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

Oil Pastel Stars

It’s only taken me about six years to learn that kinder projects at the beginning of the school year need to be SUPER simple. Many are just learning how to control their pencil, let draw specific shapes. 1. I read a book called “Stars” by Mary Lyn Ray that has a nice message. Students wrote their … Read More

Tumbling Crayons

My afterschool watercolor class is filled with a few kinders, a lot of 1st through 3rd graders, and a few 4th and 5th graders. Rather than separate them, because grade is often irrelevant to ability, I choose projects that are adaptable. In my class today, the “beginners” practiced just drawing several separate crayons, the “mid levels” … Read More

Painted Light Switch

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

Ode to Picasso Mural

Pablo Picasso was born in 1881 in Malaga, Spain. He created thousands of paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramics during his lifetime. Many consider Picasso the greatest art genius of the twentieth century. This mural is compilation of some of his most famous paintings. It has 25 pages and measures 36″ x 48″ when complete. To purchase … Read More

How to Shade 3D Objects

I’ll be the first to admit that having real forms with a light source is the ideal way to learn about drawing shadows. But sadly that is not very practical in this day of large classes and little budgets. I believe the next best option is to teach students the logic of what happens when a … Read More

NEW Matisse Mural $5

The Dessert: Harmony in Red is a painting by French artist Henri Matisse and considered by many to be his masterpiece. You can make your own large mural (48″ x 36″) by purchasing my pdf template, coloring in all 24 pages, and taping them back together. Visit my PDF Shop to purchase and download for just … Read More

Klimt Line Art

posted in: artist Klimt, Markers | 0

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter who often used gold leaf to make his elaborately patterned paintings, as in “Adele Bloch-Bauer’s Portrait.” One way for students the appreciate all the patterns is to imitate the look just using lines. MATERIALS • Color print of Adele Head Template • Black Sharpie marker, fine tip 1. Students sketch … Read More

Back to School Pencils

Here’s one quick way for your kids to get creative and personalize their back-to-school pencils. I pulled out my 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?… You may have read on my “Favorite Supplies” list that 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. … Read More

Andy Warhol Portraits

Andy Warhol’s repetitive style is fun to duplicate and the perfect example for students to create their own repetitive drawings using Sharpies on acetate. 1. Review some of Andy Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, etc. Collect several photos of celebrities or of the students themselves and copy in black and white. Let the student’s … Read More

Make a Vegetable Painting, Roots and All

Here’s a vegetable painting idea I found over at Artsonia.com. It’s great way to make a pretty painting and learn about root systems as well. If you can afford it, real watercolor paper will make all the paint texture look it’s best. MATERIALS • Watercolor paper • Crayons • Liquid Watercolor paint DIRECTIONS 1. On watercolor … Read More

Pattern Cat

This drawing was inspired by artist Heather Galler. I simplified some of her details, but kept the basic brilliant idea of a cat filled with patterns for my next afterschool drawing class. 1. My favorite combo is using Sharpies and BIC markers on coated white paper. I bought some wholesale at Kelly Paper for about $14 … Read More

Maud Lewis Cat Painting

Renowned Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970) painted colorful scenes of rural Nova Scotia using random art supplies and painful hands as a result of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.   1. Wet a 12″ x 9″ piece of watercolor paper, and paint the background bright yellow. Let dry. Using watercolor pencils (like Prismacolor), draw … Read More

Maasai Portrait

The Maasai are a group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and Tanzania. They are among the best known of African ethnic groups, due to their very colorful customs. One way to simplify (but still celebrate) their look is to draw a solid profile and add your own ornamental headdress. 1. Fold a paper to make … Read More

How to Draw a Klee Portrait

Here’s another project that I believe works well with a kindergarten Common Core Math Standard. This continuous line drawing is made by following the “up” and “down” and “over” directions shown on my diagram page. The fact that the finished art will look a lot like a famous Paul Klee painting means a little art history … Read More

Drawing Frida Kahlo

A few key features will help you learn how to draw artist Frida Kahlo like a pro. She was a Mexican self-portrait artist and feminist icon who was married to Diego Rivera. Draw her hair up, with flowers and classic heavy eyebrows, and there’s not much mistaking whose portrait you are drawing. • View and download … Read More

How to Make a Round Braid

posted in: Haiti, Weaving | 3

I was looking for fun yarn projects to take to Haiti next month, and happily found this technique to make a rounded braid. It’s actually pretty simple to make, you may just have to help young ones get started. 1. Trace any cup to make a circle about 3.5″ wide. A little larger or smaller will … Read More

Matisse Patterned Collage

Henri Matisse, an important French artist, loved all kinds of patterns. Not only the decorative forms he created, but also reproductions of tapestries, embroideries, silks and more. A recent donation of leftover wallpaper inspired this project. 1. Give each student a 12″ square of chip board for mounting. Pass out a variety of wallpapers cut in … Read More

CD Mandala Art Project

This mandala art project is an abstract design that uses a circular form. Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “circle”. Mandalas generally have one center point from which radiate an assortment of shapes and designs. MATERIALS • Old CD • Spray paint, white • White glue • Ruler • Sharpie markers, assorted colors, fine tip … Read More

Tissue Paper Flag from Canada

Can you believe this mural is made out of craft tissue paper? Thanks so much to Krista Dillon and her students who experimented with my Canadian Flag Mural and came up with this beautiful piece!  The technique is one that I haven’t used since elementary school. It’s made up of lots of craft tissue paper cut into 2″ squares, … Read More

Ancient Maps

I’ve found another use for my supply of dry wax paper, which is my staple for canvas portrait art. The paper is perfect for tracing, painting and crumbling, as in making “old” maps. 1. A class was studying ancient Greece, so I googled for a line drawing of a map and found THIS. I printed it … Read More

Faith Ringgold Flag Collage

Faith Ringgold, an African-American artist, is best known for her large story quilts. In 1985 she made a piece titled “Flag Story Quilt” which inspired this collage. 1. To help cut swatches, I gave the students a template to follow, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock. I passed out several old magazines to have them cut out swatches of red, and … Read More

Art Trading Cards with Texture

You can buy texture rubbing plates, but my favorite alternative is using plastic embroidery mesh panels that are made for cross stitching. If you buy them large and cut them up, they are pretty cheap. Give students white cards that measure 2.5″ x 3.5″. Challenge is to think of things that come with a grid-like texture. … Read More

Sailboat on a Lake

This sailboat painting gives students a chance to add interest with elements such as the reflection of the sails and blue sky and the tonal greens across the shoreline forest. 1. Draw the boat and sails. Add a horizon line. Make some zig-zag lines for two layers of trees. 2. Trace all the lines with a black permanent marker. 3. Use a white … Read More

How to Draw Grumpy Cat

You can learn how to draw Grumpy cat with my step-by-step tutorial. Luckily, he has some pretty distinctive features, like the dark rings around his eyes and his famous frowning mouth. • View and download New Grumpy Cat Tutorial MATERIALS • Color print of Grumpy Cat Tutorial • Drawing paper • Sharpie marker, fine tip • … Read More

Classroom Doodle Mural

posted in: Markers | 0

My friend Simona shared her daughter’s classroom Earth Day mural with me last year. I think it’s spectacular! I thought it might inspire a few more artists before Tuesday’s Earth Day festivities. My Earth Day Doodle Mural comes in two sizes, one perfect for doors, and can be found at my PDF Shop.

Silent Auction Canvas Art

posted in: Fundraising, Markers | 0

If it’s April then my school’s silent auction can’t be far away. After years of trying different approaches, this art is what I will stay with next year. What’s new is finding value packs of stretched canvas at Aaron Bros and Michaels. A 16″ x 20″ pack of 5 costs just $25. So for $5 plus … Read More

Easter Card

Here’s an idea for a pretty Easter Card. Grid formats are fun to play with so feel free to make your own variation of this drawing. 1. I started by folding a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ watercolor paper in half. To make a quick grid without a lot of measuring, give each student a 1″ … Read More

In Your Face Cow Drawing

This idea comes from a funny painting I found in a home decor catalog. I love how it exaggerates the proportions of the cow. 1. I started with a 11″ x 14″ drawing paper, and folded it in half four times to get a grid of guidelines like those shown on my diagram. Have the students … Read More

Starry Night Skyline

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting has inspired many an art project, and this is just one more. 1. Students to make several large yellow oil pastel circles of various sizes on a sheet of watercolor paper. Next they draw with a blue oil pastel lots of curvy lines that go around all the yellow circles. … Read More

Marker on Sticks Portrait

posted in: Markers | 1

I made this childhood portrait of my sister awhile back, using Sharpie markers on dry wax paper, adhered to popsicle sticks with watery glue. I’m really posting it now though as an excuse to wish her a happy birthday today. She can craft, cook, garden, wallpaper, build and farm like nobodies business, so my hat goes … Read More

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