Product Review of Master Kitz by Kidzaw, Inc.
I was a science major and while I did enjoy creative outlets like writing and crafting I never excelled at art. So when it came time to teach my children art I lacked confidence in my abilities to teach the subject. Therefore, I decided to look for a curriculum that would do most of the teaching for me. Then I stumbled upon the Masters Kitz products by Kidzaw, Inc. These kits seemed ideal. Each kit introduces an artist, a quintessential piece of artwork and the tools needed to create your own interpretation of that work of art. (We used the Black Lines by Wassily Kandinsky kit.)
Do you believe it is important for an art lesson to include history?
Art and History
One of the reasons I decided to try a Masters Kitz by Kidzaw, Inc. is that the kits include a history of the artist being studied. Much of the art curriculum on the market seems to focuses entirely upon the creation of the art. Those that due focus on artist study often leave out the creation of the students own art pieces. I wanted a more balanced approach for my daughters. They should study and appreciate the master artists who came before them. Their own art journey should begin by understanding and copying the techniques that worked for past artists, while allowing a creative freedom to discover their own style.
Thus the fact that the Master Kitz contains a brief history was a strong point in its favor. The history is only a single page so younger students won’t get fidgety. But it does contain enough information to wet the appetite of older students. Hopefully, the brief account sparks a child’s interest in looking up more information about the artist presented. And if art isn’t a subject the child is passionate about the basic information is still covered such that your child could have a casual conversation about the artist and his works after the lesson (assuming you review the information enough to move it into long term memory).
Style and Technique
Which brings us to the next point in favor of Master Kitz, the teaching materials also include several bullet points about the artist’s style and techniques. The period the artist painted in is mentioned, for example Wassily Kandinsky painted during the Modern period of the arts. Several of his contemporaries were also mentioned. Most interestingly, there were notes about the development of his style and techniques he often used. A couple of images of representative paintings are included to drive home the points about style.
Master Kitz Currently Available
Paul Klee's Flower Myth
Wassily Kandinsky's Black Lines
Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night
Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life
Claude Monet's Water Lilies
Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers
Katsushika Hokusai's Great Wave
Henri Matisse's Red Studio
Pablo Picasso’s cubism*
Pablo Picasso’s surrealism*
*Not standard Master Kitz
Finally, a large scale image of the painting the student will be modeling his or her work after is included along with instruction on how to complete the art. The instructions were clearly written using a step by step format. Even someone with absolutely no background in art could understand what should be done.
The Wassily Kandinsky Black Lines kit included two 16” x 20” deluxe art papers (so both my girls could complete the project with the purchase of only one kit). Moreover, the kit contained watercolor pencils (and a sharpener) that will allow for the creation of many more art projects. So, even if you have more than two children the kit can easily be used for all of them with only the purchase of more art paper. The kit also contained a doodle sheet of Kandinsky’s black lines or the student could create their own doodles. And there were two stencils of Kandinsky’s shapes should the students wish to utilize them. It made creating a Kandinskyesque painting simple even for my five year old daughter. (The kits are recommended for ages six and above.)
In all, I was well pleased with the kit. The history was brief but thorough. The explanation of the artist’s style was easy to understand. The directions for the art project were straightforward step-by-step instructions and the materials were good quality. Really my only complaint is that there are so few artists covered by the Master Kitz series. Hopefully they will put out more.