David Hockney Photo Collage

David Hockney created photo collages in the 1980s, compiling a ‘complete’ picture from a series of individually photographed details. You can get a similar effect using one photo, cutting it up and loosely putting it back together again. MATERIALS Drawing paper Old magazines Rulers Scissors Glue sticks DIRECTIONS Start with a magazine photo, nature themes are nice to work with. Tear out a large image and use a ruler to draw dissect it into … Read More

Picasso Style Self Portrait

Picasso’s Blue Period paintings are great for seeing the power of color. A side self-portrait with lowered eyes in blues and greens makes for a great study. MATERIALS Picasso Blue Period PDF Tutorial Watercolor paper, 6″ x 9″ art journal size Black Sharpie marker Liquid watercolor, blue and green Brush   DIRECTIONS This project asks students to draw themselves looking down and off the page to increase the forlorn look that Picasso’s art had … Read More

Magritte Art Project

René Magritte was famous for paintings that challenge how we see. Have your students to express themselves with a magazine circle turned into an eye. MATERIALS Download Rene Magritte Project PDF tutorial Drawing paper, 9″ x 12″ Old CD for tracing Old magazines Scissors Glue stick Black marker Crayons, skin color DIRECTIONS PREP: Cut 9″ x 12″ in half to make the 6″ x 9″ format used for my art journal projects. Students look … Read More

Picasso Monsters

Mix a little Picasso art history and Halloween fun by drawing a cubism face with clip art eyes. Mismatched eyes, that is. MATERIALS Pycomall, sheet of Cartoon Eyes $8 Color printer Color printing paper for the eyes Drawing paper Black Sharpie marker, chisel tip Crayons DIRECTIONS Those on a budget could use magazine eyes, but I had too many kids to chance that they could all find some. I found a place called Pycomall.com … Read More

Kandinsky Circle Painting

This Kandinsky project worked really well with my last after school watercolor class which includes kinder through 5th grade. MATERIALS Watercolor paper (I used Strathmore) Crayons Liquid watercolor paint DIRECTIONS PREP: pre-print grid lines on watercolor paper.  With Kandinsky’s original painting in view, students drew concentric circles in each square with a crayon (no need to start with pencils). They pressed hard to make a “wall” that would help keep colors from running together. … Read More

Deluxe Mona Lisa Template

Here’s another line art project, this time based on the very famous painting of Mona Lisa. This photoshopped face of Mona Lisa was originally posted quite awhile ago, but only with the one main page to draw on. When I taught this project, I realized students needed more references to “fill in the blanks”. They needed to see how the arms would take shape, a finished example for inspiration, and the original painting for a … Read More

Surrealism and Magritte

René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist who became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. He wanted to challenge viewers to think about what they were looking at and to ask themselves, “What does this painting mean?”   MATERIALS Old CD for tracing Drawing paper Black marker Pencil crayons DIRECTIONS Take an old CD and trace it in the center of an 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Add lines around the … Read More

Paul Klee Castle

Paul Klee was one of the great colorists in the history of painting. I developed this project that imitates his abstract “Castle and Sun” painting by having students trace cardboard shapes and fill them in with colored pencils. MATERIALS • Black paper, card stock is preferred • Chip board for cutting squares and triangles • Colored pencils DIRECTIONS PREP: I made lots of shapes that were all based on 1″ proportions. My sample uses 2″ squares, … Read More

Deluxe Van Gogh Line Art Template

Here’s another line art project, this time with Van Gogh’s amazing self-portrait. This photoshopped face of Van Gogh was originally posted quite awhile ago, but only with the one main page to draw on. When I taught this project, I realized students needed more references to “fill in the blanks”. They needed to see basically how the suit might look (as a starting point), some finished examples for inspiration, and the original painting for a little art … Read More

Deluxe Leonardo Line Art Template

When you leave a graphic design job to start teaching art, you just might find yourself making your own project materials. And if you get a break in your busy schedule (hello summer!) you might realize that some of those products could really be improved, with just a few changes. Here’s my first example. This photoshopped face of Ginevra de Benci (by Leonardo di Vinci) was originally posted quite awhile ago, but only with the … Read More

Organic Matisse Shapes

An overlapping lesson with Matisse-like shapes makes a colorful drawing exercise. Matisse didn’t start painting until he was about 20 years old, but then would paint morning, noon and night for pretty much the rest of his life. He eventually became a key figure in the world of modern art. MATERIALS • Sample Matisse Shapes • Chip board • Drawing paper • Oil pastels DIRECTIONS 1. I had a lot of scrap chip board … Read More

Protractor Art

Frank Stella is an American painter who fully embraced the idea that sometimes a painting can just be flat. In the 1960s he created some paintings titled the “Protractor Series” which you can see HERE. For students learning how to use protractors with their math, it’s perfect tool to play around with in art class.   MATERIALS • Sharpie Markers, brush tip recommended for smooth coloring • Finger paint paper (makes a shiny finish) … Read More

Van Gogh Iris Mural from Canada

This amazing Van Gogh Iris mural comes from Coral Schober in Ontario, Canada. She’s a volunteer Art Image Teacher at the Kortright Hills Public school, and made this Van Gogh Iris Mural with Mr. Keunen’s 4th grade class. Aren’t the colors amazing? MATERIALS • Van Gogh Iris Mural template • Card stock paper • Paper cutter • Oil Pastels (I like the Portfolio brand) • Masking tape DIRECTIONS PREP: Print the Van Gogh Iris … Read More

Modigliani Self Portrait Tutorial

I’ve made a Modigliani self portrait tutorial in hopes that it encourages more to try it out. Something about the distortion frees students up from getting overly fussy with their drawing, and thick pastels are the perfect media for imitating Modigliani’s rich dark paintings. • View and download Modigliani Tutorial MATERIALS Black construction paper, 18″ x 24″ Oil pastels DIRECTIONS Cut the paper to 8″ x 18″. Fold the paper in half three times … Read More

Kandinsky Common Core Art

How many art projects include art history, Common Core standards AND make something really striking? Not many, and I’ve been at this for quite awhile now. This project was inspired by Kandinsky’s Color Study painting, and involves partitioning a square into four equal areas. To be exact, that is Common Core standard 3.G.A.2 (2nd grade geometry). Start with some inexpensive plastic plates, color them with brush Sharpies, and you have a pretty amazing work … Read More

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