How to Draw a Bunny

This breakdown of a bunny drawing is based on Sachiko Umoto’s illustrations in her book “Let’s Draw Cute Animals”. I just added a grid background, which works wonders for setting up the correct scale. About a dozen kinder and 1st graders drew this today, and the bunnies were all adorable!
1. A letter size paper is folded in half vertically, then in half horizontally two times to look like the pink dashed lines. The squarish round face is drawn in the middle as shown, and the eyes, nose and mouth are added.
2. Two ears are added, extending almost to the corners.
3. Curved shoulder lines come down from the head and continue to the feet. Note where the curve for the back legs is placed.
4. Two front legs are added, slightly to the left as shown so that the tail may peek out of the right side. When complete, the drawing is traced with a black marker and colored as desired ... even rainbow colors, if they are your favorite.
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Pastel Spring Eggs

One arts standard for elementary students is to learn to tint colors. My kids seemed to really enjoyed seeing how many colors they could make by just mixing yellow, red, orange and white together.
SESSION ONE: I made an egg template which is downloadable HERE and gave one to each student along with white, yellow, red and orange tempera paint on a plate, a brush and a cup of water. They were instructed to see how many different colors they could make – all were to have some amounts of white in them. The eggs and background were painted.
SESSION TWO: Students were allowed to draw designs on their eggs with oil pastels, but they were to keep the same color palate as before. In other words, they were limited to the paint colors as before – red, yellow and orange. This repetition of colors makes the painting more harmonious to the eye when complete.
CA Visual Arts Standard: 2.2 Mix and apply tempera paints to create tints, shades, and neutral colors.
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Baby Plant Craft

A parent recently donated a LOT of baby food jars, so I’ve been playing around with some different ideas. This comes purely from supplies that were on hand: peat moss, grass seed, and white paint marker. I wrote a simple message so the roots could still be seen, but a row of clear grassy jars would be pretty too. Could be a nice welcome to spring.
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Student Art from Kansas City, MO

Melissa from Student Age Child Care (a school program provided by the local school district) emailed me her butterfly with a note that said, “We have about 60 students who all range from K-5 so its pretty hard to think up projects that are not to difficult for our kindergarten kids yet not boring for the older ones. . . I know the mural online is beautifully done so I was scared how it would come out since our different age groups have different levels of artistic ability. I think a lot of kids these days get caught up in the idea that everything has to be the right color, i.e: grass green, sky blue. I used our butterfly as an example of how something not perfect can be amazingly beautiful and unique.” I totally agree, Melissa!
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Shrinky Dink Jewelry

Recently the subject of jewelry making came up in one of my afterschool classes but my mind couldn’t seem to get past knotted string and expensive beads bouncing all over the floor. A search on the internet turned up Shrinky Dink paper, a media I remember enjoying as a child. 

1. I used a metal flower paper punch to make a handful of cutouts from white Shrinky Dink paper.
2. Using ultra fine permanent markers, I drew flower faces on both sides of each cutout. I used a small hole punch to make the eyelet.
3. I placed the  flowers on a piece of cardboard in a 325 degree oven. The flowers curl up, shrink, and then flatten out, all in the span of about 3 minutes. I love how they become thicker, too.
4. JoAnn Fabrics had the jump hooks and metal chain to complete my necklace. I was happy to find that the jump hooks were easy to twist open by hand, so I can imagine even young students being able to do this to finish their own jewelry.
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Shrinky Dink Jewelry, Kandinsky Style

Here’s another approach to take with my Shrinky Dink project using the popular Kandinsky circles-in-a-square. The original colored square on the right measures 2", and the finished piece measures 3/8". Hmm, if one looks good then 20 or more would be amazing...
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Jasper Johns 3D Painting

Jasper Johns is an American artist whose richly covered number paintings like this, rose to prominence in the 1950s. I created this project so students could make a miniature version, and recycle an old CD case as well.
1. Six 1 1/2" foam numbers or letters are arranged on an old CD case, the 1/4" thick variety. The students glue them down with white glue and let dry.
2. Gesso is needed to make the background opaque, so the entire CD front and sides are painted and let dry.
3. A second coat of gesso is painted and let dry.
4. Students use a pencil to draw the checkerboard lines between the numbers. They may choose two colors of acrylic and paint the board in a checkerboard style. The paint is let to dry.
5. Using a flat brush, students use one color of acrylic to “dry brush” a few vertical strokes in random spots.
6. Finally, students paint one last color in the same manner. Note: Restraint is needed here, the goal is to have a layered look with all of the colors still showing at the end.
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How to Draw a Bushbaby

What’s a Bushbaby you may ask? I’m not really sure, I just know they're really cute, which is all I need to keep the attention of my after school drawing students. This is borrowed from Drawbooks.com, which I plan to visit a lot more in the future.
1. Given my class is mostly made of kinders, I decided to give them an oval (body) and circle (head) cardboard template to start their drawing. Using an letter-size paper, they began by tracing the 6" x 5" oval near the left, and 3" circle overlapping as shown.
2. The line inside the head was erased, and ears were added near the top.
3. Large eyes were added in the bottom half of the face. The placement here is important; if they are too high, some cuteness factor is lost.
4. The body is finished with a tail, legs and toes.
5. The tree branch, leaves and moon are added. All lines are traced with a medium width marker, and the shapes are colored in with crayon.
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Mission Drawing on Popsicle Sticks

I just found that one of my favorite discoveries, dry wax paper, also works with colored pencils. This means that white pencil crayon is now a color option, which is vital for an authentic looking mission drawing. This particular facade is always popular with my 4th graders, so I’ve made a worksheet (download HERE) to help students recreate their own.
1. Students get 9 jumbo popsicle sticks and glue together a board as shown. It is set aside to dry.
2. Students each use their worksheet to draw a mission in pencil.
3. A 6" square of dry wax paper is taped over the top of their drawing, and is traced with a thin, permanent marker.
4. The drawing is colored in with colored pencils. The white in particular needs to be colored heavily so that it has some impact when complete.
5. The drawing is cut out close to the box line. A mixture of 50/50 white glue and water is made and is generously spread all over the popsicle front and drawing back. The drawing is placed face up on the board, spread with more glue mixture, and smoothed with fingers to prevent air bubbles. Let dry and spray with glossy finish, if desired.
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Grocery Bag Paper Chain

Paper chain art seems to be most commonly associated with gum wrappers, as was popular in the 1960s. I’ve found that the process of folding and linking paper chains to be extremely successful and satisfying for students as young as 2nd graders. The sample shown here is made from a Trader Joe’s grocery bag, cut into 1" x 9" strips. To see the folding and linking technique, see my post HERE. The finished chain could be a bookmark, garland, or serve any multitude of uses. Let me know if you’d like to share yours.
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For Japan, With Love

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I’m in the Top 50 Craft Mom Blogs at Babble!

Babble.com just came out with their first Top 50 Mom Blogs, and I made the list! I’m thrilled to have Art Projects for Kids included, listed next to some other pretty amazing blogs. Thanks in advance for any Facebook “likes” you may leave behind!
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William Wegman Art by Students

As a follow-up to my William Wegman posting a few days ago, here is the perfect example of why I think kid’s art is so great. My sample drawing was OK, but it had nowhere near the personality that these two drawings have. Thanks so much to Ani (left) and Chloe (right), two 2nd graders who let me share their adorable drawings. Honestly, when was the last time you thought of putting matching lipstick on a dog so he would coordinate with his dress? Or draw a bright red tie and sunglasses to make a super secret agent dog? I rest my case.
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Warm and Cool Watercolor Weaving

Nothing makes warm colors look brighter than when they are sitting next to cool colors, and vice versa. This is a colorful way to practice painting and then weaving the two palettes back together.
1. Students started with two rectangles of watercolor paper measuring 8.5" x 11". They were to paint overlapping blotches of warm colors on one (red, yellow, orange) and cool on the other (blue, green, purple). The papers were left to dry.
2. Next class, students were given strips of chipboard that measured 1.375" x 11" to use as a ruler. The cool paper was traced to make at least six 1.375" x 11" strips, and cut completely apart. The warm paper was traced to make at least five stripes measuring 1.375" x 11", and cut leaving just 1/2" intact on one end.
3. The cool strips were woven into the warm paper and pushed closely together. When complete, a black mat with a 7.5" square opening was used to frame the art.
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William Wegman Drawings

William Wegman is a photographer famous for his compositions with his Weimaraner dogs. His fascination with humanizing his animals has created hundreds of amazing videos and photographs. I like his book shown here as it shows the dogs in many everyday poses.
1. I created a composite of Weimaraner head photos that you can print HERE. I printed them in color and gave each student a strip that contained 4 different heads. They cut out and glued down their favorite on a 5.5" x 8.5" sheet of paper.
2. They then added a human body of their choice. Some older students were challenged to include an action pose.
3. When complete, the drawings were traced with a thin black marker and filled in with colored pencils.
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Bleach Pen Jeans

There seems to be lots of decorative art in fashion these days (think peasant / ethnic wear) and this is a good way to imitate that look without using a single needle or thread.
1. As part of a weekend class, I had students bring in an old pair of jeans. They first planned their decoration on paper so I could see if it was looking too intricate or not. Simple lines with lots of space between work best.
2. Once a paper plan seemed complete, students drew the design on the jeans with a sewing marker that washed out if mistakes were made.
3. Small swatches of cut-up denim were passed out for the kids to practice on. Each student needed their own Bleach Gel Pen, which you can find at many grocery stores or online. These pens take a little practice to make a smooth, thick line of bleach, but work great when you do.
3. Students drew over their sewing marker line with the bleach pens. Fat lines that look like the thickness of yarn were best. The jeans needed to dry at least a half hour after completing all the lines. The longer the wait to wash, the whiter the lines would be.
4. The bleach was rinsed out in water. Once the students got their clothing home, it needed to be machine washed and dried.
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Watercolor Sheep

I love almost anything that children paint with watercolor. This is a simple watercolor resist, done with sheep imagined on a hillside.
1. The students are to draw, as lightly as they can, three to five ovals (the sheep bodies) in pencil on watercolor paper.
2. A white crayon is used to color heavily inside all the ovals.
3. Give the students a choice of dark crayon colors for their sheep head and feet, such as purple, black or blue. With one color, they need to draw a triangle for the head, two ears to the side and four lines for the feet. These shapes also need to be colored in really well too so that they will show up later. Green crayons may be used to draw just a few grass lines.
4. Finally, I like to have liquid watercolor paint on hand so the students may pick one color and paint over their entire drawing. The crayon will resist the paint and the white bodies will now show up because of the background color - like magic!
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HAITI’S CHILDREN NEED US NOW!

You can download this free “Help Save Haiti” mural here to fight Cholera.

Amount raised: $715
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FREE Pattern Snake Template

A tip from a teacher led me to this coil snake project, which I have recreated on my computer. The original called for drawing on paper plates, but I prefer to print my pattern shown HERE on 110 lb. stock to save a whole lotta time.
1. Kinder students and older can color in this snake from head to tail and identify their coloring pattern (A-B-A-B, or A-B-C, or A-A-B-B, etc.) When complete, additional line patterns may be added as well as shown on my sample HERE. The easiest way is for students to decide which pattern goes on which color (hearts on red sections, for instance) and proceed until all the sections have matching line patterns.
2. When finished, students cut out the snake on the thick black line. The head is taped to a string and hung so the snake will turn and spin as this example HERE.
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Student Art from Oregon

Last week I received this email:
“Attached is a photo of the O’Keeffe Poppy Mural we made for our school’s auction this year. It was completed by Ms. Kenney’s 3rd and 4th graders at Westridge Elementary in Lake Oswego, OR. We used acrylic paint on canvas paper and then attached them to a large 30x40 canvas. The original sold quickly at the auction and raised a lot of money for our PTSO. We also sold reproductions that were scanned prior and printed on a smaller canvas. Thanks so much for the download and guidance!  — Jennifer Pahl”
Thanks so much Jennifer for sharing your school’s work, which got incredible results with acrylic paint and canvas paper. I have to try that combo myself . . . very soon!
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Overlapping Matisse Shapes

I combined an overlapping lesson with Matisse-like shapes to make a colorful drawing exercise. You could begin by talking about how 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.
1. I had a lot of scrap chip board on hand and first gave the students several squares and rectangles they could spread out on their paper and trace for the background.
2. I passed out organic-looking shapes I had cut from posterboard to imitate the leafy and flowery shapes in many of Matisse’s most famous paintings. My students were just kinder and 1st grade, so they got a lot of tracing practice. Older students could draw these shapes freehand. To make the organic shapes look as if they were all in front, all lines inside of them were erased before coloring.
3. All shapes were traced in oil pastels and colored in as solidly as possible.

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La Boca House Collage

La Boca is a neighborhood, or barrio of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires and is a popular destination for it’s colorful houses. Looking at lots of photos of these amazing buildings is a good way to start this project.
1. I discovered these really cool Fiskar paper crimpers at JoAnn Fabrics, and brought several to class. Older students can try to roll the paper themselves, and younger ones can watch a demonstration to see how they work. I started with giving each student a white background paper, and then lots of crimped paper to experiment with. I prefer the nice stock used for scrapbooks, but I think any construction paper will do.
2. Ask the students to cut large rectangles and matching roof shapes for their homes, and distribute white glue for attaching them to the white paper. The buildings should all be sitting side by side. Rotating the texture adds interest to their collage.
3. Finally, flat paper may be drawn on with a marker to create windows and doors. These shapes are cut out and glued to the buildings.
CA Visual Art Standard: Creative Expression, Grade One
2.7 Use visual and actual texture in original works of art.
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Oil Pastel Drawing on Dry Wax Paper

If you’ve read many of my posts that mention dry wax paper, you may have noticed that I most often use it with watery glue to attach it to another surface. Last spring I also used it for oil pastel drawings, as part of an outdoor event at our school. The lightweight wax paper was very durable to draw on, but still fluttered in the breeze in a really nice manner. Students first made a drawing with pencil on regular paper, traced it onto the dry wax paper with a permanent black marker, and then colored it with oil pastels. I used my favorite Portfolio brand which is very soft and slippery. Not all brands are like this, so I recommend a test before working with students.
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