Circle Pastel Sun

If I’ve learned one thing about oil pastels, it’s that the best results come from working with very simple shapes. They also allow for more experimenting with layering, which most students tend to overlook. And when that happens, all the lovely possibilities of overlapping colors are lost.

New Strathmore Cover Art

I had a chance to collaborate recently with the marketing department at Strathmore Paper, and really enjoyed developing this cover artwork for a new product that will be released in the fall. It’s a wonderfully thick, crisp black pad of paper that is perfect for dried glue and pastel projects. No more curly grayish construction paper, … Read More

Delaunay Circles

Sonia Delaunay was a ground-breaking female artist who made some wonderful abstract paintings known for their rhythm and color. My goal was to have the students learn that if they used repeating shapes and colors in their art, they could create a very rhythmic picture too. Materials: • Transparent circle stencils, Laurie Speltz, The Creative Coach, who … Read More

Draw an Abstract Self Portrait

Here is an adaptation of my popular Abstract Face project for older students. It still has simple features that fill the face, but allows for some personalization with hair and shoulders, etc. I think it might make a good early self portrait project for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as it bypasses all the fussy eye … Read More

Abstract Face Tutorial

Many children have a natural tendency to draw small, so I like to direct them in simple shapes that must touch the sides of the paper. I’ve used this drawing with tempera paint, but thought I’d also post a watercolor version that includes colorful crayon lines and patterns. • View and download Abstract Face Tutorial   … Read More

NEW! Mini Master Murals 2

This Mini Mural Set consists of three smaller versions of these popular murals: “Sunflowers” by Van Gogh, “Red Room” by Matisse, and “Tree of LIfe” by Klimt. FINISHED DIMENSIONS: • Sunflowers: 23″ x 31″ • Red Room: 31″ x 24″ • Tree of Life: 30″ x 30″ To purchase and download for just $5, visit My … Read More

Camouflaged Hands

Here’s an idea I tried awhile back when students were learning about camouflage. I loved that they had a chance to be fully immersed in their art, messy hands and all. PREP: Tape a sheet of white paper to a larger piece of corrugated cardboard. 1. Students choose one tempera color and cover their entire paper. … Read More

Mona Lisa Coffee Filter Portrait

It’s possible to make really brilliantly colored paintings without expensive watercolor paper. Start with liquid watercolor paints, and paint on coffee filters, which hold the color amazingly well. 1. Print out one Mona Lisa template for every student. Iron 9″ coffee filters to make them flat. Tape one to the front of each face. Trace and … Read More

NEW! Draw More Animals 2 eBook

Just posted to My PDF Shop, my latest How to Draw ebook. In it you’ll find diagrams on how to draw an Armadillo, Baby Chick, Bald Eagle, Bird on Cat, Bunnies, Big and Little, Chickadee Bird, Dolphin, Easter Bunny, Elephant, Fox Sideways, Giraffe Face, Goose, Hippo, Horse, Cartoon, Kangaroo, Koala, Lab Puppy, Lion, Pig, Polar Bear, … Read More

Favorite Sharpie Marker Art Projects

Today’s kids are fortunate to have SO many choices when it comes to art supplies. One that I would not do without are Sharpie markers, because they make such vivid colors on so many different things, like paper, canvas, magazines, etc. Here are a collection of six of my favorites, and a good reason to look … Read More

How to Draw a Dandelion

Practice your fine marker skills with this how to draw a dandelion project. Careful drawing and tracing will make a very pretty and delicate looking flower. Happy summer drawing everyone! PREP • View and download Dandelion PDF Tutorial MATERIALS • Drawing paper • Sharpie marker, ultra fine tip DIRECTIONS 1. Draw center grid lines on paper, … Read More

How to Draw the Statue of Liberty

I created this How to Draw the Statue of Liberty tutorial for kinders, who study US symbols in the spring of each year. Lady Liberty’s body and clothes would be pretty complex for them to draw (actually for anyone to draw), but her face and crown are pretty manageable if you just break them down into … Read More

NEW Patterned Hands Project

If your students enjoyed my Warm Hands project, then they probably will like this one too. My pdf file includes the lined background paper for both the horizontal and vertical versions, and lots sample patterns so they can break away from the usual hearts, stars, etc. They also have a choice in coloring positive or negative … Read More

More Canvas Journals

These journals are turning into one of my favorite projects. I’m loving how freely the kids paint when given one long piece of canvas instead of designing the front and back separately. CLASS ONE: Cut unstretched canvas into 8″ x 20″ rectangles. Students paint the primed side with one acrylic color, and then add patterns on … Read More

Dutch Windmills

This amazing idea comes from Dream, Draw, Create. An uncoated paper plate takes the watercolor really well, and the border makes for an instant frame. My sample is drawn in pencil, traced with a marker, and then painted with watercolors. With all the multicultural projects goring on at my school right now, I may find more … Read More

Foil and Sharpie Suns

If you’re looking for something different, but don’t want extra prep work, try having students drawing on aluminum foil sheets that are glued (with a glue stick) to a paper plate. The circle shape is built in, and the Sharpie color on foil never ceases to amaze. Especially when rainbows are involved, like Talia’s. Materials: • … Read More

Mother’s Day Tissue Hearts

Here’s my solution this year for student’s Mother Day gift. It’s revisiting an old tissue paper technique that’s been around forever, and can really look nice if done well. PREP: I used our school’s die cut to make a heart for each student. I actually switched to heavy watercolor paper when my chipboard ran out. Also … Read More

Geometric Bumblebees

I tried this little formula for a bumblebee collage with my kinders last year, and they did a great job. It’s also fun to replicate in many sizes for a little perspective fun. 1. Trace yellow cardstock circles of varying sizes. Cut out and cut in half. 2. Cut black and white strips of paper and … Read More

Earth Day Collage

Magazine collages can be striking works of art, but I find that when students work on their own, they tend not to finish. If you approach them as group projects though, a lot of progress can be made in a short amount of time. This was created by 35 fourth graders in about 45 minutes. PREP: … Read More

Schulten Inspired Painting

Ton Schulton is a Dutch landscape artist, known for his amazing color work. I wish I knew who first thought of this great approach for having students paint in his style. It’s basically working backwards, as in painting a wavy grid first and then designing buildings on top. 1. Students lightly draw about 3 wavy horizontal … Read More

Fox on Newspaper

Sometimes I find great art ideas that just aren’t easy to replicate for 25 or more students. That’s when Photoshop saves the day. This project looks like students recycled newspaper for the background of a painting, but actually one sheet was scanned and printed for all of them. No need to make your own, just download … Read More

Sharpie Marker Alphabet

Here’s my 2nd grader’s group project for our school’s silent auction. Each student was assigned a letter and made it as fancy and colorful as could be. I decoupaged it to a canvas board, and later outlined the letters with a metallic marker. Materials: • Canvas board • Dry wax paper • White glue • Sharpie … Read More

Rubber Ducky

Here’s another project born from scouring stock art illustrations. Turns out that a traced CD makes the perfect beginning to this oversized duck. 1. Trace a CD in the center of a sheet of watercolor paper. Finish with drawing the beak and body as shown. 2. Trace the lines with a permanent marker. 3. Paint as … Read More

Rainbow Zebra

Here’s one idea I use when looking for new art project ideas – searching stock art sites. This comes from gettyimages.com, after searching for “cute animal illustrations”. This rainbow zebra was lots of fun for my afterschool painting class today, because of course everyone had a different idea of what a rainbow zebra would look like. … Read More

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