Amazing Seahorses

Kinders in my district learn about “amazing animals” around this time of year.That’s the perfect time for a seahorse watercolor resist project. A reading of the “Mister Seahorse” book by Eric Carle will show all the amazing ways fish take care of their young, and a direct draw seahorse with crayons and watercolor will show off … Read More

Schulten Inspired Painting

Ton Schulton is a Dutch landscape artist, known for his amazing color work. I wish I knew who first thought of this great approach for having students paint in his style. It’s basically working backwards, as in painting a wavy grid first and then designing buildings on top. 1. Students lightly draw about 3 wavy horizontal … Read More

Snail Paintings

Kinders at my school are learning about snails, so they learned how to paint one in art class. 1. Students trace an old CD in the middle of a 9″ x 12″ sheet of art paper. They drew a spiral in the middle to make the shell, and then draw a snail body around it. 2. … Read More

Fox on Newspaper

Sometimes I find great art ideas that just aren’t easy to replicate for 25 or more students. That’s when Photoshop saves the day. This project looks like students recycled newspaper for the background of a painting, but actually one sheet was scanned and printed for all of them. No need to make your own, just download … Read More

Rubber Ducky

Here’s another project born from scouring stock art illustrations. Turns out that a traced CD makes the perfect beginning to this oversized duck. 1. Trace a CD in the center of a sheet of watercolor paper. Finish with drawing the beak and body as shown. 2. Trace the lines with a permanent marker. 3. Paint as … Read More

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

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

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

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.   MATERIALS • Watercolor paper (try Strathmore for special occasions) • White card stock paper, for … Read More

Winter Townhouse

Here’s an idea for a painting, a good old-fashioned winter townhouse. Architectural drawing is so much different than drawing faces and other organic shapes. I like to show students that art covers all of these, and you never know which area you might be good at, or more importantly, might enjoy the most. MATERIALS • Watercolor … Read More

Gingerbread House Watercolor Painting

I saved this Gingerbread House watercolor painting project for my 2nd and 3rd graders so they could practice making a house with “form” and not just “shape”. A one-sided house has shape, but drawing two sides is the beginning of adding dimension, and later, perspective. MATERIALS • Multi-media or watercolor paper • Sharpie, black, fine tip … 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

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

White Marker Drawings

I started with one of my favorite poems, “The Wise Owl” for this 2-page spread layout. 1. I really love the look of white on dark journal pages I have been coming across, so I splurged on a white DecoColor marker from Aaron Brothers. To prepare the pages, I painted them with a dark blue watercolor … Read More

Draw a Scarecrow Face

Here’s a fun way to draw a scarecrow, and it’s easy enough for even most kinders. I highly recommend printing or drawing the light center guide lines though, before you start. They really help young ones place their lines. And don’t skip the crayon details as they add some nice bumpy texture to the painting. • … Read More

Fauve Portraits

The primary mission of Fauve artists in the late 1800’s was to work with vibrant and unnatural color. Van Gogh, Gauguin and other artists wanted their art to be new and modern, much like the technology that was developing around them. 1. If your budget permits, give each student a canvas panel to work with – they really … 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

Laurel Burch 3D Cat

You can use this idea to turn any silhouette into a 3-dimensional shape. Just make sure you use a thick paper so your design will stand up nice and straight. 1. I made a two cardboard templates of a silhouette (see picture) and had the students trace each onto the heaviest watercolor paper I could find. … Read More

Draw a Whale

I found this simple whale drawing to work especially well with younger elementary students, as in kinder through 2nd grade. One of my favorite new media combinations is to have students trace their drawing with a Sharpie, add crayon patterns and decorations, and then cover all with liquid watercolor paint. I think you get definition of … Read More

Delaunay Art Journal Page

I love the work of Sonia Delaunay, not only for her colorful abstract circles, but also for her groundbreaking life story. This project is fun and easy for students if you can get transparent circle stencils. I found a really good one at Laurie Speltz, The Creative Coach. She offers a teacher discount so you can … Read More

Kinder Snowman

This is a kinder art + book match that I feel is about as good as you can get. “The Biggest, Best Snowman” by Margery Cuyler not only tells a great story, it involves the actual creation of a snowman. This is helpful to little ones that may have yet to build one of their own. … Read More

How to Draw the Grinch

You can learn how to draw the Grinch’s very mischievous face with my step-by-step tutorial. I’m going to see if I can play my favorite “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” song when my students draw him next week. • View and download the Grinch Tutorial MATERIALS • Color print of Grinch tutorial • Multimedia paper … Read More

Snowflake Art Trading Cards

I think my favorite thing about art trading cards and plastic sleeves, is that they instantly look laminated. Everything looks better when it’s smooth and shiny, if you ask me. 1. Students use liquid watercolor paints on watercolor paper cut to the ATC size: 2.5″ x 3.5″. Random “blobs” were overlapped just a bit until the … Read More

Diya’s Snowman Painting

posted in: Painting | 0

A little birdie recently shared this cute painting with me, created by a young Canadian girl named Diya. I believe Diya took my idea of drawing a snowman with a long carrot nose, and added a full moon for him to look at on a snowy winter night. It’s such a sweet composition that I wanted … Read More

How to Paint a Snowman

You can learn how to paint a snowman that is not small and boring. Make him (or her) much more interesting with close cropping and a few other special touches. To get those white windy lines, students need to draw them with a white crayon before painting over with watercolor paint. • View and download Snowman … Read More

Funky Witch Feet Painting

I found this witch feet painting idea in some stock art Halloween illustrations. It offers colorful seasonal fun, and some good symmetrical drawing practice too with those curvy, funky boots. It’s unique point of view also shows students how their doesn’t always need to fit on the page. You can crop things to just focus on … Read More

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