Monart Frequently Asked Questions

What is Monart?
It is a realistic drawing curriculum that has enough structure for achieving highly skilled success and enough freedom for individual creativity.
What age is it for?
It is a progressive art curriculum that has information and drawing projects for 4 year olds through adult beginners.
Where did it come from?
It was designed by Mona Brookes from 1980 to 1982. It was originally designed at a private preschool in Santa Monica, CA where Mona was an art teacher. The method expanded throughout the United States and Canada into franchised Monart drawing schools, with art classes for all ages.
Is the method available for parents and teachers to use?
Yes, in 2010, Mona closed the franchise so that she could share the method with the general public, without conflict of interest laws. Her books Drawing With Children and Drawing for Older Children, the How to Use Monart training video, and endless drawing lesson plans are available on the Monart On-Line Store. The Pre-School and Home School Parent Teacher Manuals for Drawing thru the Alphabet and Drawing thru Geography are being used by hundreds of Home School and Early Childhood educators.
Do you need to draw yourself in order to use the methods?
No, the basics are very simple and literally thousands of non-drawing parents and teachers have achieved great success in using the books, the DVD training video, and the lesson plans, which are now available on the Monart Online Store. They learn along with their students and achieve fine arts drawing skills themselves.
Can I become a Monart School or a certified Monart teacher?
No. Since the closing of the franchise, it is no longer possible to use the brand name Monart. However, you can claim you are using the video training and lesson plans designed by Mona Brookes, the founder of Monart.
Why does Monart claim to help academic achievement?

For 40 years, Mona has been giving teacher/training workshops in school districts throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She has consistently received feedback from classroom teachers and administrators that the teachers who use the Monart system observe up to a 20% increase in reading, writing, and math.

What conditions in the method seem to enhance academic learning?

It works with all the students in a class. Recognition of the 5 elements of shape increases a young child’s or a non-English speaking student’s ability to learn the alphabet and increases reading readiness. ESL teachers use the method in their classrooms. Researchers found that, if you draw what you are learning about, you will learn it 8 times faster and retain it 8 times longer. This is responsible for the increased knowledge of geography by drawing maps. Any science unit can involve drawing the subject to be learned and labeling the information. Drawing designs can increase mathematical knowledge. But most of all, once Monart empowers a student to achieve the ability to draw skillfully they are motivated to follow the philosophy. They learn to want the silent environment, which automatically lends itself to growth in concentration. The understanding that an artist will never like everything they do encourages exploration and realistic expectations. The knowledge that there is no right way to do art, but simply endless opinions and disagreements, does away with the focus on praise and allows a student to take risks that lead to individual creativity. Exploration leads to problem solving and to critical thinking skills. The joy of drawing encourages the willingness to put energy into completion of a task, which carries over to other subjects.

How is Monart different from other drawing programs?

It actually includes basic structure regarding visual perception and a fine arts ability to learn the subject of realistic drawing. It goes beyond what is termed “ directed  drawing”, which ends up in all student work simply being a copy of the teachers instructions. Monart teaches a student to see differently. It includes eye exercises and progressive lesson plans with many choices of how to create each student’s own interpretation of a lesson.

Has Monart been used with special needs students?

Yes, Mona was given a three year grant from 1980-1983 from Governor Brown’s California Arts Council, to see how the method worked with 3 different types of learning challenged  and “At Risk” students. One of the schools had a population of 120 Autistic, Asperger, ADHD, and ADD students. Another was a private school for 60 gang oriented teens that had been expelled from several Los Angeles schools. The third school was a regular elementary public school in a neighborhood of mostly Caucasian students who were performing at very low skill levels. In all of the programs, it was concluded that the drawing method resulted in phenomenal gains academically as well as positive changes in behavior.

Does Mona still give training seminars or certification classes?

No. Mona turned 80 in 2017. Unfortunately, she no longer has the energy to give personal training classes. Thanks to technology, parents and teachers can have access to her DVD Training Video and Art Projects for all ages on the new Monart Online Store. She continues to make new projects for the Monart Store and owns the Monart Studio in Berkeley, CA.

Does Mona really believe that there is no right way to do art?

Yes, after 5 years of art school education, she concluded that each art teacher had their preferences and that if she wanted to maintain good grades, she had to please each teacher by drawing to their preferences.  After endless trips to museums and art galleries, she came to the opinion that one could see everything imaginable and even the professional critics argued about what was “good” and what wasn’t.

Can you give me an idea of which basic lessons will work for my students based upon degree of difficulty?

Yes. Mona created an excellent resource that breaks down her basic lessons into simple, medium, and more complex. View the Degree of Difficulty List.

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