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Art Lessons by Grade

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

By on Jun 13, 2016 | 4 comments

MATISSE’S GARDEN My favorite activity is popping into a book store to browse. I hardly do it anymore mostly because bookstores aren’t as plentiful. And doesn’t Amazon make it easy to buy your favorite books? But as I was walking down Sate Street last week with my daughter, we popped into The Santa Barbara Museum of Art book store. Nothing makes me happier than being immersed in colorful children’s book covers, except maybe art books written for children. Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman is a must have book for your art room library. It moves past Matisse’s back story and dives straight into the process of creating art, choosing colors and seeing art in a new way. And if you don’t have any of Matisse’s works of art nearby, there are eight reproductions you can use to show your students. Nice, huh? I love the illustrations by Cristina Amodeo. Perhaps a little less saturated than I prefer but still lovely and appealing. I was so inspired that I decided to draw my own little Matisse Garden inspired by Amodeo’s illustrations. Here’s a video that shows how to use basic markers to draw organic shapes and create a composition of your own. I used a simple sketchbook and Faber-Castell broad-tip markers. I tried really hard to leave the colors flat, like Matisse, but I couldn’t resist. In the end, I grabbed a Sharpie and outlined the flowers. I think you are either in one camp or another. I almost always outline but I love the organic beauty of not outlining, too. I know. So many tough decisions in art-making. Which do you prefer? Outlining or not?     SAVE THIS POST!...

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Santa Barbara Ceramic Tile Mural

Santa Barbara Ceramic Tile Mural

By on May 31, 2016 | 2 comments

Have you ever thought about creating a collaborative mural with you students? It helps not to think about the logistics. Just imagine how it would feel to walk inside a school courtyard and see a decade’s worth of murals peppering the stucco walls. Over the past ten years, I created and co-created over 13 murals. Want to see them? 2007 Ancient Greece Mural   2007 California Produce Mural 2008 Earth Science Mural  2008 Keith Haring Mural 2009 Literature Inspired Mural 2009 Butterfly Inspired Mural 2010 Nautical Mural 20111 California Marine Life Mural 2012 Ancient Greece Mural 2013 America the Beautiful 2014 Kimmy Cantrell-Inspired Mural 2015 Cars: Past, Present & Future  Mural I’m missing photographs of my very first mural–California Coastline. It was a biggie and the scope of the project almost deterred me from ever making mural again, but as you can see from the pictures above, that I did. If you want to make a mural like the ones above, I put together a How to Make a ceramic Tile Mural PDF packet. It details all the steps that go into making a mural like this one. The only steps I don’t cover are the installation. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in this type of installation,refer to a contractor in your area. Installations differ depending on climate and interior or exterior mounting.   2016 Ceramic Mural: Santa Barbara  For my last mural with the students at Brandon Elementary, the teachers chose the theme: Santa Barbara. Like all murals, we scheduled 45 minutes to explain the mural process to the kids, detail the theme and provide visuals for tile possibilities. I wanted to keep the mural-making simple this year as I wouldn’t be on campus to tweak and adjust, so we chose a grid style with collaborative tile groups as an option. This particular 6th grade class were highly individualistic and many chose to work alone.  You can decide if this is okay with you. Some years, we only offered collaborative grids within the theme and other years we chose entirely solo tiles. Most of the drawing day was spent trouble shooting groups, adjusting for the exact number of students and tiles (math plays a part here) and making...

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Sketchbook Project #8: Animal Eyes

Sketchbook Project #8: Animal Eyes

By on May 24, 2016 | 2 comments

The Sketchbook Project is a record of how my sixth grade students used sketchbooks during their art class to record art information and create projects. Learn how I used sketchbooks instead of individual sheets of paper to teach art & creativity. Week One: The Beginning Week Two: Creating Value Week Three: Atmospheric Perspective Week Four: Tree Line Drawings Week Five: Sonia Delaunay Abstract Art Week Six: Portrait Journalling Week Seven: Line drawings Week Eight: Farm Animals WHAT WE DID: Books have continued to be the most consistent source of art lesson inspiration for me. Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steven Jenkins (Amazon affiliate link) is an exploration of close-up images of various animal eyes. As the last project in our Sketchbook series, I still wanted the project to use art supplies that could be picked up at anytime so that the children could finish their artwork at home or during free choice class time. I set a variety of coloring tools on each table (markers, colored pencils and pastels) and allowed the kids to choose whichever medium they wanted. I also photocopied pages from the book so that the kids could select an animal eye that they liked as well as downloaded and printed a few photographs of close-up animal eyes to place on the white board. This provided enough examples of kids to start weeding through what appealed to them. Ad the kids moved through drawing and then to coloring, many students remembered my collection of metallic paints and asked if they could use them. The combination of a marker background with metallic paint details was really effective! OBSERVATION DRAWING Like many of the drawing lessons in this sketchbook series, the goal was not to provide guided instructions on how to draw an eye but rather encourage the students to select an animal eye and use a scaled-up method to create a composition on their paper. I asked the children to consider the eyeball the feature of the art project; to make it prominent and large enough so that even the smallest details can be seen. Truthfully, this is still a challenge for many students. If you find that some of your students are struggling to draw a large eyeball, offer a few randomly sized plastic containers for the child...

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Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

By on Apr 8, 2016 | 25 comments

This lesson was inspired by a lesson in The Usborne Book of Art Projects. It was a huge hit with my third grade class. The lesson in the book focused on fish but I thought a sea turtle would look lovely swimming in the glittery waters. Here’s How: Creating the Background There are a couple of ways to make the water background for the sea turtle and fish. One method is to use liquid or tray watercolors and table salt to make a traditional speckled background as shown above or you could use Mod-Podge and glitter liquid watercolor paints. To make a watercolor and salt background,  use 6″ x 9″ pieces of 90 lb watercolor paper and regular watercolor paints.  Wet the paper with a sponge or large brush, then mix blue and green watercolors onto the wet watercolor paper (wet-on-wet technique). Salting the surface will give the “ocean” a sparkly quality. I had some of the Mod-Podge glittery paints left over from the Fancy Fish Lesson, so I though I may as well use it up before it hardened and became unusable. The students brushed the leftover “glittery paint” onto a piece of blue or lavender drawing paper. The results were shimmery and ocean perfect. To make the glitter paint, combine a few table spoons of glitter liquid watercolors with about a ¼ cup of gloss Mod-Podge. Stir and use like regular paint. Drawing the Sea Turtle and Fish CLICK TO DOWNLOAD How to Draw a Sea Turtle Set the ocean paper aside and demonstrate how to draw some fish and sea turtles.  The idea is to keep the drawing very simple because the drawing will be created on tin foil. It may be helpful to do a practice drawing on a piece of paper cut to the same size of the tin foil. Use the drawing guide or show pictures of sea turtles and fish and allow the children to identify the basic shapes and colors from photographs. Coloring and Texture You’ll need some heavy weight tin foil (regular tin foil is fine), and some texture boards.  To make a texture board, cut heavy board (tag board, etc) into 9″ x 6″ rectangles.  Cut up old mesh vegetable bags and tape to cardboard. I made about 25 and had a...

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Ancient Dwellings Rock Art

Ancient Dwellings Rock Art

By on Mar 6, 2016 | 0 comments

This art project offers kids the opportunity to create their own rock art petroglyphs using terra cotta clay scraps and white paint. And the best part is that the project takes less than 45-minutes. To start, read your favorite ancient rock art book. I picked up a copy of Ancient Dwellings of the Southwest in Arizona but there are many other books that illustrate the art of our earliest habitants. This is a project that is perfect for air dry clay. Sometimes with air dry clay, the small details in a work of art can be chipped off, but this flat shape is safe from the typical perils of it dry clay. Purchase terra cotta clay and you’ll make the project even easier to do (and more authentic). I gave each student a handout of petroglyph drawings. If you don’t have one, you can download one from a site similar to this one or make your own. We practiced etching with a wooden dowel on clay and then they drew their petroglyph on their clay square (about 3″ x 3″). It would be far easier to just paint the image on the square but it didn’t really occur to me at the time, so etching is what we did. After the students etched their design, they use white underglaze to paint on top. If you are using air dry clay, using acrylic paint or even liquid tempera paint would work very well. I fired the clay rock tile since they were dry. No glaze is needed. Here’s what my group of second graders created: If you are looking for a more detailed lesson on cave paintings, take a look at...

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Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

By on Mar 4, 2016 | 2 comments

What you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper (or watercolor paper if you have it) Black water-proof marker (I use Sharpie brand) Watercolor paints (I use liquid watercolors but pan watercolors are fine) Colored markers Tissue paper Optional: small silk flowers, leaves or decorations Drawing the Dancers The steps for drawing the dancers are varied, depending on how you like to draw. For me starting with a letter “U” about a hands length down from the top of the paper works best. Some kids will draw this letter large and some will draw it small. The resulting figures will be based on whatever size created, so make sure you reinforce the notion that all sizes are just fine. I leave the face for now and go directly to the neck. After the neck, draw shoulders. I emphasize that the male dancers have broad shoulders and the female dancers have small shoulders. Next comes a trick I learned as a fashion illustrator. It brought about a few laughs but basically it gets the job done. Just below the shoulders, add two dots (one below the left shoulder and one below the right). So you can see why the giggles, but these dots are guidelines for the torso.From those two “dots”, draw a line, slanting inwards, to create the waist. For the female the slant is more exaggerated, for the male, not so much. Now that we have shoulders and a torso, its safe to draw arms. I give a few options here, so you might want to do the same. After the arms, draw a skirt or in the case of the male, a sash. Draw the legs and then go back and draw a head piece first then the hair. Facial features are next and then the background. I put up a few Tropical scenes to give the children ideas, but basically they knew what they wanted.     After the drawings are complete, use markers to color in any small areas. It doesn’t make sense to color in large areas with markers, as painting with watercolors is much faster. Hand out pans of watercolor paint. I had a few bottles of glitter watercolor paint and it worked really well with this lesson....

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