Fall Tree with Blowing Leaves

The basic concept behind perspective is learning that the further away objects are, the smaller they appear. This painting idea comes from one of the Usborne art books, all of which I am very fond of.
1. Students start by painting an off-center tree, with trunks and branches. A thick trunk with thinner branches work best.
2. Colored leaves in varying sizes are painted next. Some may be left on the tree, some floating away or even off the page, and a few extra large ones. Some details may be added with the brown paint used for the tree.
3. Let the tree and leaves dry before proceeding. The grass may be painted next, taking care to go around the leaves.
4. Finally, a sky is painted in the background.
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Line Pattern Leaf


This is a study of patterns that could be simplified for kinder and 1st grade students. I drew my leaf and filled it in, but a large template to trace might help younger students get started.
PREP: If you would like a leaf template to download, click HERE.
1. To begin, the students trace a real leaf or template in pencil near the top of the paper.
2. A stem is added at the bottom, and veins are drawn up the center to divide the leaf into many shapes.
3. The students fill in each section of the leaf with a pattern. Challenge them to think of as many different patterns as possible. A black ballpoint pen or a very thin black marker work best.
CA Visual Arts Standard: Kindergarten
2.1 Use lines, shapes/forms, and colors to make patterns.
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MiDesign at Michaels.com

I’m so excited that my friends at Michaels are allowing me to try out their online store called MiDesign, which is a great place to customize all kinds of gifts. I just ordered my Van Gogh Iris art on a stretched canvas frame, and can’t wait to see the final as the online preview already looks so good. I’m thinking this might be the perfect solution for those that want to turn class mural projects into finished goods for auctions or gifts of any kind. The art will need to be scanned or photographed in its finished state before you upload it, but after that the MiDesign site walks you through all kinds of custom options. And if you hurry, you’ll get 50% off. Have fun!
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How To Draw Another Turkey


Here’s another version of how to draw a turkey – a bit more realistic than my original post, but still very symmetrical and easy to draw. Just follow my 13 steps HERE and you’re on your way.


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Scratch Art Turkey

This scratch art technique is called “sgraffito’, and it works well with turkeys drawings that need lots of lines on their feathers.
1. I made a simple line drawing of a turkey (you can download HERE) as they are a rather unusual and complex shapes. Students trace the lines with a black Sharpie marker to thicken the lines. or draw their own for a moreie original picture.
2. The turkey is colored in with oil pastels. Important: this layer needs to be thick and it really helps to use some very soft oil pastels like the Portfolio brand.
3. The entire picture is colored over with a black pastel, pressing hard to cover as much of the first layer as possible.
4. With a wooden stylus or other sharp object like an embroidery needle, scratch away the black pastel to reveal the color underneath. Encourage the students to think about and change the direction of the scratching often to give their shapes more separation and dimension.
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How To Draw the Mayflower

In 1620, the Mayflower landed near Plymouth, Massachusetts. This amazing ship is made of dozens of sails, ropes, masts and windows. I simplified it so that students could focus on making the sails look like they were full of wind. This sample was drawn on Krafty Cardstock and colored with my favorite Reeves Coloured Pencils. Click HERE to view my 12-step tutorial.
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New Project HOPE Art Book

Want to read how Haiti children cook? Most recipes start with "First you build a fire..." Buy this book to find out more.
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Hand Colored Thanksgiving Day Cards


This is my gift to all you super-busy creative types who like to make homemade holiday cards, but have trouble finding the time. I used decorative letters from clipartETC.com and arranged them in a printable jpeg file.
1. Click on the image above to download. Print on a sheet of 8.5" x 11" cover stock.
2. Use ultra fine point markers to color in the letters.
3. Fold the paper horizontally and you are ready to add your greeting.
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Chalk Pastel Fall Landscape


This kind of loose, simple landscape lets chalk pastels do what they do best – make smudgy, soft colorful shapes.
1. Starting with an orange or yellow sheet of construction paper, students draw a horizon line a quarter of the way down the paper with chalk.
2. Three round circles for the trees are drawn and filled in with fall colors. Rubbing with fingers softens the shapes.
3. The background sky is colored and blended in.
4. A dark brown or black chalk is used to draw the tree trunks over the sky
5. The ground is filled in with three layers of chalk color, blended often to soften the edges.
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Layered Leaf Drawing

Metallic markers are great for adding a bit of “highlight” to any drawing or painting.
1. Draw many large simple leaves that are overlapping and even going off a sheet of paper.
2. Trace the lines with a black marker and color in with bright marker colors.
3. Add gold or silver Sharpie marker lines to the leaves as shown.
4. Use a thin marker to draw lots of lines in the spaces between the leaves.
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Layered Apple Basket

This basket of apples is a good project for young students that are ready to add layers to their artwork.
1. Draw the basket by starting with the top band that sits in the middle of the paper. Add the angled sides below and finish with the bottom band. Draw another band in the middle of the basket. Finish with the vertical lines.
2. Trace all the lines with a black Sharpie marker.
3. Add detail wood lines with crayon, preferably light yellow or white for contrast. Color small shapes like the leaves and stems with crayon.
4. Paint all with watercolor paint. This sample was made with the Dick Blick student brand
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Cardboard Weaving Necklace

I saw this project on Pinterest thanks to Artrageous Afternoon, and loved it immediately. It’s a great way to make a little weaving project have more life than just sitting on a shelf or wall somewhere.
1. Cut chipboard to 2.5" x 4.5" or so. Four notches are cut in the top and bottom. Use a hole punch to make holes as shown. I bought a heavy duty punch from Michaels to work on thick cardboard.
2. Students wind one strip of yarn around the cardboard, sliding in notches as shown. The beginning and end is taped to the back side.
3. Yarn is woven back and forth, tying off the ends and trimming when complete.
4. Beads are strung up on more yarn and tied to the bottom of the weaving.
5. A long strand of yarn is cut, strung through the top hole, filled with a few more beads, and tied to a good necklace length. I love how thrifty this project is. For the cost of a little yarn and container of beads, you have a great weaving project for an entire class.
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Friendship Bracelets


This project was a hit not only with girls but with boys as well. I think they are just “surfer” looking enough to work for both.
1. These bracelets are made with 6 colors, one for each letter in the word F-R-I-E-N-D. I cut about a yard of each color and taped them to the back of a piece of 8.5" x 11" chip board. I then taped the top down with the yarn lying smooth and placed a clip at the bottom. Keeping the yarn snug and in place while working produces more consistent knots.
2. The process of making the bracelet is releasing one yarn at a time from the clip, wrapping a double knot around each successive yarn, and then securing it to the board again with the clip. Here are some good instructions with 4-lines, but the process is the same. I've found after working with many 20+ classrooms that some students will learn the steps by seeing a large example done on a board, some may be able to work from a printout, and some will just need to see the steps one-on-one. Whatever the case, it just takes patience to get through the initial “I need help” phase.
3. When the bracelet is about 6" long, students tie a large knot at both ends, and then tie them together. This project takes a bit of prep time, but every year I am so happy I did it because of all the students that proudly wear their bracelets all around school.

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Pastel Tigers


Henri Rousseau was a French artist that lived in the late 1800s. He tried to paint in the schooled manner of the traditional artists, but the innocence and charm of his work eventually won admiration of many avant-garde artists.
1. Students trace a 6" circle in the center of a 9" x 12" sheet of paper.
3. Draw a simple tiger face, starting with two eyes, two lines going down the center, a upside down triangle nose and two circles drawn to the sides. Whiskers are added, then ears, body and tail. Lastly, triangles may be drawn all around the edges for a tiger look.
4. Daw lots of leaves, some that are in the back of the tiger and some are in front. This will make the tiger look like he is hiding in the leaves.
5. Trace all the lines with a black marker and then color everything in with oil pastels.
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Fall Oil Pastel Tree


I found this project on Artsonia.comI love how it makes students think of trees as a series of branches, and not just a fluffy shape that sits on a stick.
1. Students draw a large “Y” on their paper.
2. They add smaller “Y”  on each side, alternating as they go up each branch. To make the “Y”  the most realistic, they should be directed upward towards the sky.
3. When the lines are complete, they need to be thickened. The fattest part of the tree should be at the bottom trunk, and all the lines should gradually get thinner until they end in points at the top.
4. Lots of fall colors may be colored around the branches. I used my favorite Portfolio oil pastels.
5. The background may be added, with grass and shadow and sun and clouds.
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