Drawing with Children with Mona Brookes: AME 100




I wondered how to make this milestone episode special. When I thought back to all the episodes, there is one thread that runs through them. And that is that no matter where you teach art, how you teach art, or what stage you are at in your teaching journey…you are not alone.

We’re here for you.

When I began teaching art in 2004, and had no idea how to teach kids, there was someone there for me, too. An hour after I was offered the job, I went to borders and bought Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes. I knew I struck gold. I flipped through the pages and chapter headings caught my eye…

Giving the artist the permission to unfold

Creating a Supportive Climate

Talk like an adult, with non judgment

How we see…

The book didn’t focus on standards or academic tie-ins, it shared a strong philosophy on how to teach children to draw. It was about what was possible.

I read the book in a few nights and felt so confident about teaching that I literally didn’t plan any lessons other than drawing with the kids for the first few weeks. That was then, and I still refer to Mona’s instructions every now and again.

When we finally secured an interview time, I was giddy with excitement. I wasn’t sure how the interview would go. We talked about the evolution of the book, Drawing with Children, and how it was created…the publicity, the backlash, and how it ended up a franchise. It’s a fascinating story of how one idea channels into so many directions until in the end, it circles back to the origins.

I hope it inspires you to push, dream and circle back.


– How Mona Brookes began her journey teaching, and why she says her first attempt as a teacher was a “failure”

– Mona’s philosophy for teaching young children to draw and how the ability to draw can be learned

– How Mona went from teaching art to branding her own methodology and selling franchises

– How technology has changed everything for Mona and her business

– Where the battle between art philosophies stems from

– How Mona is still impacting the world at the age of 80




The Sparkler’s Club Waitlist

Monart Website

Monart Books

Monart Training

Pre-Order Patty’s new book Draw, Paint, Sparkle

You can visit Patty through Deep Space Sparkle on Facebook and Instagram




What do you think?

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  • Esse

    I was so excited to see/hear with Mona Brookes! Oh, may this book was my anchor as a first year art teacher. I was nodding my hearing the part about things did not like in art schools.
    Very thankful and grateful, I have any go art education so I didn’t know anything. This book really helped. Students would drawing skills grow from leaps and bounds.

    • Patty

      Thank you so much for listening!

  • Fran Baldwin

    Thank you for this fascinating and inspiring conversation which has got me determined to try again and to revise drawing lessons, which haven’t always worked out so well in my art room. This is. Y all time favorite podcast, and I have listened to most all for over a year. Congratulations Patty!

  • Linda DeMello

    I was absolutely riveted listening to this episode with Mona Brooks. What a story she has to share! Listening to Mona describe in her own words her philosophy and method for teaching drawing skills to children gave me a kind of clarity I thought I already had. I will most definitely be hopping over to her website…and going back to re read chapters of my own very worn copy of her book. I’m feeling that I often get so busy just keeping up with the daily expectations that come with teaching art to children, and this episode has made me want to slow down a bit, go back and really set my intentions more clearly. Thank you again Patty, for sharing these amazing podcasts! Mona Brooks’ story and how her teaching life evolved is truly fascinating!

  • Sharla

    I found Classical Conversations, Inc. 9 years ago and while researching the art book that the tutors use in community, I decided to call Monart. I was prepared to leave a message for someone in an office to call me back. To my surprise, Mona answered the phone! She spoke with me for about an hour. (Me, a new homeschool mom of 3 boys from Alabama) Her whole approach applies to classical education in so many ways. This is the way we naturally learn any new skill!

  • Robyn Thurecht

    Hi Patty and Mona – you are both my inspiration and mentors and it was lovely to listen to you both in the podcast. I am 50 years old and have been teaching art to children for the past five years (artKids Canberra) in Australia – having a similar life change to both of you around 45 years old – running it as a business, bit by bit, as word spread and my art classes have grown. It was so reassuring to hear Mona discuss her franchise dilemma as I am right in the middle of that now. My small business is growing and I’m now obliged to register for certain taxes, etc, which of course cuts into the small profit I was making. I’m now looking at licensing my way of teaching – combination of DSS, Monart, Marvegoes Way and my own discoveries – but not going the franchise route. It’s so soul destroying to want to share the joy of drawing and creating and to be curtailed by red tape! My dream is to make my own art in the morning and teach art to children (and adults!) in the afternoons. I can see how expanding will allow more kids to experience art and drawing but I’m constrained by how much time it cuts into my own art-making and family time, and quite frankly, whether it is financially viable. I guess we all have to navigate what is the best way for our own lives. The most important thing for me is the idea that there is no right way to draw, that copying and tracing is more than OK, and that there is no such thing as a mistake or flop – only ‘flopportunities’! I was reassured I was on the right track recently when a Senior Lecturer from the NSW College of Fine Arts (COFA) when discussing artKids with him. He took me aside and said “please, please keep teaching kids how to draw because the kids coming through University don’t know how to.” We’re all on the right track 🙂
    Thanks for your continued inspiration, lesson plans and insights.

  • Chandi Holliman

    Thank you so much. I have used the Monart drawing for 12 years. I was caught in her Franchise dilemma! She had one of her art schools her in Seattle and I wanted to be trained because I do believe in her techniques. But the costs were so unaffordable for a teacher. It was a secret I couldn’t even attend with one of my classroom students. It turned me off but her book, which was my bible I still used I was a strong believer. The book took me through a school year but I wanted more for the older children as the continued the process. That is where Deep Space Sparkle was born st our school. I am so happy , I heard her personal story. I loved it. I am so happy that it wasn’t about her, but the system, lawyers and law that made it go in this direction. I am so happy she took her love back! Thank you Patty, and Mona for being such dynamic entrepreneurs in presenting us with these methods of teaching the skill of drawing. May both of you be blessed.

  • kevinnadia

    I was so excited to see this interview on your site.
    I was a fan of Mona Brooks for many years, she is the one who inspired me to open my own private art classes that I started at my home, then continued at church for the last 8 years. Now I am in my first year of teaching art in elementary public school. So I am starting a new chapter in my 40th!!! It was very interesting to hear her story and listen to her advises. Thank you again for sharing it!!! I just signed up for waiting list for lesson plans from your site! I can not wait to start getting it and using it, because I think it will make my life so much easier! And I also love the way you do your videos and tutorial and everything!! Thank You Patty!!! You are amazing!!

    • Patty

      Thank you so much Nadia…for listening to the show and for being such a positive lovely person!

  • amytausz

    I have to say that copying, tracing, and/or guided drawings are an absolutely wonderful way to teach. As a matter of fact, I would say that those are THE WAY to teach.
    How did Beatrix Potter learn to draw? By copying Randolph Caldecott.
    How did Benjamin Franklin learn to write? By copying.
    This is the time-tested method of learning. It is classical and has been around forever. You have to teach the basic techniques of any subject in order to learn.
    There is nothing wrong with templates, tracing, and copying. This fallacious argument is just the constant swing of the pendulum of education. This will come up again and again until the end of the world.
    Mona and Patty, don’t worry. You are absolutely correct in your methods and I am a firm supporter of both of you.

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