Painting with Pre-Kinders

Teaching color mixing with a large Pre-Kinder class is no small task. This week they layered red on blue to make some pretty purple flowers. I cheated a bit and added some magenta to the red watercolor just to make sure the flowers looked really purple. I’ve yet to find some red and blue tempera that … Read More

Cardboard Cutaway House: Making Beds

posted in: Cardboard Crafts | 0

I can’t believe how my students are eating this Cardboard Cutaway House project up! To date I have over 40 kids making these after school, and today they worked on making beds from popsicle sticks, chip board and stationary paper. Now granted, I prepped the bed pieces by cutting them out ahead of time (hey, I … Read More

Klimt Collage

Try adding some gold to your collage to make a really decorative work of art. Austrian painted Gustav Klimt lived in the early 1900’s, started his career as a decorator and is probably most famous for his painting named “The Kiss”. You can imitate his style with of color photos on black paper, decorated with gold … Read More

Glue and Foil Art

This project really makes some very inexpensive supplies (chipboard, glue, aluminum foil and shoe polish) look pretty fabulous. I was so inspired by this project at “Make It A Wonderful Life” that tried it out today in an after school class. MATERIALS • Chipboard • Black marker, thin • White glue • Aluminum foil • Glue … Read More

Patterned Cat

This project was inspired by a talented artist named Laurel Burch. She developed an abstract style of painting cats that is really fun to imitate. She often just drew the outside shape and filled the inside with colorful patterns   MATERIALS • Construction or card stock paper • Black Sharpie • Construction crayons DIRECTIONS 1. For … Read More

Scratch Art Paper

You don’t have to buy expensive scratch art paper. If you have some good oil pastels, you can make your own.   MATERIALS • Card stock paper • Sharpie, black, chisel tip • Oil pastels (I recommend Portfolio) • Wooden skewers   DIRECTIONS 1. With a pencil, students draw at least 3 simple upside-down curves to … Read More

Painting King Tut

Here’s a combo made in art heaven — gold tempera paint and King Tut. Works great for history lessons, or even an excuse to use the paint. It’s inexpensive and adds a bling that students all seem to love. MATERIALS • Multi media paper, 9″ x 12″ • Black Sharpie makers, chisel tip • Gold tempera … Read More

Kandinsky on Canvas Panels

This is a match made in heaven, Brush Sharpie markers and Kandinsky on canvas. The brush markers just glide on the canvas and leave a brilliant color. Makes for a very fun project for all ages and all abilities. It’s not often you can so easily simulate an original masterpiece, as with Kandinsky’s “Farbstudie Quadrate” MATERIALS … Read More

Little Duck Collage

Torn edges have a way of making shapes that would never happen if you started cutting away with a pair of scissors. This duck collage project has a simple shape, but I would save it for maybe 3rd grade and up as they would have more control of their tears. MATERIALS • Drawing paper • Old … Read More

Watercolor Sheep Painting

Here’s a simple sheep painting project, with bodies made of crayons, and then a painted background. The crayons will resist the paint, so you can paint right over them. Just be sure to color their bodies really well with the white crayon so that none of the paint sticks. MATERIALS • Watercolor paper • Crayons • … Read More

La Boca Houses of Argentina

posted in: Collage, Multicultural | 0

La Boca is a neighborhood, or barrio of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. It is a popular tourist destination because of its very colorful homes. Turn out that years ago, shipyard workers used left over metal and paint to create homes. There was never quite enough for an entire house, hence the amazing patchwork neighborhoods.   … Read More

Pinterest Milestone: Over 50,000 Followers!

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There’s a reason why I fell in love with Pinterest as soon as I discovered it. It’s pure bliss for those who are always on the lookout to find and organize good ideas. I remember the old days of driving to my local library, checking out a dozens of art books, and taking them home only … Read More

Endangered Animals Earth Day Mural

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. My Endangered Earth Day collaborative art project is great for schools and any group that wants to create something special by working together. Color each page and then tape together to end up with a 48″ x 48″ mural. The endangered species shown are: Sandhill Crane, Gorilla, Macaw, … Read More

Make a Penguin

If your students are studying penguins, consider adding this Model Magic project. There’s also now available a very creative penguin-themed art book to go with it, “Penguins Love Colors” by Sarah Aspinall. It’s cute and perfect for young students just learning to name and appreciate colors. MATERIALS • Model Magic: Black, White, Orange and Blue • … Read More

Draw a Clown

My clown tutorial seems to be pretty popular over at Pinterest, so here is an update. My recommendation? Start with black paper so your clown can truly have the white face that makes him or her so fun to color. • View and download Draw a Clown tutorial   MATERIALS • Black construction paper • Oil … Read More

Mindfully Alive Retreat

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To all the creative wannabes out there, I would like to invite you to the Mindfully Alive Retreat, a brand-new workshop series which my friend Julie Merrett is hosting, starting on March 6th. She and some other experts are working together to give you advice on becoming unblocked and living mindfully so you can create your … Read More

Kandinsky Circles with Oil Pastels

Kandinsky pretty much invented abstract art back in the early 1900’s. His “Study of Abstract Squares” is a fun and easy painting to imitate. Encourage students to lay in on thick, so they will have lots of rich colors. MATERIALS • Multimedia paper, 9″ x 12″ • Oil pastels (I recommend Portfolio brand) DIRECTIONS 1. Start … Read More

Lois Mailou Jones Drawing

This Lois Mailou Jones-inspired drawing is in honor of Black History month. During Lois’ remarkable life, she painted, designed masks, textiles and stained glass windows, traveled the world and never stopped learning. Her “Les Fetiches” art has a style that is fun to imitate. MATERIALS • Black cardstock paper • Colored pencils DIRECTIONS 1. Starting with a … Read More

Clay Cactus

My quest for finding easy clay projects that create sturdy little sculptures has led me to this, working with little plastic cups. I found that a little cactus formed in a plastic cup will help keep the arms in place while they dry. The cups also helped some of my very young students make their art … Read More

Celebrate Black History with W. H. Johnson

In celebration of Black History month, I’ve created this mural in the style of William H. Johnson (1901-1970), a very talented painter who had a difficult life. He came to be widely admired for his primitive style and bright colors, but sadly, only after he had passed away. I love the rural scenes that he often painted, so … Read More

Collaborative Hearts on Canvas

Looking for a collaborative project that creates a colorful, finished work of art? Try my favorite combo of Sharpies on dry wax paper, decoupaged to a stretched canvas and you are guaranteed some pretty amazing results. Sharpies make the color super bright, and the dry wax paper will hug the canvas in a way that nothing … Read More

Valentine Tissue Paper Flowers

This technique for making tissue paper flowers is not new, but I have a new appreciation for its simplicity. If your students have had an overload of 2D work lately, try this crafty 3D one that will give them practice on folding, twisting, cutting and pulling. Oh, and make a pretty Valentine gift while they are … Read More

Mini Canvas Art

I brought back one of my favorites, mini canvas art, for an after school class today. Mini canvases, brush Sharpies and homemade craft stick easels. My lesson was about making art with letters, so they just drew their first initial in block form and decorated it with lots of patterns. A nice, simple way to make … Read More

Starving Artist No More Summit

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Have you ever thought about using your talents to bring in extra income? Are you the person that all the family comes to when they have an artsy project? What if your life could have more creativity in it AND earn extra money for you and your family? Well, my friend and fellow artist Heidi Easley … Read More

Cubist Heart

If you know how to tint and shade with oil pastels, then try testing your skills on this Cubist style heart. MATERIALS • Multimedia or card stock paper, square • Pencil • Ruler • Oil pastels, soft variety works best, like Portfolio brand DIRECTIONS 1. Starting with a square paper, students draw a large heart in … Read More

Mini Me Custom Valentines

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I’m a sucker for custom Valentines. They just celebrate the day in a way no store bought card ever could. MATERIALS • Black and white head shot of each student, about 2″ tall • White card stock paper • Scissors • Glue stick • Black marker • Colored pencils DIRECTIONS 1. A black and white head … Read More

CHA Booth Art

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Trade shows come with some of the most striking art. Some of the big companies actually recreate beautiful little stores within convention centers. These were found outside of the Little Birdies booth. I’ve never seen such a pretty arrangement of paper flowers!

Mod Podge at the CHA Show

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I made a friend at the Mod Podge booth at the the CHA Show today. I couldn’t help but share how I use their products all the time with my Sharpie art, and they asked me to share my story on video. The company is turning 50 this year (can you believe it?) and they are … Read More

Craft & Hobby Association Show

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A few months ago I entered and online contest called “Creativations”. Sponsored by Michaels, it was looking for new and creative ideas, all kinds. I submitted my dry wax paper + Sharpie + glue on canvas, and was very happy to be one of the 25 finalists. This is my table for the weekend. I’m having … Read More

Cake Collage

Try finding a stationary store that is willing to donate damaged specialty paper for a real treat in supplies. This is the image that started it all. I was volunteering in my son’s 2nd grade class and two students went off to a corner to make a birthday card for a friend. I turned around to … Read More

Liberty Bell Art

To honor it’s history, here’s a Liberty Bell art project that uses sgraffito, an ancient scratch art technique. • View and download Liberty Bell line drawing MATERIALS • Cardstock paper • Oil pastels (I prefer the Portfolio brand) • Stick for scratching DIRECTIONS Print Liberty Bell artwork for each student.   2. Students color in the … Read More

Cheap Art Supplies at NAEIR

I recently found an amazing site that has some really cheap art supplies, among many other things. NAEIR offers official organizations access to thousands of brand new, high-quality products for a fraction of retail cost. NAEIR is a non-profit that takes in donations from corporations, and passes the savings on to groups that are dedicated to … Read More

“How to Draw” Book Giveaway Winner!

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Thanks so much to everyone who entered my first-ever “How to Draw” Book Contest! It seems I’ve found the perfect giveaway. I was truly overwhelmed by the 600+ comments that popped up in just two days, many with really nice feedback from followers. It’s so nice to learn that my years of trying new drawings has … Read More

“How to Draw” Book Giveaway

posted in: Drawing | 0

Well, it’s the last day of my holiday break, so I thought I’d make it a fun one by offering up a GIANT “How to Draw” book giveaway. This baby contains all 204 of my tutorials that I have created over the years, all in sleeve protectors and a 3″ heavy-duty binder, just ready and waiting … Read More

Pipe Cleaner People

These little pipe cleaner people are easy to make and fun to pose with their bendable legs and arms. They measure a little under 3″ when done, and have lots of possibilities for art projects, including Keith Haring, who was famous for murals with simple, colorful figures. MATERIALS • Pipecleaners, two per student DIRECTIONS Follow the … Read More

Z-Fold Holiday Card

There’s nothing like a homemade card. I tried this Z-Fold Holiday Card to make a quick “quilted” image that didn’t actually call for any sewing. Another nice feature of it being a folded card is that it will stand on its own when finished. An instant display for holiday decorating. MATERIALS • Cream colored card stock, cut to 4.5″ … Read More

Giant Popsicle Stick Snowflake

‘Tis the season for holiday decorations, so this Giant Popsicle Stick Snowflake is my solution for some inexpensive flakes that have a lot more impact than paper ones, and will last for seasons to come. MATERIALS • Jumbo Craft sticks, 6 per snowflake • Craft sticks, 12 per snowflake • Mini craft sticks, 6 per snowflake … Read More

Old Fashioned Winter House

Old buildings are the stuff of storytelling, so this Old Fashioned Winter House is a perfect for young students this time of year. This painting was made by a kinder student named Ruby awhile back. I love how colorful her home is. Thanks Ruby for letting me share it! MATERIALS • Watercolor paper • Sharpie, black, … Read More

Miniature Snowman

Here’s a Miniature Snowman project that I did after school with a matchbox class awhile back. There’s just something irresistible about miniature art. I think the parents were just as charmed with these as the kids were. • Matchbox Tutorial PDF Template and directions MATERIALS • White card stock paper • Glue stick • Sharpie, ultra … Read More

Watercolor Birch Trees

This Watercolor Birch Tree project uses tape to block off the tree shapes, and watercolor paint and salt to make the textured midnight sky. MATERIALS • Watercolor paper • Masking tape • Scissors • Watercolor paint, blue • Table salt • Acrylic paint DIRECTIONS 1. Tape a border around the edge of a square of watercolor … Read More

Draw a Cardinal

I’ve been on the lookout for a new way to draw a cardinal. This one, inspired by a stock art illustration is built on some very simple shapes that I think young children can draw. • View and download Cardinal Tutorial   MATERIALS • Multimedia Paper • Sharpie marker, black • Oil Pastels   DIRECTIONS 1. … Read More

Snowflake Painting

Here’s a simple snowflake painting project that was inspired by an illustration on a stock art website. I’ve found some amazing ideas at and, and, just to name a couple. Search vector illustrations for a topic and you can find literally thousands of drawing ideas. MATERIALS • Watercolor Paper, 9″ x 9″ (recommended … Read More

Quilling Snowflakes with Bread Ties

Quilling is an art form that involves rolling, and gluing strips of paper together to create decorative designs. If you use bread ties instead, the curl stays and thus easier to glue too. MATERIALS • Craft sticks, regular size • Craft glue • Bread ties, white • Pencil • Magnetic strips (optional) DIRECTIONS 1. Students make … Read More

Watercolor Resist Snowflake Art

This watercolor resist snowflake art is easy to create with laser-cut wood decorations that are found at craft stores. They make perfect crayon rubbing material because they are so decorative, yet perfectly flat. SUPPLIES • Multimedia Paper • Wooden Laser Cut Snowflakes • Chipboard, about 8″ x 10″ sheet for each snowflake • Craft glue • … Read More

Model Magic Gingerbread Cookies

These Model Magic Gingerbread Cookies are so easy to make, thanks to the perfect gingerbread Model Magic color, also known as “Terra Cotta”. If you have cookie cutters to use, that would make things easy. But if not, forming your own head, arms and legs will make for a cookie with lots of personality. MATERIALS • … Read More

Giant Nutcracker Drawings

     My art room is filled with giant Nutcracker drawings right now, waiting to be lined up in our auditorium for our upcoming holiday show. I took a que from my Harvest festival decorations on butcher paper sketched one master nutcracker and have been tracing him in pencil for days. The kids love to trace and … Read More

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