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.

Self Portraits on Display

Here’s my canvas project from last year, finally on display at the local library in Studio City, CA. Each 18″ x 36″ canvas has self portraits from an entire grade level, representing kinder through 5th grade. It’s funny that it started off as a project with another destination in mind, but now seems custom made for … Read More

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

Mission Paper Giveaway Contest

posted in: Drawing, Uncategorized | 0

For all the CA Mission Drawing teachers out there, here’s a chance to win some of the brown paper that I make myself for my students. It’s 12″ x 18″ Tru-Ray Pacon paper that is run through my Epson printer to add a light grid. It works wonders for aiding with architectural details, and the white … Read More

Delaunay Circles

Sonia Delaunay was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964. My goal was to have students imitate her use of repeating shapes and colors so they could see the rhythm that is created. 1. Using circle templates, or misc. round shapes, students first draw two different sized circles … Read More

Draw an Abstract Self-Portrait

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

Draw Lady Liberty’s Portrait

I’ve used this approach for drawing and painting the Statue of Liberty for years, and even kinders amaze me with how well they do. Just make sure to start with the guide lines shown on the tutorial, as they help keep the head in scale to the page. I also pre-mix the liquid turquoise color as … 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

posted in: Markers, Misc crafts | 0

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.

Starting Paper Mache Ice Cream Cones

Time for one last paper mache project after school. Here’s a photo that explains how these ice cream cones are started. The flower pots from Michaels (about $1) offer a great heavy base so tall cones don’t fall over. Aluminum foil sheets are wrapped (about 5 per scoop) to make balls that can be stacked as … 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

Canvas Covered Journals

posted in: Art Journal, Painting | 0

This is basically a piece of painted canvas glued to a pad of 6″ x 9″ paper with chip board covers. I love how the students, especially this kinder Zac, just got experimental with making designs. Wish I could keep this one for myself! CLASS ONE: Students paint an over sized piece of canvas that is … Read More

Easy Bumblebee Collage

Here’s what I would call a kinder and first grade version of my Bumblebee project. I think it’s a good way to introduce children to collage as the colors are fun and bright and the cutting is pretty basic. PREP: I bought most of my colored papers at Staples. The letter size cardstock comes in multipacks, … 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

Cheap Scratcher Sticks

posted in: Oil Pastel | 0

I’ve found some of the best art supplies at my local Smart & Final (restaurant supply) store. If you ever need scratcher sticks, be it for scratch art paper or clay projects, etc., try using wooden skewers instead. You can get 500 for about $8, versus 25 wooden stylus for $4. I’m sure Amazon carries them … Read More

Amazing Seahorses

Kinders in my district learn about “amazing animals” around this time of year.That’s the perfect time for a seahorse watercolor resist project. A reading of the “Mister Seahorse” book by Eric Carle will show all the amazing ways fish take care of their young, and a direct draw seahorse with crayons and watercolor will show off … Read More

Milk Bottle Jars

My Sharpie Art class is working with some tissue paper and milk bottles I found at Michael’s. The tissue is torn and applied to the jars with watery glue. When it is dry they are going to draw some silhouette marker art on the sides. I’m loving all the glass bottles I see at Michael’s these … Read More

Clay Owls, by 1st Graders

posted in: Ceramics | 0

These clay owls were formed around student’s thumbs, which made them easy to hold and safer to fire. This tray was created by first graders, who did a great job. They started by making a ball, and then stuck their thumb in the center. The outside was squeezed to make more of a tubular shape. Marker … 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

Snail Paintings

Kinders at my school are learning about snails, so they learned how to paint one in art class. 1. Students trace an old CD in the middle of a 9″ x 12″ sheet of art paper. They drew a spiral in the middle to make the shell, and then draw a snail body around it. 2. … 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

Sharpies and Fabric

posted in: Fabric crafts, Markers | 0

Here’s a really cool looking project that takes just a few ordinary supplies: cotton knit fabric, permanent markers and rubbing alcohol. The ideal match is with tshirts, but if that is difficult due to time or budgets, a swatch of fabric is just as fun. 1. Place a bowl or container under the fabric and wrap … 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

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