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

Dylan’s White House

A young fourth grader named Dylan shared his finished White House drawing with me today. Doesn’t the neatness and precision take your breath away? I think he should just go on a fast track to architect school, but that’s just me. Meanwhile, for those that are interested, it was made with colored pencils on my home … Read More

Shapes into Forms

Students used a hexagon template to start their drawings of cubes. Adding a in and out string made the drawing even more dimensional. 1. Use a hexagon punch from a craft store to create templates for students. They fill their page with rotating hexagons, and then add the needed lines inside. 2. String shapes are added, … Read More

Jamie’s Giacometti Drawing

Here’s one of my favorite Giacometti Project drawings by a young 3rd grader named Jamie. While most other students opted for one or two color backgrounds, she colored hers in a crazy-quilt kind of style. I think it’s just perfect. For those that are interested, these drawings were made with Elmer’s glue on black card stock, … Read More

Mission Drawings on Brown Paper

posted in: Drawing, Pencil crayon | 0

I’d like to share this sample of student work from a fourth grade class today. I think the drawing guides from my California Mission Book and the brown graph paper are a powerful combination that bring out the best in what students are able to do each year. They never fail to amaze me! For those … Read More

Draw Amsterdam Buildings

My students have drawn lots of traditional American style homes, so now I’d like them to try something different. Specifically, Amsterdam style buildings. They have very different profiles and details, not to mention water canal surroundings. Here’s a tutorial that includes many of these details, without getting too intricate. • View and download Amsterdam Building tutorial

Draw the US Capitol

The United States Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive buildings in the nation. It has housed the meeting chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate for two centuries. I’ve made a tutorial that includes graph paper to help students align all of its beautiful features. • View and download US Capitol Building Tutorial … Read More

MLK Art from Gaithersbury, MA

I thought I’d share this really nice email I recently received. I love how creative the students got with a simple posterized print of Martin Luther King, Jr., and thought others might find it inspiring too. I run a nonprofit called Color A Heart and we teach free art lessons to low-income kids along with other … Read More

LOVE Lines

Students can practice using a ruler with this drawing project, and do some very basic measuring, which is a 2nd grade Common Core Standard. 1. Students start with a square piece of drawing paper. (I recommend one about 6″.) They measure and mark the center of each side and draw lines connecting them to make the … Read More

Boxed Butterfly

Art can cross with science in this boxed butterfly project. 1. Fold an origami box lid that is about 4″ in diameter. 2. Draw a folded butterfly to fit in the box. Heavy cardstock paper will work best. 3. Cut butterfly out and color with markers. 4. Glue a small piece of foam core in the … Read More

Purple Headed Robots

posted in: Kindergarten, Painting | 0

It was time for a color mixing lesson for the pre-K kids today, so at the teacher’s request, we made it very simple and geometric. Templates were used for the body and head, but the rest was free drawn. 1. Students traced a 7″ square box that had a heart cut out (thanks to a standard … Read More

Color Study, Paul Klee Style

Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) was an modern art master who fell in love with color after a visit to Tunisia. I love his “Ancient Harmony” painting that twinkles with light and dark patches of color. Students can follow his idea for a fun color study by choosing two groups (light/dark, warm/cool colors) and have one … Read More

Drawing Cartoon Faces

posted in: Cartoon Drawing | 0

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a cartoon face tutorial that I made up awhile back, and seemed to work well for my students. I wanted to encourage them to start their faces with something other than an oval, but they needed some inspiration to do so. • View and download Cartoon Heads Tutorial

Recycled Coffee Cups for Paint

I wouldn’t guarantee that these are “spill proof” cups, but they will beat a totally open cup any day. I needed to distinguish between some similar watercolor paints today, and these washed out coffee cups with holes cut in the lids helped to keep the blue-green from getting confused with the plastic-cupped blue. One more reason … Read More

Watercolor, Salt and Snowflakes

posted in: Christmas, Painting | 0

Here is a really simple way to add texture to a watercolor painting. Just sprinkle salt while it’s still wet and let sit for a few minutes. All kinds of cool shapes will develop from the salt absorbing the water. 1. Paint a sheet of watercolor paper generously with several shades of blue liquid watercolor paint. … Read More

Matchbox Art Template

Finally, my promised Matchbook Art Template and instructions. I tried this on several different papers and ended up liking a heavy 110 lb. card stock the best. Here’s how I dealt with a large group of afterschool students, ages kinder through 5th grade. • View and download Matchbox Tutorial PREP: Print and trim a tray, insert … Read More

Glue and Color Sticks

posted in: Drawing | 0

This abstract landscape was drawn with Elmer’s glue on black cardstock paper, and later filled in with Crayola Color Sticks. I promise this is not a paid endorsement, I just wanted to share how well these three supplies work together. I don’t find Elmer’s great for most gluing projects, but it is perfect for drawing because … Read More

Super Scratch Art Mitten

Making scratch art with oil pastels is not new, but have you tried making different color combos on one piece of art? Or tried coloring three layers to see what happens? Many different textures are possible, including this fuzzy-looking mitten that was first colored yellow, then purple, then scratched with a stylus, then colored again with … Read More

Patterned Mitten

I often see students use oil pastels like crayons, as in lightly coloring and shading with them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t let pastels show their “true colors” (sorry!) which come about with pressure and density. Here’s a very simple winter-theme drawing that has lots of pattern possibilities. Older students should be able to draw their own, but … Read More

Sticker Snowman Card

Office stickers make these snowmen a breeze to put together, so students can concentrate on creating a short story. And with just a few adjustments to the placement of the eyes, nose and buttons, all kinds of body positions are possible. PREP: Cut lots of 2.25″ x 4.25″ rectangles (with a paper cutter) from multicolored card … Read More

Tissue Paper Leaves

Fall leaves are made of lots of fun curvy shapes, so I had my art journal students trace them today to make a tissue paper collage of maple, white oak, elm and maple leaves. 1. Download my leaf line art and print a page for each student. Pass out lots of rectangles of tissue paper that … Read More

Abstract Winter Watercolor Trees

posted in: Painting, Winter | 0

If students concentrate on making a very simple geometric drawing, they can just focus on seeing how precise their painting can be. 1. Have students make tall, skinny triangle templates, or for kinders or 1st graders, make them ahead of time. About three triangles are traced in the middle of the paper. 2. Students to draw … Read More

Lettering on Acetate

My afterschool students practiced their lettering with acetate tracings, mounted to photo backgrounds.   1. I printed out this quote “Every Child is an Artist’ using Fink Gothic typeface, graying the lines to make the tracing more readable. Students placed a sheet of acetate over it and traced the letters with a black permanent marker. 2. Sharpie … Read More

How to Doodle Your Name

posted in: Drawing | 0

Here’s a few simple steps to follow to make anyone’s name look super hip and hand drawn. It works great for any kind of heading you may need or want to have that popular doodle look. • View and download my Doodle Name Tutorial

Matchbox House

I started a Matchbox Art class today, after getting inspired by adorable little boxes I found on Pinterest. I ended up folding the little matchbox trays myself, which measured 2.25″ x 3.25″ x .75″ deep. Students colored the outside wrap while it was still flat, and then colored the insert. Everything was folded and taped and … Read More

Fundraiser Painting for Little Artists

posted in: Kindergarten, Painting | 0

I tried one more watercolor project with my T-K class this week, one that I wanted to be successful with as many students as possible for our school’s art fundraiser. Many are still just learning their alphabet, so I made a page with the letters and grid printed very lightly so that they could just concentrate … Read More

Sara’s Cartoon Faces

I had so much fun watching all these faces come to life in my Cartoon Class this afternoon. I saw many students, from kinder through 5th grade, make drawings full of character and charm. Every week I’m loving more and more how the funky cartoon distortions of things are a great match for children just learning … Read More

Glowing Cat Eyes

These glowing cat eyes are made from blending a few layers of pencil crayons. White on the bottom, then yellow, and for those interested in more detail, a bit of brown. Please note though, that the average pencil crayon and black construction paper won’t deliver these results. The projects works best on black art paper with … Read More

George Washington, Pop Art Style

You can give Mr. Washington a contemporary look by only using three colors on my downloadable coloring page. Just follow the directions below. 1. View and download Washington Coloring Page. 2. Use a black marker to fill in the darkest gray area. 3. Use two other similar colors (dark blue / light blue, or dark green … Read More

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