How to Draw a Poinsettia

Here’s how to draw a poinsettia, which my students are turning into decorations for our holiday show in a couple of weeks. We’re making em big, on 12′ square heavy paper, and cutting the poinsettias out so they can be arranged on the wall of the auditorium. I’m proud that I was able to sneak in a little bit of math and measuring as it really helped to draw the center guidelines before drawing. … 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


Teach kinders and up how to draw a face with LOTS of crankiness, thanks to this very funny new children’s book, “Crankenstein”, by Samantha Berger. Crankenstein can be drawn with some very simple shapes, and show students how to create a very expressive face. MATERIALS “Crankenstein” book, by Samantha Berger Watercolor paper, if you can afford it, or multimedia paper Old cardboard for templates Sharpie chisel tip marker, black Crayons Liquid watercolor paint, green … Read More

Fall Pickup Truck

  I wanted to do something different with my last watercolor class, but still keep it with the fall season, so I combined a simple truck and pumpkins. • View and download Pickup Truck Tutorial MATERIALS Print of Pickup Tutorial for each student Watercolor paper Sharpie marker Crayons Liquid watercolor paint   DIRECTIONS PREP: Draw or print guidelines on the paper Students follow the tutorial to draw their truck. Pumpkins are added in the … Read More

Draw a Robot

This is a fun combination for painting a robot – silver tempera and black watercolor paint. The matte look of the black makes the silver really stand out. My first graders used a 3″ square template to get the body drawing started. They added geometric shapes as desired. MATERIALS Draw Robot PDF Tutorial Drawing paper Black marker Silver tempera paint Black watercolor paint, liquid works best DIRECTIONS Prep: Print tutorial for each student. Draw … 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

Snowy Winter Landscape

Students finished their snowy landscapes with the perfect tool. Sharpie paint markers allowed all the art to easily get a delicate sprinkling of snow. This art is getting used for annual holiday art fundraiser with Original Works. The goal was to create a colorful, seasonal picture for students of all abilities. This is no small feat to take on every year, but this one worked well for me. The proof will be in the … Read More

Layered Cats

Try giving young students a cat head template and challenge them to fill the page. This young 2nd grader, Benjamin, made an adorable painting as a result. MATERIALS Download Cat head PDF template Chip board Watercolor paper (Strathmore used here) Black Sharpie marker Crayons Liquid watercolor paint (I used this Sargent brand now) DIRECTIONS Prep: Trace cat head onto chip board and cut a copy for each student. It makes it much easier to … Read More

An Artist’s Pumpkin

The world’s easiest way to decorate a pumpkin — just pour paint Jackson Pollock style. MATERIALS White foam pumpkin, from Michaels or Amazon Old acrylic paint, bright colors Newspaper and small cup (such as old yogurt cut) Glossy Mod Podge   DIRECTIONS Place pumpkin on newspaper, sitting on a small cup. Pour paint right from the container on top of the pumpkin until it runs down the sides. Repeat layers until the pumpkin is … Read More

Watercolor Pumpkin

You pretty much can’t lose when you make pumpkins your subject matter for a painting. The line work alone is perfect for teaching kids how to give their circles dimension, let alone all the shading possibilities. MATERIALS Watercolor paper Bowl, about 6″ diameter for tracing Sharpie marker, black Liquid watercolor paint DIRECTIONS The bowl is traced in pencil in the center of the paper, a stem was added (it should be set “into” the … Read More

Cardboard Angler Fish

Once again I have to give credit to an amazing site called This Angler fish project is just too clever with its underbite, spike teeth and pipe cleaner antennae. MATERIALS 16″ square of cardboard cut in half Paper cutter, old school style with arm that can chop (recommended) Utility scissors Black Sharpie marker, chisel tip Tempera cake paints Pipe cleaner Food skewers DIRECTIONS PREP: Use a paper cutter to cut rectangles that are … Read More

Preview my Insect eBook

It seems to me that the study of insects needn’t be done in unexciting black and white diagrams. Students can make some colorful studies in art, and use them for science reports later on. This Cicada is simple to draw and when finished with crayons and watercolor, can look pretty amazing. It also occurred to me that a few easy additions to my tutorials would probably help busy teachers. Each tutorial in this book … Read More

Easy Dog Drawing

I sometimes give my young kinder and 1st grade students a template to trace for the first step of a project. For this easy dog drawing, children had the head template to trace, and followed my directions for the rest. • View and Download Dog Tutorial MATERIALS • Watercolor Paper, I used 11″ x 15″ • Chipboard for template • Sharpie marker • Liquid watercolor paint DIRECTIONS 1. I first drew center lines in … Read More

Symmetrical Drawing

I actually ran out of drawing paper recently and tried out this food wrap (dry wax paper) that was left over from an old project. MATERIALS • Dry wax paper, 12″ x 12″ size • Black Sharpie, chisel tip • Gold tempera paint DIRECTIONS 1. Students fold their 12″ x 12″ food wrap paper in half and crease. With a pencil, they could draw half of a large vase, preferably using up as much … Read More

Japanese Fan Painting

If you need a Japanese-themed art project, this works well even for kinders. In fact, I love the “wobbly” lines of the young ones – it’s what make their art so charming.   MATERIALS • Watercolor paper • Circle template • Crayons • Liquid Watercolor paint   DIRECTIONS PREP:  These fans are all based on quarter circles, so you need to start with circle templates. Older students could cut their own from folded paper, younger may need … Read More

Japanese Carp Wind Sock

Carp windsocks decorate the landscape of Japan from April through early May, in honor of Children’s Day. I love these inexpensive precut fish made with paper that just soaks up color. They come flat with two sides to make them easy to paint. MATERIALS • Rolyco Japanese Carp Wind Sock • Liquid watercolor paint • Brush • Large piece of cardboard (to hold fish) • Waterbased markers • Glitter glue • Hot glue gun • Hole … Read More

Tallest Ice Cream Cone

If you want to encourage kids to draw tall shapes, it helps to have paper cut to match. MATERIALS • Watercolor paper, 18″ x 24″  cut into 18″ x 6″ panels • Crayons • Watercolor paint, I prefer the liquid kind DIRECTIONS 1. Students discuss all the different ice cream flavors they could think of. The point is to realize how many different colors ice cream comes in these days. The cone is sketched in pencil … Read More

Draw a Ladybug

Drawing a page of ladybugs couldn’t be much easier if you start with a circle template. Draw with a permanent black marker and you can just paint right over your cute little bugs. Red is always nice, but who says they can’t be rainbow colored too? When you are the artist, anything is possible. MATERIALS • Mixed media paper • Circle template, card stock or otherwise • Sharpie marker, black chisel tip • Liquid watercolor paint … Read More

Painted Light Switch Plates

When your fridge and walls are already filled with your child’s art, have them paint your light switch plates. MATERIALS • Light switch from hardware store • Acrylic paint • Thin brushes • Spray sealer DIRECTIONS 1. Students use acrylic paint to make mini paintings on plastic switch plates. They should think of little images to make the most of their “canvas”. Be sure to have lots of thin paint brushes to paint tiny details. 2. … Read More

How To Draw King Tut

Here’s a combo make in art heaven — gold tempera and a King Tut painting project. Works great for history lessons, or even an excuse to use the paint. It’s inexpensive and adds a bling that students all seem to love. MATERIALS Download King Tut Tutorial Multi media paper, 9″ x 12″ Black Sharpie makers with chisel tip Gold tempera paint Royal blue tempera paint DIRECTIONS PREP: Print or draw guide lines on drawing … Read More

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