Watercolor Caterpillar

A good lesson for kindergarteners on up. Reading "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" before drawing is recommended.
1. With a pencil, ask the students to draw about 7 vertical lines in the middle of a sheet of watercolor paper.
2. Starting on the top left, show them how to "jump" from top to top to connect the lines with curves.
3. Repeat the "jumping" line on the bottom to enclose the body.
4. Add feet, tail and head.
5. Trace all of the pencil lines with a dark crayon.
6. Fill in caterpillar with liquid watercolor paint, and add a background color.
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Collage Figure Study

This project makes learning figure proportions fun, while still allowing room for creativity. Many poses are possible when your figure can bend in so many ways.
1. Background collage: Each student needs a background piece of 9" x 12" construction paper, and then 2 other panels that were roughly 5" x 12" (I used green and blue in my sample). To get some random sizes going, I asked the students to cut off the end of one panel to make a large square about 5" x 5". They were to cut and rounded off the corners, and glued it somewhere on the background paper. Next they were to cut two medium squares about 3" x 3", round off the corners, and glue those somewhere on the paper. Lastly, they cut some small rectangles to fill the remaining spaces, rounded out the corners, and glued to them down too. A small amount of space was left between the all the shapes, so that they looked somewhat like tiles that fit together.
2. I explained just a few rules about body proportions, namely the ratio of head to body size being 8 to 1, and that the waist generally falls right in the middle. To help them start their bodies, I gave each student a black construction rectangle about 3" x 12". I had them fold the body in half and cut to the find waist. The top section was cut up to make a head and top torso. The bottom half of the paper was cut to make a bottom torso and two sectioned legs. Another strip of black paper was needed to cut out the arms. All the pieces may start out as rectangles, but need to have their edges rounded before gluing down. The body is posed on the background collage and glued down.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Fourth Grade
2.5 Use accurate proportions to create an expressive portrait or a figure drawing or painting.
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Fauve Portraits

The primary mission of Fauve artists in the late 1800's was to work with vibrant and unnatural color. Van Gogh, Gauguin and other artists wanted their art to be new and modern, much like the technology that was developing around them.
1. If your budget permits, give each student a canvas panel to work with – they really add to the professional look of the artwork. If not, a very thick paper is needed to support the paint. Students should first draw with pencil a very simple portrait. Round face, simple eyes, nose and mouth and hair. No small details.
2. Distribute very bright acrylic paint and brushes. Starting with the skin, the students are to choose a color that they think is the opposite of what it should be. Fill all the skin in with paint, leaving the eyes, nose and mouth empty (layering dulls the colors). Continue with the rest of the portrait, always choosing unusual colors.
3. After the paint has dryed, pass out small brushes and black acrylic paint. The students are to paint a thin black line where all their pencil lines use to be, to finish off the painting.

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“You Can Paint Like the Masters” Winners

Give Away Winners
Congratulations to RandDSnow and mrspicasso!

You each will be sent a copy of this book “You Can Paint Like the Masters” from Walter Foster Publishing. Please email me at kbarbro@pacbell.net with your shipping info so you can get your book as soon as possible.

Thanks so much to all those who participated in my give away. I loved reading all of your comments, many filled with such passion for your favorite artists. Stay tuned as I hope to have more in the future. Have a great weekend everyone!


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Watercolor Buildings

This project takes advantage of the pretty textures that you can create with watercolor and crayon rubbings, but keeps colors from bleeding together. That’s because the buildings are cut out separately and glued onto the background. I like how it keeps the edges clean and crisp.
SESSION ONE
1. Two large pieces of white drawing paper are needed. One is for the background, where a ground and sky are painted with watercolors.
2. The other paper needs to roughly be divided into three sections. A texture crayon rubbing is made on each section, using a different color crayon on each. To make the rubbing have texture, place something rough under the white paper and then rub it with the peeled side of a crayon. You can use sandpaper, or plastic netting, or plastic embroidery grids. When the paper is covered, the students are to paint over the 3 crayon sections with 3 different watercolors. Let dry.
SESSION TWO
3. The students take the crayon paper and cut apart the three sections they have made. A building is drawn on each with a black crayon. Simple rectangles work fine. It may help to have photos of buildings to look at for inspiration.
4. When all the buildings are drawn, they are cut out, taking care not to cut off the black edge. Lastly, they are glued to the background paper with a glue stick.
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Spotted Watercolor Frogs

One of my goals with my after school watercolor class was to show them some fun techniques to create texture in their paintings. I found this project in one of the Usbourne art books, which uses lemon juice to help make some unusual spotty watercolor patterns.
1. As I have mentioned before, my class mostly consists of kinder and 1st graders, so I made what I call “partial” templates for them to trace. They looked like frog bodies with the hands and feet missing. It worked pretty well as pointy fingers and toes would have been a pain to cut out. The students placed these frogs around on their watercolor paper, added in their own hands and feet, and traced all the edges heavily with a crayon.
2. Next the frog bodies were painted in with a single watercolor. With a clean brush, and while the bodies were still damp, small amounts of lemon juice were dabbed all around. This is the fun part as you can actually watch the splotches take shape. It takes about 30 seconds for them to fully develop so a little patience is required.
3. When all the frog bodies were done, the students filled in the background. One clever boy even added his own lily pads. Love it when they add their own touch!
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Giant Paper Mache Numbers – Painted

Here’s the follow up to my “Giant Paper Mache Numbers” project, all painted and ready for a culmination ceremony tomorrow. I finished putting one layer of mache on all the numbers, painted them with a flat black interior paint, and then let the students take turns dripping on my leftover acrylic paint. I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. I especially love that you can get such big results with a little time and love, and little expense.
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Mixed Media Landscape

This is an upscale version of an old idea — using a small color photo as the beginning of a painting. Instead of cutting and gluing a magazine photo, I downloaded a photo and printed it directly onto watercolor paper.
1. Find a colorful square image that has elements that can be continued, such as flowers, horizon lines, etc. Download or scan the image to your computer.
2. Print the image as a 3" to 4" size image in the middle of a 9" square piece of watercolor paper.
3. Ask the students to continue the image outward using watercolor pencils. Younger students can look for big shapes to continue, and older can look for more subtle changes in color. I like the look of leaving an empty border around the outside to emphasize the painting qualities.
4. Show the students how to carefully paint water over the pencil to turn it into watercolor paint. Color may also be dragged into the photo area to increase the blending of the two images.

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Giant Paper Mache Numbers

When I started my afterschool classes last fall, I all of a sudden was going through Capri Sun and Goldfish boxes like crazy, and they just seemed to be too sturdy to throw away. My pack-rat ways paid off this week when I needed to make a “2010” sign for our culminating 5th graders. A boring painted sign? No way, our kids are getting giant block numbers about 4 ft. tall, which are to be painted black and spattered with paint tomorrow. I’m now having visions of doing our school name this fall, but maybe twice as tall? We’ll see, anything to decrease the amount of trash in our landfills these days.
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Rice Paper Collage Cake

This is the artwork that started it all. I was volunteering in my son’s 2nd grade class and two students went off to a corner to make a birthday card for a friend. I turned around to see this, and my view of what kids can create has never been the same since.
1. When it comes to collage, it helps to give students a theme so they have a starting place to work with. Distribute standard paper for a background, and divide up collage papers into equal groups, and let the students start to create. I had found a high end stationary store that was willing to donate their damaged papers to me.
This artwork came out of a class that was working with a Valentine Card theme, but a birthday card was needed for a missing student and voila!

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Butterfly Mural Tutorial

To see a tutorial on how one teacher in Wisconsin used my butterfly mural template to create this beautiful work of art with her students, just click on the image above. It will take you to her site “Gallery 2404” where she generously shares her process with lots of photos and instructions. Thanks so much to Kathy Link for allowing me to share this!
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Warhol Cat Drawing

Here's a little different take on a cat drawing, one where you can focus on drawing the face, and then kind of generalize a sitting position for the body. It's actually an attempt to copy Andy Warhol's famous "Red Sam" which is a very cool painting by a very cool artist.
1. Start by drawing a large, rounded "W" in the middle of the paper, and connect the tops points together to close in the head. Add a small curve at the bottom to make a chin.
2. Add two ears that sit at angles at the top and erase the inside lines. Draw two eyes and a nose that extends down to an upside down triangle.
3. Complete the face by drawing whiskers from the cheeks. Draw the cat body around the head by adding a large curve at the top and two bumps at the sides for the hips.
4. Add feet at the bottom and a long tail wherever there is room. After the pencil drawing is complete, trace the lines with a black Sharpie marker, taking care to make the lines fuzzy and broken like fur. Distribute watercolor paint and have fun filling in your beautiful cat!
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Outerspace Watercolor Painting

I found this painting idea over at Artsonia.com, and like how it asks students to think about how close shapes look large, and faraway look small. And what better place to do that than in outer space?
1. I’m going to do a follow-along drawing, and ask my students to start by drawing part of a very large planet in one corner of their watercolor paper. Next a rocket, several medium and few small circle planets could be added until the paper is full. Details like bumps and rings around the planets could be added to make their picture more interesting.
2. When the drawing is complete, all the lines will be traced with a black Sharpie marker. Make sure you use a permanent marker, and not a water-based one or the lines will bleed later on.
3. To add lots of stars, the students will need to use a white crayon and draw lots of little X’s all over the paper. They need to press hard and draw many to make an impact after painting.
4. Lastly, the planets and rocket are painted in with watercolor paints, and after they have dried a bit (no big wet spots that will want to bleed) the background is painted with lots of black watercolor paint. That’s it, simple but dramatic.
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Festive Watercolor Bird

Recently I’ve been experimenting with having students start their paintings with watercolors and then adding details later.
1. I demonstrated how to start their bird paintings with a small circle for the head to one side of the paper and a curved body in the middle. Once filled in, some thick lines for tail feathers were added. To speed up the process, I gave each student a paper towel and had them blot their paintings dry. The colors will lighten up a bit but there's more color added later.
2. The students were given thin black oil pastels to trace their birds and add details.
3. I then had them go back to the watercolors to repaint the bodies and add opposing color the background to create a more vivid image.

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Father’s Day Stamp Box

Father's Day art projects always seem harder to find for me than Mother's Day, but I like this simple stamp collage box project.
1. I wish I had a giant stamp collection to make art with, but in lieu of that I found some photography on the internet and made duplicate color prints. Print enough to have a dozen or so per student so they can pick and choose their favorite. I also purchased some of the simple wooden boxes available at Michael's, most of which cost about 99¢.
2. Have the students cut out the stamps they want very close to the edge.
3. I've found that the trick to decoupaging paper without any bubbles is to coat both sides with Mod Podge (meaning the box and the back of the stamp) and press together with a brush. Press firmly and coat the top of each stamp with Mod Podge too. Repeat until covered, taking care to wrap some around the edges to cover as much of the box as possible.
4. Let dry completely and finish with a final layer of Mod Podge.
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Art Journaling 129

This is a mix and match collage project, with a writing prompt that hopefully sparks some creative thinking.
Prep Work: I’ve found that students can get easily distracted if you give them entire magazines to search through, so I tore out two sets of pages for them. One was just a collection of large faces, and the others had large swatches of color or pattern to use for the top of the head. Fashion magazines worked best for the first group and architecture or home decor for the second. Lastly, I cut the U-shaped faces and necks out of manila paper, and had writing paper cut to 6" x 9" for the background.
1. The students started with gluing the writing paper on the journal page, then gluing the manila face and neck on top.
2. The magazine pages with faces were passed out, with several for each student. They were asked to cut out and glue eyes and a mouth on their faces, hopefully each from a different magazine page.
3. The magazine pages with the patterns and color were passed out, with the instructions to cut amd glue some kind of hair or hat or topping to their collage head.
4. Using the lined paper, the students were asked to write and finish the sentence “Hello, my name is _____.”
This page was made by Ayala, a first grader, who happens to have beautiful head of red hair herself. I love it Ayala!
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‘Ugly’ Paper Mache Monsters

This is a new project I just tried out with my afterschool paper mache class. It’s based on those super thick Capri juice boxes that I’ve been hoarding all year. I taped a pair together both side by side and on top of each other to give the students a choice of monster shapes to build on.
1. PREP WORK: Tape pairs of boxes together with packing tape, some on the wide side to make a long rectangle (left), and some on the thin side to make a large square (right). For the first class, the students use newspaper and mache to cover the boxes and hide any seams. Let dry until hard to the touch.
2. PREP WORK: Glue small plastic cups for eyes and legs with craft glue and let dry before next mache session. Note: plastic or styrofoam is better than paper as it doesn't “wilt” under the weight of too much mache. For class two, the students use large squares of paper towel with mache to cover roughly the bottom half of the monster. Let dry until hard to the touch.
3. PREP WORK: Cut curved ear shapes from large styrofoam cups and tape to top corners of the monster. For class, the students use paper towels again with mache to complete the top coverage of the monster. Let dry until hard to the touch.
4. Paint time! I like the inexpensive Michael’s brand of acrylic paints that come in really bright colors. I recommended to the kids that they paint a base color first and then add details on top. Let dry. To add a bit of shine at the end, a layer of Mod Podge could be added to the surface.

Thank you Ella (monster left) and Audrey (monster right) for letting me share your artwork. Can you believe they are both just in 1st grade?
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