Animal Head ATCs

Art Trading Cards are simply mini works of art, the size of baseball cards (2.5″ x 3.5″). I’m bringing them back as an afterschool class as I think students enjoy the small size and fun of filling a plastic collector sleeve each week. To start things off, I found these wonderfully simple animal faces to draw … Read More

Aura Paintings

So here are two first grade paintings from my “Stick Person” project, now renamed (thank you Ms. B!) Aura Paintings. I adore them and am putting this project on my keeper list. To recap, students drew themselves as stick people, traced with a fat, chisel tip Sharpie marker, and then traced the edges with liquid watercolor. … Read More

Stick Drawing Painting

Say yes to stick figures for a day, and let students just concentrate on their fine motor painting skills. Students draw themselves in stick figure form. The drawing is traced with a chisel tip black Sharpie marker for a bold line. Using a small or medium brush, the body is traced with liquid watercolor paint. The … Read More

Miro on Coffee Filters

If you’ve ever painted on a flat coffee filter, you’ll know how fun it is to watch the color seep and spread and grow. That’s what got me started with trying to find a fun new way for pre-K students practice drawing shapes. The fact that it looks a lot like Miro’s artwork is just a … Read More

Kinder Trees

Kinders are learning about trees at my school, so I created this lesson that lets them paint one, roots and all. PREP: Draw and cut a trunk stencil as shown out of chip board, one for each student. Students trace the trunk stencil with a pencil. The ground line and tree top are added. All of … Read More

Easy Kinder Painting

I’ve tried many projects for new kinders over the past ten years, and this is now my favorite. It’s simply drawing stars with oil pastels and then painting a wash of liquid watercolor over them. There are always a few students who are still figuring out how to draw and hold a brush, so they need … Read More

Air Dry Clay Owl

Here’s one thing I know … kids love to work with clay, yet ceramic clay requires resources that are not always available. There is an alternative air dry Crayola Clay, but it takes some practice to match it to the right project. If you let students do their own thing, shapes are often too fragile and … Read More

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

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