Tips from a Child Artist

Since she was little, Iris has always liked books with colorful pictures and illustrations. So, it’s not surprising that when she learned how to hold a pencil, she became passionate about drawing. She got in the habit of drawing so much that it was apparent she was bound to be an artist to some degree. She especially likes to draw animals. Whenever she sees an especially cute or cool animal, her “hand gets all excited to grab a pencil and draw it!” says her mom.

Iris entered K12‘s Ninth Annual Art Competition in 2014 as something fun to do, but when she won the Best in Show she began to take her artistic talents seriously. For the contest, she went above and beyond by submitting a video of seven pieces of artwork detailing who her heroes are and why.

Now in second grade, Iris plans to enter K12’s Tenth Annual Art Contest: DECADES, so we’ve asked her to share some tips for other students who may be interested in art.

See below for our interview with Iris and her parents on what inspires her artwork and how her online school has helped her achieve her goals as a student and a child artist. Here’s what they had to say:Busy Garden

What inspires you to be an artist? 

I could be watching an educational animal show by David Attenborough and the animals just make me think, ‘”Wow! They’re awesome!” Then I grab a paper, grab a pencil, and start sketching it out. After that I add the awesome details, and it’s totally THUMBS UP!

What is your favorite kind of art (i.e., draw, paint, collage, etc.)? 

I like drawing a lot. I guess it’s also very easy to just reach out for that pencil and start sketching whatever catches my attention. One time I was watching how “pint-sized Picasso,” Autumn de Forest, does her art, and that inspired me to do some painting too. Another time, my dad showed me collage art on the Internet, and that inspired me to make my own collage. I also do a lot of crafting and turning junk stuff into something.

Tell us what is your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? What does it mean to you? What inspired you to create it?  

I always have a hard time figuring out which piece of art is my favorite because there are so many, so it’s more like the art I’m doing right now is my favorite.

But, if you were to ask what my favorite animal is, I could right away say dogs! And, they definitely inspire a lot of my art.

What piece of advice would you give a student who wants to be an artist? Or, someone who wants to enter K12’s Tenth Annual Art Contest?

Just have fun! Draw what you want to draw! Draw what you like! Paint what you love! Take photos, do a collage, make a sculpture—anything that you want!

If you plan to enter an art contest, don’t be afraid to win or lose. It’s just something that you have to try your best at and have fun with. And, if you win, that’s AWESOME!Twin Red Eyed Frogs

What do you plan on creating for the K12’s Tenth Annual Art Contest

I plan on doing something with 1960s art because it’s so colorful and psychedelic. I like the vivid colors that are flowery and cheerful, and they have the message of peace and love, not war. It makes me happy looking at all the flashes of colors and some of them are like kaleidoscope visions. As usual, I’m going to incorporate some animals in my art because I love animals.


Then, we asked her parents—

What types of skills do you think Iris gains from doing art?

Doing art has given our daughter self confidence to express herself. It has greatly enhanced her creativity and inventiveness. She has learned to read and make her own interpretations of what other artists try to convey in their art. We like to see her learn to discuss, accept, and respect others’ points of view.

How do you think online education allows Iris’s interest in art to flourish?Tadpole Swarm

Online education has allowed our daughter to pursue her love for drawing and storytelling. Because we are in control of our schedule, Iris is able to get right on to an art project when sudden inspiration comes. She is able to dabble in and explore other tools of art she is interested in mastering like Anime Studio, Pixelmator, and Gimp. She has been introduced to many techniques, the history of art, different artists, etc. It’s like going to a library—it’s quite inspiring! It gives her a variety, and it’s fun!

How do you try to keep her interest in art and other extracurricular activities alive?

Exposing Iris to different kids’ art posted in online galleries, joining art contests, and compiling her own art work into a book and setting up her own online art gallery to celebrate her creations has helped greatly in her inspiration and interest in art.

What other types of extracurricular activities does Iris participate in?

The freedom that online education gives us has kept the door open for our family to pursue special projects that our daughter has embarked on such as making videos of her reading books to post on YouTube because she wants to show other kids how much fun it is to read books. She wants to set up her own blog because she has a lot of ideas to share. She is also a member of a few fun online clubs that K12 has provided, and she recently started piano lessons.


Have more questions for this child artist? Send them to Has Iris inspired you to enter an art contest? Well, you’re in luck! Now through October 31st you can show off your artistic vision of your favorite school subject by visiting Complete details and contest rules can be found here.


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