seems like just hearing about it brings up so many stories for people. I have always loved to create! To draw, to make things, to cook, to sing, to dance, to gift creatively. And of course it’s possible to LIVE creatively… but I miss creating just for creations own sake. I miss spending a few minutes drawing a tiny scene or dancing for 3 hours straight. It is renewing. And nourishing. And better equips me to approach the rest of my days joyfully. I can blame it on time and having an almost two year old, but the truth is there’s been multiple times over my life that I’ve abandoned this side of me.
    Anywho… Pick me, pick me!!!
    (And if you don’t… I just might buy the book anyways!)

  337. Amber Walters

    The premise of this book speaks to me right now. I was always creative as a child but somewhere in high school the art classes stopped and real life kicked in and art just seemed to be something to be remembered fondly from childhood. After completing a creative project as a family (that turned out beautifully) someone commented on how surprised they were that I would have attempted something so artistic. Apparently they perceived me as too “left brained” to have created something beautiful. I railed at the idea that I was “left brained” and then I started to question where in the world I lost touch with that creative, artsy, imaginative kid that I used to be. Yep, this book is now on the to-read list.

  338. Jennifer

    It would be nice to win this book, but I’ve got it on my ‘wish list’ to make sure I read it.

  339. Kim B

    Sounds like a good read, and even better since my 3.5 year old daughter is already starting to get frustrated by her inability to draw exactly what she wants exactly the way she wants due to age-appropriate fine motor skills.

  340. Lee

    I recently took up painting for the first time. I took art all the way through college, and it was draw this still life, make a color wheel, blah, blah, boring, blah. Then a couple of months ago I took an online painting class and it was put color on the canvas! Lots of it! Squish it around and scrape it off and cover it up! Use your hands and elbows! I’m still gasping – and dreaming in color! This book looks wonderful.

  341. Leah Southerland

    I, too was an artist as a child, loving to draw, color and create. Only I grew up as one of the ‘talented’ ones in a small community. As nice as it was to have so much encouragement as a teen, I was crushed in college to learn that I was no longer at the top of the heap, but only one in a huge pile of ‘talented’ people. Being good was no longer enough. Millions of people were good. In order to be anything, I felt I needed to be great. I was intimidated by the seemingly natural talent around me in art school, and I was way too modest to ever think of becoming what I thought was a real Artist. I became an art teacher, realizing that I was great at teaching. I admit the gig was absolutely wonderful in itself, and I loved it, but I still never had the gall to call myself an “Artist”.
    Now, as a stay at home mother and homeschooler, at the age of 36, I am reemerging. I have a studio in the basement, which I get to use occasionally; and I know that, even though I do not create every day, that I do not sell my work, or show it in any gallery, I AM an artist. I am an artist simply because that is who I am. I am slowly, finally, in my adulthood, realizing that it is not conceited or ridiculous to say such a thing. And I feel utterly set free by the thought of it. I am proud that my kids can se me, as a creative, artistic person, not caring what others think, or if I fail. They see me paint. They see me struggle. They see me smile. Hopefully, they can see that Art and creation (and its successes and failures) are part of life – a happy life.
    I really look forward to reading your opinions on it in the book. Thanks for this prompt to reflect and write about it myself.

  342. Erin

    This book sounds great! I’ve always considered my self an artist (mostly with watercolor and oil paints) but it’s been so long since I’ve consistently picked up a project that I’m afraid I’ve “lost the touch”. You’re right – most of the blockade to actually creating is the fear of failing – as if one bad painting will brand you for the rest of your life. I want to pick up the brush again, although I need to remind myself that being an artist can show up in all areas of my life – in my knitting and embroidery, my sewing, the way I arrange a room using only what we already have, the care and love that goes into a home-made meal. Why limit ourselves to canvases in a gallery?

  343. Kelly

    Sounds like a great book! I’d love to be a better model for my kids in this area.

  344. Leah

    Sounds like a great book! Like another commenter, I made a picture in art class that I felt was my best work to that point (second grade!). But the teacher marked me down because the flower was smack in the middle of the page. Apparently, I was supposed to place the object off center, perhaps a bit off the page, for more interest. But I didn’t know that! I left feeling like art was something that people just “knew” how to do, instead of learned. But happy ending! I really learned a lot in high school with a great art teacher as we explored many media forms. Woodcuts are still one of my favorites!

  345. jenn

    great thoughts!

  346. danielle

    one of my fondest memories of elem school is the art projects we got to do! i stopped doing “art” after that.. thinking i wasn’t the type to do it. this book sounds really interesting and would love to read it!

  347. Clair Dickson

    as a fellow art teacher, i would love to read Matt’s book!

  348. Kim H

    I love being artsy and creative, I just don’t make time or give myself the opportunities for it.

  349. julie

    I’d love to win a copy!

  350. Katy

    Sounds intriguing!

  351. jbug

    Looks like a very good book.

  352. se7en

    This looks like an absolute must read!!!

  353. Emily B

    A fav date night of ours is heading to a tiny sculpting studio and just hand sculpting whatever we want while chatting or just being together in silence. Creating something together in the same space brings my husband and I together.

  354. Julie W.

    Sounds like a great read!

  355. Rachel M

    This looks great! I always love a good read.

  356. Kirsten Joy

    When I look in my schoolyears book it says in a third grade entry, “When I grow up I want to be an artist.” There’s so many ways that dream has come true. Matt’s book looks awesome. I can’t wait to check it out!

  357. JenD

    My 5 yr old is a self-proclaimed artist. I’d love to read this book & see how I can nurture her creativity into adulthood!

  358. Sarah Westphal

    This is what I need.

  359. Rebecca

    Today while I sat with my mother during her chemotherapy, I actually brought out some embroidery work. It is amazing how much more peaceful and connected I am when I am creating. Thank you for this reminder, we need to do it more! I would love to win this book to share with my art teacher sister too!

  360. Courtney

    Oooh! I’ve had my eye on this book. It sounds wonderful and thought I hope I win it here I think now I’m convinced that I’m going to have to get it anyway. An art class memory – pottery. I loved making pottery, painting it, and waiting for it to be fired in the kiln. Something about that thoughtful process that I really miss!

  361. SuperErin

    As a wedding gift my mother framed 2 of my art class pictures from childhood. I love seeing them hanging on my walls daily!

  362. Sarah

    Thanks for sharing! We were created to create . . . a struggle for me but so worthwhile when I do!

  363. Sarah

    we were created to create! great inspiration!

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