Color Wheel Heart

Combine a color lesson with Valentine’s Day and you may end up with a very pretty card too.I love it when students just draw with watercolor paints, and not use any pencil first. One option is to give them a heart-punched card that they can use as a stencil. They fill it in with red paint, … Read More

Dry Brush Winter Painting

This lesson was designed to show students how pretty layered colors can be when using opaque paints, such as acrylic or tempera. Some very painterly effects can happen when you just lightly brush one color on top of another. SESSION ONE: Students painted the bottom third of a heavy paper white to create a base. This example … Read More

Pieced Snowflake Art Trading Cards

I crossed my Snowflake Resist posting with my Art Trading Card class and came up with this project today. I also tested out my “poor man’s watercolor supplies” which I think give the best results for the least amount of money. All you need is Strathmore Kid Series Drawing paper and Dick Blick Liquid Watercolor Paint, in this case … Read More

Crayon Resist Snowflake

If you go to the holiday decoration section at Michaels, you can find these amazing laser-cut wood snowflake decorations that are cheap (about three for $1) and perfect for making crayon rubbings. These are the same snowflakes I used for my Plaster Paperweight project. 1. I made this picture with a white crayon, but younger students could use … Read More

Abstract Winter Trees

A simple illustration I came across in a website inspired this project. 1. Give the students 2 different sizes of narrow triangle cardboard templates, and ask them to draw 3 triangles (trees) across the middle of a sheet of paper. 2. Instruct the students to draw a curvy ground line, and then connect the ground with … Read More

Miro Watercolor Painting

Joan Miro was a Spanish artist who developed a very whimsical style back in the 1930s. His painting called “People and Dog in Sun” is  fun to imitate by drawing stick figures, stars and circles. 1. Draw one large stick figure in the middle of a sheet of watercolor paper, preferably in some action pose. Miro often repeated … Read More

“My Favorite” Collage

posted in: Collage, Painting | 0

This could be called “My Favorite” page, which could include food, pets, flowers, clothes … anything that is easy to find in your average magazine. 1. I found my photo first, and glued it to the center of the page. 2. I wrote in curved lines, “My Favorite” on top and then “Oatmeal Cookies” below with … Read More

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Flowers

One thing that watercolor paint loves to do is run together. Instead of fighting that tendency, I showed my students how they can make “puddles” their friend by painting lots of irregular spots, some overlapping, which could later be outlined as delicate little flowers. 1. Flower spots of varying sizes and colors are painted on the … Read More

Art Trading Cards, or ATCs

Art Trading Cards are miniature works of art (2.5″ x 3.5″) that fit inside standard plastic card sleeves. This type of art was started in Switzerland in 1996 and grew out of an interest in mail art. ATCs are now produced all over the world in various media, including pencils, pens, markers, watercolor, acrylic paints, collage, … Read More

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

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

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.  

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

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

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

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

Vegetable Garden Watercolor Painting

I found this idea for painting vegetables over at 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

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

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