Draw a Bat, and the Perfect Book

My first graders were shown how to draw a bat, but only after learning some more about them in this amazing new book I found “Nightsong”. It beautifully illustrates how they use their radar to see at night, and tells of a young bat’s first flight by himself. Really one of those special books, and a … Read More

Tree Silhouette Art

This tree silhouette art is a multimedia project using chalk pastel and tempera cake paint. Each media does what they do best – make fuzzy backgrounds and opaque coloring. MATERIALS • Multimedia paper • Old CD for tracing • Chalk pastels (blue and purple recommended) • Tempera cake paint, black • Paint brush, water DIRECTIONS 1. … Read More

Draw a Vampire Bat

You can draw a Vampire bat without it being scary. In fact, they can be downright funny like this guy. Here’s a tutorial on how to draw this very friendly looking bat. Oversized heads and symmetrical shapes always seem to work better for young artists, so this one is great for even kindergartners. • View and … Read More

Bat Painting, Silhouettes on Coffee Filters

A fun way to make a bat painting as the permanent marker makes it easy to draw and color, and the coffee filters and watercolors never fail to amaze me with their vivid color. There’s a reason why I call them the “poor man’s watercolor paper”. MATERIALS • Jumbo coffee filters, from restaurant supply store • … Read More

Batik Pumpkin Art

This batik pumpkin art is meant to imitate the real thing, a resist-dyeing process that originated in Indonesia. Children can simulate the look of cracked wax and color by working with crayons and watercolor.  MATERIALS • Drawing paper • Black Sharpie marker, fine tip • Crayola crayons • Liquid watercolor paint, black or blue DIRECTIONS 1. … Read More

How to Draw An Apple, and Shade it Like a Pro

If you want to learn how to draw an apple, you don’t have to settle for just a flat shape. Add a white highlight and shaded side and bam! Pretty real looking fruit. Thank you messy-but-you-do-your-job chalk pastels. MATERIALS • Colored paper, I used Recollections Card Stock in Navy • Black oil pastel • Chalk pastels … Read More

Easy Snowflake Art with Paint and Paper

Here is one way to make easy snowflake art with paint and paper. Try blending several shades of blue on good watercolor paper and sprinkle salt to add more texture. Brush it off when dry and glue down punched out paper snowflakes. Super simple and gets amazing results every time.  MATERIALS • Watercolor paper (try Strathmore … Read More

Pumpkin Art

This pumpkin art project is a great example of teaching a principal of design, while making a very graphic image. I love how it literally requires students to flip and glue down their cut out shapes to mirror the other side. You can’t get more literal than that as a definition of symmetry. MATERIALS • Black … Read More

Fall Tree Art Collage

If you’ve every tried painting on a paper towel, and enjoyed the way the color just soaks in, then you will love this fall tree art project. Turns out that coffee filters create the same effect, but as a bonus, are great for crayon rubbing too. They are both thin and strong, which is perfect for … Read More

How to Draw a Fox Face

My How to Draw a Fox Face tutorial will help students fill their page with a large, symmetrical face, that has all kinds of coloring options. • View and Download Fox Face PDF Tutorial MATERIALS • Multimedia paper • Black marker • Crayola crayons DIRECTIONS 1. Print a Fox Face tutorial for each student. They make … Read More

Torn Winter Tree Art

This winter tree art landscape makes use of a simple idea, namely that torn paper looks a lot like the bark edges of a tree, but needs to be done neatly for maximum impact. I first did this with a mixed class that included first graders, and while they painted and tore the paper just fine, … Read More

Maple Leaf Drawing, Kandinsky Style

Here’s a maple leaf drawing idea that uses colors, Kandinsky-style. Kandinsky was one of the first artists to make abstract paintings that celebrated ideas as simple as rings of color. I followed my Maple leaf drawing lesson seen in the diagram below and then used some new Prang crayons for the vivid color. They really do … Read More

Mom Pop Out Flower Card

My students are learning how to make pop out flowers this week, which make a pretty nice Mother’s Day card. Last year I did this with hearts, but I like this flower for this time of year, for all the obvious reasons. Supplies: • 12″ x 12″ solid cardstock scrapbook paper • 12″ x 12″ print … Read More

Easy Statue of Liberty Tutorial

I created this easy Statue of Liberty tutorial for 1st graders, who study US symbols in the spring of each year. If you simplify the clothes, it really helps students concentrate on the very unmistakable pose of Lady Liberty. • View and download Statue of Liberty Tutorial MATERIAL • Watercolor paper • Sharpie marker, fine tip … Read More

Miniature Cakes

So it turns out that Model Magic comes in just the right colors to make some dandy looking tiny cakes. This may be one of my favorite projects so far. PREP: Glue 3″ cardboard circles (from my school’s diecut collection) to a small thimble size plastic cup from Smart & Final. Let dry. 1. Students used … Read More

Coffee Filter Watercolor Hearts

If you press large coffee filters to make them flat, cut them into 2.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles, and paint them with liquid watercolor paint, you just might get some really pretty cards. My students let them sit on plastic embroidery mesh while paiting and drying, so sometimes the grid bleed through, which was kinda cool too. … Read More

Oil Pastel Hearts

This project actually did triple duty last year: continued the student’s study of warm and cool colors, taught them about a Pop artist named Jim Dine, and provided a colorful picture that I think will work for our annual fundraiser with Original Works. 1. After viewing some of Jim Dine’s painting to see his style, students … Read More

Matchbox with Mini Pom Poms

My afterschool Matchbox kids did a great job today, as they experimented with adding mini pom poms to their drawings. These two amazing 2nd graders, Rebecca and Violet, made them with both Hanukkah and Christmas in mind. Follow the link below to download the box templates and instructions. Materials: • White card stock paper • Glue … Read More

How to Draw a Turkey

Looking for some turkey art inspiration? Here are some variations I’ve tried over the years. Marker, watercolor, tempera and poster markers – they all start with this PDF tutorial that I am happy to share below. PREP • View and download Turkey PDF Tutorial MATERIALS • Crayons or paint or markers • Sharpie, black, fine point … Read More

Matchbox Art with Leaves

I’m continuing this class after school, which starts with a pre-folded box and allows students to color the inside insert and wrapper. I just found this leaf punch, which is the perfect size for creating a mini leaf collection. Materials: • White card stock paper • Glue stick • Leaf paper cutter • Waterbased markers • … Read More

Mayflower Map

 Lately I’m finding benefits to creating some tracing projects. It requires focus (so the room gets really quiet!) and I think students find it soothing somehow. This was made by tracing a map onto tissue paper, and then adding info and coloring with watercolor paint. I love how the paint makes the paper wrinkle, just like … Read More

Bone Letters

You could make this a lesson about anatomy and what the different kinds of bones in your body look like – or you could just make some creepy looking name signs for Halloween. 1. Draw examples of some typical bones on the board. They generally look like sticks, but have large bumps on the end. I … Read More

Make Your Own Glitter Paint

I was happy to stumble across the joys of glitter watercolor paint this week with lots of Day of the Dead artwork, but sad to read that my supplier was discontinuing it. I had a McGyver moment though, and discovered how to make my own. I mixed this glitter paint found at Michaels and my liquid … Read More

Draw a Monster, Super Close up Style

Quite possibly the world’s simplest how to draw a monster project. Students used a roll of masking tape to draw the eyes, one of which needed to be going off the page. Try challenging older students to add shadows by painting extra layers of color along the edges. MATERIALS • Watercolor paper, try Strathmore for special … Read More

Spiders from Santa Maria, CA

This is such a great extension of my posted spider project that I thought I’d share it again. It turns a symmetry exercise into a beautiful work of art. • View and download PDF Half Spider Template “I’ve done this project for the past 2 years when my 4th grade students were learning symmetry. This year … Read More

Cubism Face Fun

Mix Frankenstein with computer illustrated eye drawings and kids can have fun making some very silly faces.  1. Those on a budget could use magazine eyes, but I had too many kids to chance that they could all find some, so I looked for another option online. I found a great set at Pycomall and bought … Read More

Pumpkin Face Collage

posted in: 1st Grade, Halloween | 2

I love this idea of putting “people” teeth in a pumpkin, so whoever thought of it first is pretty genius. I’m using it this week for my kinders and first graders as it’s a great chance to learn about cutting on the fold. The head, mouth and eyes may be cut on folded paper to create … Read More

The Scream and Blow Painting

This Scream art project was shared from Washington Elementary School in Michigan, and it was a huge hit with my students as well. It combines Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” face with some blow paint fun for all kinds of expressionist possibilities. WARM UP Look at Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting to see how much expression can … Read More

Happy Father’s Day!

posted in: Father's Day | 0

Here’s a combo photo / painting that I made of my amazing dad a few years ago. It’s from his farming days in in rural Indiana, where I was fortunate enough to grow up. The funny thing is that it seemed a rather ordinary life at the time, but only now do I know what a … Read More

How to Draw the Statue of Liberty

I created this How to Draw the Statue of Liberty tutorial for kinders, who study US symbols in the spring of each year. Lady Liberty’s body and clothes would be pretty complex for them to draw (actually for anyone to draw), but her face and crown are pretty manageable if you just break them down into … Read More

Mother’s Day Tissue Hearts

Here’s my solution this year for student’s Mother Day gift. It’s revisiting an old tissue paper technique that’s been around forever, and can really look nice if done well. PREP: I used our school’s die cut to make a heart for each student. I actually switched to heavy watercolor paper when my chipboard ran out. Also … Read More

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