Author Guest Post and a Book Giveaway!

This giveaway is closed to entries.

And the Winner is…

Clara Crosby- Who said that she fuels her creativity by crochet, knitting and weaving!

Congrats, Clara and thanks to Jackie for the great offer and all who entered. 

The following is a guest post by author and Art Educator Jackie Cassidy (See her bio below for more information).  Jackie has written a children’s book called “The Primary Kids Meet George Seurat” and has not only written a guest post today talking about her own creative inspiration and motivation – she is giving a signed copy away of her book to one of our AOE Readers, as well as a discount on purchasing the book.  See below for the offer and giveaway details. I am so edited to have Jackie on board today here on AOE and personally admire her for her passion and initiative to create quality children’s books that art educators can use in their classrooms. Enjoy and Good Luck! 


How do you Fuel your own Creativity?

By Jackie Cassidy

We all became Art educators because of our love of creativity. Creativity is in our blood, and we see the world through a set of different lenses than many of our colleagues. Have you ever heard your students say, “Wow, you could be a real artist” or a colleague say “You painted that?”

When you leave at the end of a busy day, do you leave your “artist” at the door and just revisit it the next day when your first class walks in? I highly doubt it because being a creative artist is a part of us. How do you fuel your own personal artist?

 Here are a few things that I do

Take a class or two or three or…

About two years into my teaching career, when I was looking for art books for children, I found that there weren’t any with the same main characters throughout the series. I created a set of multi-cultural main characters who transport themselves into an artwork and meet the artist. The Primary Kids would lead the reader through the adventure of learning about art and meeting and artist.

When I decided that I wanted to pursue starting the company, I realized I knew nothing about how to start a business, or what a trademark is, or how to publish a book or anything about this process. I just knew that I had an idea and a desire to make it happen.

I enrolled at a local college and immersed myself in classes to learn about the process of starting a business. I received my graduate certificate in entrepreneurial studies. Now I knew enough to start the business but I didn’t know about how to layout the book.

So, I took more classes on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Dreamweaver. Some were weeklong intensives in the summer or over the weekends. I love these type of classes because it allows you to become immersed in the learning.

 Paint, draw, sculpt…make your own art!

Writing and illustrating my own book gave me a great reason to make my own art. Each page is it’s own little painting. Instead of writing the entire manuscript out first, I created some of the illustrations first because it helped inspire me to keep going. Creating the illustrations for me was what came naturally, writing was harder. The story and illustrations had many, many revisions but that was okay. The process was long, and I pushed through many stumbling blocks along the way. During this process, I saw the movie “Julie and Julia”  and thought if  “Julia Child could work for 10 years on her first book, then I can push through as well.” During the process, I would allow myself “free art,” time for me to make anything I wanted so that I could recharge my energy to return to the book.

 Socialize in the Arts

A few years ago, I became a member of the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Most museums have a group that focuses on philanthropy for the museum and learning about art. This group is fantastic! Each month, there is an arts related activity at the museum. I’ve learned so much art history from these lectures and tours. Since I want my stories to have a focus on art history, this is a perfect fit. The group consists of artists, accountants, art therapists, doctors, lawyers…all people who believe that art is important! Much of the information I learn, goes right back into my lessons and books. It’s a fun and relaxing way to learn and talk about art.

By fueling my creativity and love of learning, I wrote and illustrated my first children’s book. I learned so much from this process about my creativity and myself. You may make jewelry, paint murals, create boards on Pinterest, write a blog…whatever you do, make sure it’s something that fuels you because that is what makes you a better teacher, but more important, a better YOU.

How do you fuel your own creativity?

Jacqueline Cassidy is in her ninth year of teaching elementary art in suburban Philadelphia. She is a presenter at the Pennsylvania Art Education Association conference and the National Art Education Association conference. Her blog,, focuses on art education, art history and design.  You can learn more about The Primary Kids at, purchase her book through her website, her blog, and on Amazon.  Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest  and The Primary Kids on Facebook 


Jackie is offering a very special offer to AOE readers ONLY!  Purchase Jackie’s book and you can get Free Shipping (A $3.99 value) on the book.  You can access the offer ONLY through AOE in one of two ways: By following  this link or simply click on the “Buy Now” Button below and it will take you directly to her checkout page with the Free Shipping Included. You must use this link in order to get the discount.  The offer is valid until December 24th.  Yipeee!

Win a FREE signed copy of Jackie’s book “The Primary Kids Meet George Seurat”

To Enter:

1. Comment below in the comments section with one way you fuel your creativity for this profession beyond the classroom. Be sure to include your email address when you fill out the comment form, so I have a way to contact you if you win. 

There will only be one winner {selected using}, and the giveaway closes 9:00 p.m. central time, Thursday, December 8th.  If you are the winner of this giveaway, I will contact you via email to obtain your mailing address.

I am so excited to share such a wonderful opportunity with all of you! Good luck and thank you Jackie for the wonderful offer.

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Danielle

    i love going to the Michigan art conference in Oct. to keep me going and to give me new ideas! i also do a lot of crafts and things for other people when i am not teaching.

  • The book’s concept is great. I too have a passion for art history and love to use children’s books/literature as inspiration for classroom projects. There is a real shortage of good,inspiring “meet the artist’ books that capture the interest of our children and it looks like you have answered a need. Good luck with your business venture

  • This looks like a fun book. I teach about Georges Seurat, so this would be perfect. To fuel my own creativity, I make art as much as possible. I also attend conferences for ideas. Thanks for the chance to win, Marcia.
    Marciadotcom @

  • Debby Sowell

    I fuel my creativity by making time for myself to create personal art. I am an artist who teaches; as such, I have to create. It is innately inside me. Making my own personal art helps when I show my students my artworks…it enables me to be an artist in their minds, as well as a teacher.

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE this blog!!! This would be a great resource for my classroom!

    • Megan

      Ooops!!! I didn’t realize this one posted. Sorry!

  • Megan

    I LOVE this blog. This would be a great resource for my classroom!

  • Kim

    I have often toyed with the idea of writing a book about art for my students. Each time I am challenged to find supporting materials for a lesson and can’t find what I need; the book idea re-emerges. I can’t wait to read your book and share in your success. You’ve inspired me to continue and follow through in creating my first book for elementary as well.

  • I set aside at least an hour (which often turns into 2,3,4..) every night to work on my own art no matter what. When I’m stuck I go out and take walk around the city with my camera to look for interesting colors and textures, or I go to a gallery or museum. Sometimes I turn to Art 21 videos of other artists, because seeing other artists working gives me the urgency to get back to being creative myself.

  • LynnAlison McGavack-Martin

    Staying involved with the Arizona Art Education Association as well as being involved with the NAEA is the best way that I have found to increase my creativity in the classroom. Spending time with quality art educators creating art in workshops and planning new workshops to provide to other art educators is my 2nd way. A third way I fuel my creativity is to create my own art work. I just wish there was more time in my day!
    Books like the one above will certainly help make my teaching much easier and allow me to infuse literature into the teaching of art.

  • I sometimes feel overwhelmed balancing school and family, much less being creative. Attending exhibits, spending time at art weekends, and even just trying to find even 10 minutes a day to create helps.

  • Clara Crosby

    I fuel my creativity by taking classes after work like crochet, knitting, and weaving!!

  • Collaborating with colleagues fuels my creativity and inspires me! Sharing ideas and hearing how other media arts and art teachers do things gets me thinking of new alternatives to things I’m doing now. When discussing things with others, I find we build on each others’ ideas and come away with fresh insights. Hearing about what others in the field are doing makes me want to try new processes and software, and gets me energized to pursue new projects.
    Really looking forward to your book, Jackie! Congrats!!

  • Amber

    Reading this blog inspires me! I try to take 5 minutes to look over ideas on the 2 or 3 blogs I belong to… it is great to get fresh ideas. I’m also always on the look out for childrens books. So many of my art project come from a book!

  • Rachel Varney

    I fuel my creativity by changing my house monthly. I repaint a room, refurbish a thrifted piece of furniture, or rearrange all my picutres in new configurations. But the most inspiring this is my near 2 year old. He paints in the bathtub every night and makes me excited about teaching him new things.

  • Anonymous

    I love to go to the SC Art Education conference. It is a great way to fuel your creativity and get new ideas.

  • Rosanne Jensen

    One of the ways I fuel my creativity is to read other art teacher’s blogs including this one. I am always so inspired to see what is going on in other parts of the country. I also like to look at pinterest!

  • Anonymous

    I need to refuel ! I live in Florida but no close to somewhere that has a conference that I can afford to attend. I go to my county art teacher meetings and everyone gives ideas but i want some really cool stuff to do with my students. Surfing the internet with all the great art blogs out there really helps me. I admire you for writing this book. Its great to have resources like that in our classrooms.

  • Karen

    I sometimes find it very difficult to create my own art while in teacher mode, but it needs to be done. To fuel my creativity I keep a sketch book. I would like to create big art, but sometimes all I do is draw out my idea and feel satisfied that I have documented my idea. Most of my personal art is created in the summer when I am not teaching and the sketchbook is a good reference to have.

  • I make sure I have time in my studio (even an hour a week), I submit work to gallery shows and I make time to make art after school once and a while with other teachers. Right now one of my colleagues is teaching me how to throw a pot!

  • tobie

    I would love to win this book! I always get recharged by doing a project with my students I enjoy feeling their creative energy as I show them how to do a project and I love listen to storytellers it really changes the way I will describe a project to my younger grades.

  • THANK YOU Jessica for allowing me to guest post! I LOVED reading everyones responses all week about how they fuel their own creativity. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support. Art teachers are fantastic and you all make me proud to say “I’m an art teacher” :)