Tinted and Shaded Circles

Once students know how to mix basic colors, they can learn how to tint (add white), and shade (add black) to a color. 1. Each student gets a paper plate with white and black tempera, a brush, water, and the circled paper. I pre-printed circles on 9″ x 12″ paper. 2. Students chose just one other … Read More

Dino Skeleton Plaster Casts

I believe that kinders in CA are learning about dinosaurs right about now. This project is a great combination of art and science. PREP for each student: • Plastic dinosaurs skeletons from Oriental Trading Company • 5″ square of cardboard • 11″ x 2″ strip of heavy weight white paper • stapler • 2.5″ ball of … Read More

Tinted Ugly Bunny

One of the arts standards for elementary students is learning how to tint colors by adding white. My students had fun making bunnies that didn’t have to look perfect and symmetrical.   CLASS ONE: 1. On a large (12″ x 19″) sheet of brown paper, student drew a large “ugly” bunny. The definition of ugly in … Read More

How to Draw a House

I had great success with this project for kinders recently. Several even came back later saying they went home to draw more houses. Love it when that happens. 1. I printed out 1/4″ graph paper on 17″ x 11″ paper to help the students draw straight lines. Using just plain white paper would probably be fine … Read More

How to Draw a Cow

Here is a pretty simple way to draw a cow, starting with just some very familiar shapes. This one was done with crayon and watercolor, but white tempera paint on blue paper would look great too. •View and download How to Draw a Cow

Homemade St. Patrick’s Day Card

posted in: Painting | 0

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve made a tutorial of my Shamrock project. If you can draw lines and hearts, then you can make this beautiful painting in honor of the holiday. Just save a few dollars for a gold paint marker because they really add a special touch.  

Ceramic Fish

This fish could be made with many different types of clay. I am partial to ceramics and the layering of color, for obvious reasons, I think. 1. The students will need a stylus or wooden tool, a cup of water, and a lump of clay about the size of their fist. To begin, they should just … Read More

Russian Buildings

Architecture drawing is a really fun area to explore with children. I’ve seen many students that have little or no interest in drawing people make the most amazing drawings of buildings. 1. I printed 1/4″ graph lines on large format 11″ x 17″ paper, but you could go to Free Online Graph Paper and print your … Read More

Romare Bearden-Style Collage

Many art historians consider Romare Bearden to be one of America’s most important and inventive artists. Bearden loved collage, combining painting, magazine clippings, old paper and fabric together like a jigsaw puzzle. This project gives a nod to Bearden’s love of photos and texture, but also offers a kinder / 1st grade version of my “Collage … Read More

Dr. Suess Signs

Our school has a Dr. Suess celebration each year, and with our modular classroom set up in California, we have a lot of long outdoor halls without much signage. I had students make up their own to add color and creativity to our school. 1. I started with large sheets of white foam core, and chopped … Read More

Symmetrical Valentine Birds

I showed students how to create texture in their watercolor paintings, just by sprinkling a little salt while the paint was still wet. The salt absorbs the water and leaves interesting patterns behind. 1. Start by drawing the heart in the upper center of the paper. Students drew the birds in steps to make them the … Read More

Hearts & Trees

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright told his students, “Limits are an artist’s best friend.” That’s because they force us to find answers we might not otherwise have discovered. 1. Students are to draw a picture with only one tree, one simple hill, and hearts that may be any size, and any place on the picture. No sun, … Read More

Bernard Hoyes-Inspired Dancing Lady

Jamaican-born artist Bernard Hoyes is a Caribbean national who has served his country well. Now residing in California, Hoyes is among the most widely collected and exhibited of contemporary artists. Through his art, many have been able to connect with Jamaica’s colorful traditions and culture. 1. Past experience has proven that students almost always draw images … Read More

Faith Ringgold Flag Quilt

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

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

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