Ceramic Snowman

Sometimes the simplest of projects can turn out to be anything but. My students loved making these snowman, but they did turn out to be a challenge in making clay pieces connect to each other. Whether it was a nose or hat or head, we all learned a lot about what it takes to keep clay … Read More

Nutcracker: Oil Pastel on Black Paper

This is a breakdown of my Nutcracker drawing project, this time using oil pastels on black construction paper. My large construction paper comes in 18″ x 24″ size, so I cut long narrow panels of 8″ x 24″ for each student. Each also got a cardboard template measuring 7″ x 4″. 1. Following the steps shown … Read More

Watercolor Gingerbread Cookie

My new watercolor project, Gingerbread Cookie Boy (or Girl, of course).  Kinders can concentrate on just drawing a large, symmetrical shape while 1st and 2nd graders can try adding a shadow to give their cookie more dimension. 1. I drew a large, symmetrical cookie shape on a letter size piece of watercolor paper. The outline was … Read More

Happy Thanksgiving!

These lovely turkeys were shared with me awhile back, but they are still some of my favorite. Volunteer art docent Tricia from Brentwood, CA had her 4th grade students first draw them on 12×18 white paper with Sharpies. They added oil pastel accents and finished with water color from edge to edge. Love the color!

Kandinsky Watercolor Painting

This project worked really well with my last afterschool watercolor class. And that was with over 40 kids (kinder through 5th) in one not-so-large art room! I’ll add my tips on how to paint with these conditions below. PREP: I pre-printed the grid lines on letter-size watercolor paper using my file posted HERE. About 80 spillproof … Read More

Fall Tree with Blowing Leaves

The basic concept behind perspective is learning that the further away objects are, the smaller they appear. This painting idea comes from one of the Usborne art books, all of which I am very fond of. 1. Students start by painting an off-center tree, with trunks and branches. A thick trunk with thinner branches work best. … Read More

Layered Pastel Leaves

You can show students how to overlap leaves and blend colors with oil pastels, and have very lovely picture as the result. 1. I tend to think of the maple leaf as the classic fall shape, and made templates out of chip board with the stem left off. Give each student one leaf and ask them … Read More

Maple Leaf Drawing

Today I combined two past projects – how to draw a maple leaf and making a batik-looking watercolor and crayon drawing. The key is to use cheap copy paper. Strange as it sounds, good drawing paper doesn’t work nearly as well. 1.  I showed students how to draw a leaf, as shown in my Maple Leaf … Read More

Funky Witch Feet

Another idea that originated from stock Halloween illustrations. I think it offers some colorful seasonal fun, and some good symmetrical drawing practice too with those curvy, funky boots. 1. Students start drawing the boots in very simple steps. For instance, two centered lines for the backs of the boots, then the right and left heel, then … Read More

Tree Silhouette

I was inspired for this project by a stock art illustration. I really like how it turned out as it lets students focus on how detailed tree shapes can be. And it makes a good Halloween project too. 1. Give the students a 9″ x 12″ piece of watercolor paper, and some yellow and blue watercolor … Read More

Draw a Haunted House

I love all the creative possibilities of Halloween. Students can practice their architectural drawing while changing just a few elements to make their houses spooky. 1. You could begin with a discussion of what so-called haunted houses have in common: they are usually old, have lots of add-ons, broken windows, and a generally dark palate. 2. … Read More

Ceramic Pumpkins

This project comes from Ellen at Clayworks Studio. It’s basically making two pinch pots and blending them together. My kids grade 3-5 loved making these and the success rate was very high. 1. Give each student a piece of clay about the size of a small apple. Instruct them to remove a small piece for the … Read More

Plastic Bag Mache Pumpkin

This pumpkin is made from about 40 plastic grocery bags, some Saran wrap, 3 rubber bands, newspaper, paper towel and mache, topped off with a beautiful new orange glitter paint I found at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I’m so excited to have found this beautiful way to recycle plastic grocery bags. Plastic Bag Pumpkin Tutorial 1. Collect about … Read More

Draw a Hand Tree

I saw this idea on Artsonia.com, and love showing kids how lines can give dimension to their art. 1. The students first trace their hand on a piece of paper. When finished, they should make the tops of their fingers very pointy. 2. Vertical lines are drawn as shown. The more irregular they are, the better. … Read More

Vegetable Garden Watercolor Painting

I found this idea for painting vegetables over at Artsonia.com. If anyone would like to take credit for creating it, please let me know. I’ve painted plant roots before, but never colorful vegetables – it’s a great idea. 1. On watercolor paper, students draw in pencil a horizontal line across the middle of the page. They … Read More

Color Pattern Leaves

This is a good exercise for developing small motor skills. 1. Student traced at least two of their favorite leaf templates on a tabloid sheet of paper. Veins were added to divide the leaf up into large sections. 2. All their lines were traced with a black marker. Within each leaf shape, students drew a pattern … Read More

Kinder Pattern Project

posted in: Kindergarten, Markers | 0

I’m guessing that as an art teacher I’m not the first to overestimate the abilities of my students. I’m never more aware of this than when new kinders come to my room at the beginning of a school year. Some are semi-prepared from preschool, but some are not. So as much as I want to dig … Read More

Pin Flowers

This project came from an Arts and Activities magazine, and I loved how well it worked with kinders. 1. The students are to draw in pencil near the outside edge of the paper a rounded box (kind of like a TV screen). A zig-zag grass line follows near the bottom of the paper. For the flowers, … Read More

Back to School Decorated Pencils

Here’s one quick way for your kids to get creative and personalize their back-to-school pencils. I just pulled out my handy-dandy stash of Sharpies and tried a few different looks: animal skin, flowers and stripes. I’m sure kids could think of many more. Fish scales? Reptile skin?… 1. You may have read on my “Favorite Supplies” … Read More

Cut and Tear Cityscape Collage

This comes from “The Usborne Book of Art Skills” which has a ton of great art ideas. 1. Begin with a description of neutral colors, which are the only ones used in this collage. Give the studentsa 9″ x 12″ sheet of white paper and several of neutral construction paper (black, brown, tan, gray, etc.) I … Read More

Doodle Lettering

There are some really cool new paper-like products out these days. I found YUPO at DickBlick.com, which looks like vellum but feels like plastic. It’s great to paint on or trace with markers. 1. Students draw large stick letters for their name on copy paper, and then trace around those lines to make block letters. The … Read More

Back To School Self Portraits

I’d been exploring ideas for a back-to-school project combining art with story telling much like a popular art journal technique, in larger scale. This project which combines a self portrait with a composition about the students summer experience has become popular with the kids and their teachers. • View and download Body Template 1. Students draw … Read More

“My Hand” Collage

I’m experimenting with different ways for students to start the school year off with an expressive project. Aside from drawing their faces, tracing their hands and making a collage / painting can make some very colorful and individualistic art. And most classroom teachers love having colorful art right away to fill their classroom walls. 1. Using … Read More

Toucan Painting

When young students are just learning how to paint, large size paper really helps allow for more freedom of movement. 1. Starting with approx. 18″ x 24″ drawing paper, students draw the bird body, beak and legs. A branch is added below 2. All of the drawing lines are traced with a thick black permanent marker. … Read More

Paper Mache Bowl

Paper-mache projects can work really well with any upcoming Earth Day themes. My favorite recipe for the mache is included below. 1. Tape a balloon to a heavy bowl so that is doesn’t move. Apply strips of newspaper covered in mache in both directions. Apply 2 – 3 layers. Allow to dry for several days. 2. … Read More

Fruity People Collage

One CA Visual Art Standard centers around how to create feelings with one’s own artwork. This book “How Are You Peeling?” is full of some very creative photographs of fruit and vegetables, all made to reflect a wide variety of emotions. Reading it first helps to make connections that certain shapes can look a lot like … Read More

CD Case Diorama

Here’s one more recycle project – using a CD case, cardboard boxes, and dried beans. 1. Collect clean cardboard packages, such as those used for cereal, crackers, pencils and markers. Open them up and cut out simple vehicle shapes, along with mountains, trees and sun. 2. Glue a small amount of dried beans to the inside … Read More

Rainbow Painting

This project offers students a chance to practice either wet-on-wet or dry brush watercolor painting. I used both for my sample.  1. I had the students paint without the aid of a pencil outline. They began by painting the grass across the bottom of the sheet. 2. Students who preferred the wet-on-wet rainbow painted the red arc, then orange, yellow, green, blue and … Read More

Watercolor Sheep

I love almost anything that children paint with watercolor. This is a simple watercolor resist, done with sheep imagined on a hillside. 1. The students are to draw, as lightly as they can, three to five ovals (the sheep bodies) in pencil on watercolor paper. 2. A white crayon is used to color heavily inside all … Read More

Overlapping Matisse Shapes

I combined an overlapping lesson with Matisse-like shapes to make a colorful drawing exercise. You could begin by talking about how Matisse didn’t start painting until he was about 20 years old, but then would paint morning, noon and night for pretty much the rest of his life. He eventually became a key figure in the … Read More

La Boca House Collage

La Boca is a neighborhood, or barrio of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires and is a popular destination because of its colorful houses. Looking at lots of photos of these amazing buildings is a good way to start this project. 1. I discovered these really cool Fiskar paper crimpers at JoAnn Fabrics, and brought several to … Read More

Laurel Burch Cat Heads

This cat project was inspired by a talented artist named Laurel Burch, who sadly passed away recently. She had a wonderful style of drawing abstract cats with large eyes that met in the middle. 1. Ask students to make three dots (in pencil) across the center of a paper. The 3 dots are connected to make … Read More

Custom Light Switch Plates

I saw this project in an Arts and Activities magazine. When your fridge and walls are already filled with your child’s art, have them paint your switch plates! 1. Your local hardware or home improvement store carries plastic switch plates for every need and they’re quite inexpensive. Provide the students with lots of acrylic paint and … Read More

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