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Getting to Know Color in Art, Getting to Know Line in Art, Getting to Know Shape & Form in Art DVD Set Review by Melanie Reynolds

Getting to Know, Inc.
(312) 642-5526
21 W. Chestnut St Suite 506
Chicago, IL 60610

Getting to Know, Inc. has produced a fantastic series of DVDs which would be perfect for either a classroom or a homeschool setting, for teaching students basic principles about art in a kid-friendly manner. This is the same company which produces the exceptional artist and composer series by Mike Venezia. I knew that Getting to Know, Inc. produced quality materials from our other experiences with their products, and this DVD set is another example of their great art resources for children and families. The DVDs are called Color in Art, Line in Art, and Shape & Form in Art and are designed for younger learners in grades K-4 (although older students, especially in grades 5-7, could also appreciate them). The DVDs run from 22-26 minutes each. The 3-DVD set is entitled “All About Art” and is priced at $85.35. Each DVD provides a fairly comprehensive introduction to its topic, and you can also find downloadable teacher’s guides (written by Susan Freifeld), clip art, and student activities at the site by clicking on the “Resources” tab.

Color in Art

Color is one of the most important elements in art, and this DVD teaches color theory very clearly and thoroughly. Students will learn about

  • Primary, secondary, and tertiary or intermediate colors
  • Color mixing
  • Neutrals and grayscale
  • Values, tints and shades
  • Warm and cool colors
  • Complementary, analogous, and monochromatic colors

How are these formed? Why do certain colors complement others? How do you make brown or gray paint? What feelings do different colors engender? How does a painter make a bold statement or a muted one, depending on the colors he uses? All of these questions, and many more, are answered in Color in Art. The DVD teaches students what happens when they mix different colors together; how to create mood with color; why you don’t want to mix every single color together, and why you want to avoid certain colors in your bedroom…if you want to sleep! The DVD is voiced by both children and adults, features fantastic visual aids and great illustrations, and is both interesting and enjoyable to watch.

The free downloadable Teacher’s Guide at the Resources link above has excellent activities for further teaching about color, including art projects, color theory worksheets for painting in class, language arts lessons, vocabulary/definitions, and activities for each grade from kindergarten through fourth.

Line in Art

Line is another basic, yet essential, element artists use. It’s a simple concept, yet it underlines most art forms and projects. Line in Art describes for students:

  • The definition of a line
  • Types and qualities of lines
  • Seeing lines in life and nature
  • Making texture, pattern and shape with lines
  • Calligraphy and cartooning

The questions answered in Line in Art are both basic yet fascinating. And are, I believe, the foundation students need in their art arsenals to help them in both art creation and observation. What types of art tools can make a line, and how? How can lines express emotion? What different types of line and shading produce cross-hatching, contours, or gestures? What different things do a thin line or a thick line produce in art? How did famous artists like Michaelangelo, Van Gogh, da Vinci, and Kandinsky use line in their masterpieces? How can a student use simple lines to create beauty and humor? Like Color in Art, this DVD contains great illustrations and demonstrations, is voiced by both kids and adults, and contains an interesting and thorough explanation of line for young viewers.

The accompanying Teacher’s Guide (downloadable from the website’s “Resources” page) includes the same information covered in the DVD, and even more. Art vocabulary, different activities for students in K-4th, printable worksheets, and a recommended booklist nicely round out the Line in Art DVD and provide further exploration of this element of art.

Shape & Form in Art

Shape & Form in Art is a fascinating discussion of movement and extension in art, starting with the dot and moving to the line. Lines then create shape and form, whether two-dimensional (only having height and width) or three-dimensional (with height, width, and depth). This DVD teaches about the unlimited number and type of shapes, from geometric ones (circle, square, rectangle, trapezoid, etc.) to organic shapes, which are free form. Shape is explored in the many forms it can take in painting and sculpture, as well as in nature. Negative and positive space are discussed, as are patterns and motifs. Even though this DVD is designed for students in K-4, older students would greatly benefit from its teaching. 

The Teacher’s Guide for Shape & Form in Art (also downloadable from the “Resources” tab of the website) includes chapter topics, learning activities for each grade from kindergarten through fourth grade, a “designs in nature” reproducible handout, a glossary, and chapter review information. A booklist of additional reading materials is part of the guide as well.

I’ve found a variety of uses for these excellent DVDs in both a homeschool setting and in a larger group of students in a coop (although they could certainly be used as well in public or private schools). My own family has viewed all three of these DVDs with me. While my son (as a 14-year-old) is older than the DVDs’ target age, he still was able to appreciate the review of these key elements of art as we watched them together. (I really wish that I’d had them when he was a primary school student, though!) My coop art class is composed of elementary students, however, and these DVDs are excellent for their classroom use. Because each DVD is broken up into 8 “chapters” and a conclusion/review, an excellent way to use them is to teach one chapter in one class period, then to immediately put into use the concept taught by repeating it, using the techniques illustrated in the DVD or those listed in the teacher’s guides from the website. Additionally, the DVDs could be watched in their entirety in one class period, followed by an art project related to one of the concepts. (Exactly the same thing can be done in a homeschool; just showing one segment per day and using the free curriculum download activities to enhance the concepts taught in the videos.) These would also be very effective used as a unit study; since the teachers’ guides include everything from vocabulary, to art activities for various ages, to language arts, history, and reproducible worksheets, a parent could cover a lot of ground with each one of these.

I’m happy to recommend these DVDs to parents and homeschoolers. They are chock-full of the information every young (or not-so-young) artist needs, and all the information is presented in a cheerful and fun manner, while using vivid illustrations and interesting explanations. Whether you’re an experienced artist yourself, or you don’t feel comfortable teaching the subject, you’ll find Getting to Know, Inc.’s “All About Art” DVD set an incredible resource!

-Product review by Melanie Reynolds, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016