Review: Drawing on History

The following is a post by contributing writer Tabitha.

cover of book

Drawing on History cover

These past few weeks my 15 year old son and I were able to review a book that combined art with history.

sample page

Sample lesson and my son’s results.

My son is very visually oriented and has done a lot of experimenting with art, so I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about anything that guided his exploration or gave him something specific to work on.  He’s also very focused on drawing and very few other forms of art.  I should not have worried.

This isn’t a step by step art project book that gives you a chance to make a carbon copy art piece like everyone else in the class.  This is a well researched, thought provoking book that gives you the historical significance, several examples, and ideas for a project of your own.

This method suits the timid artist that just wants to try something new but not go too far out on a limb, or the super creative type that jumps in with both feet and enjoys making the mess as well as the art, or anyone in between!

my son painting

Getting messy with “Action Painting”

Included in this book is a timeline with both world events and art events PLUS the art projects for that time period.  This is a handy reference for planning ahead and coordinating with your history lessons.  If you are using the Beautiful Feet high school history curriculum, it also has the book list to go along with the projects.

Each lesson includes many online resources and suggested books to help expand your learning.  Also included with the book is the “KnoodleU online resource center” with even more related lesson support for both the art projects and for more information.  Each lesson has links and at least one video about the topic.

collage of magazine photos

Surrealism and a collage

What this book is NOT:

  • a history curriculum
  • a beginning art curriculum
  • a complete how-to book of any type of art
  • how to be an expert

What this book IS or DOES:

  • full of activities that give you a feel for each art period
  • great way to try new art media and try new skills
  • ties in each project with history
  • great resource to find out more
  • learning by imitating the masters
  • ties everything together
  • a NEW way to look at art history
  • a NEW way to look at history, through art

It’s perfect for a high school fine arts course that will give each student a chance to learn about art, learn about the masters, tie it in with history, and a chance to try some projects with art that they might not otherwise ever even think to try.  High school is a great time to try new things while learning in greater detail.

My son and I are both looking forward to more time with this book and any others that follow in this exciting series.

Son with painting

Finished project for Abstract Expressionism

For more information please visit

While I was provided a sample copy of the book to review, the review above is all my very own opinion.

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