One of my goals with my afterschool watercolor class is to teach students that they can control the paint if they pay attention to when their paper is wet or when it is dry. This cat has clean edges because it’s painted on dry paper. The stripes are fuzzy because they were added while wet.
1. My class is large and full of kinders so I gave some students a paper with the outline of the cat head drawn in pencil. I think 2nd or 3rd graders could do this step themselves. I did a follow-along drawing on the board showing students how to make the arched back, belly and legs, and then the tail and face details.
2. Once the drawing was complete, students traced over the pencil lines with a pastel.
3. Students chose one main color for their cat, filled it in with lots of wiggly painting. It was OK to go outside the pastel line a bit. While the body was still wet, they chose a second color to paint stripes or spots. These lines will turn fuzzy on their own, but only if the paper is still wet.
4. Finally, the background was painted in. I made it optional for them to leave a bit of white space around the cat. The purpose was to limit the amount of bleeding that might happen, but some students were bothered by this idea of unpainted space, so I let them chose how to finish their painting.