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Boats, Cars and Trucks

How to Draw & Paint Ferry Boats

How to Draw & Paint Ferry Boats

By on Aug 30, 2015 | 5 comments

Growing up on Prince Edward Island offered me the opportunity to travel to the mainland by ferry boat.  We loved discovering which ferry we would ride on and we knew each one down to the smallest details. This was usually the best part of our trip. I created this 5 minute video to detail a few features of my favorite ferryboat, The Abegweit. My first grade students had fun looking at a few James Rizzi prints, especially his ocean-themed painting. His animated style of drawing is perfect for kids. We used his ferry boat illustration as our inspiration for this watercolor painting project. To start, the kids looked a James Rizzi styled boats then got busy drawing. You can do a directed line drawing for the boat but I preferred to show the kids the various shapes involved and let them draw at their own pace. My first graders used oil pastels, liquid watercolor and pan watercolors on watercolor paper but you can easily use regular drawing paper, markers and even color pencils or crayons to color. The important part of this lesson is the drawing and learning how shapes combine to form recognizable objects. My advice is to try drawing a ferry boat using your preference for materials and see what happens. In the full version of this lesson, I give my suggestion for materials in order to scale the projects up or down for various grade levels. Using liquid watercolors, the kids painted the background first then used pan watercolors for the details....

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Happy Birthday, Winslow Homer!

Happy Birthday, Winslow Homer!

By on Feb 16, 2015 | 1 comment

About Winslow Homer Winslow Homer was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 24, 1836. His mother was a watercolor artist and taught Homer how to draw and paint. When Homer was old enough, he moved to New York City to make illustrations for a magazine. When the Civil War broke out, Homer was sent to the battlefields to draw what he saw. Homer liked to show the relationships between people and nature. He loved the outdoors and moved to Maine to paint. He is best known for his Seascapes which are paintings of the sea. He is famous for capturing the many moods of the ocean from the clod, grey waters of New England to the warm waters of the Caribbean. Over my dozen years of teaching art, seascapes remain one of my favorite subjects to teach. I grew up near the ocean and love the changing moods, colors and textures of the sea. Drawing clipper ships, sailboats and viking ships have become a standard lesson for my 5th graders. It’s easy to tie in a clipper ship or sailboat with Homer. Using watercolors like Homer did offers the opportunity to teach the many colors of blue. Here’s an exercise to try: With a pan of watercolor paints and a small piece of watercolor paper, ask your students to paint as many different variations of blue on their paper. At first, you’ll get a small range of royal blue and turquoise. Basically the paint colors that are available in the palette. Now introduce black. Swirl paintbrush into the blue paint and make a puddle in the tray. Dip brush in the black and add a very small amount to the blue. The kids just created navy blue. Next, try something a bit different. Make a small puddle of blue paint in the tray cover. Clean brush then swirl in orange paint. Mix the orange paint with the blue puddle. What color forms? Navy. Mixing complementary colors is a great way to show how to add depth and mood to a seascape. My favorite Homer-Inspired Art Lessons (Top left) Chalk Sailboat from Beyond the Basics e-course. Students draw a sailboat on one paper and a chalk seascape on the other. The sailboat is cut away from...

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Truck Shape Art Project

Truck Shape Art Project

By on Sep 29, 2013 | 15 comments

Diving straight into a messy art project at the beginning of a school year might be crazy, but I do it anyway. I adore watching kids paint and they love to do it, so it’s a win-win. This painted paper lesson has huge benefits: teaches little kids how to hold a brush, how to make big brush strokes, how to follow a set of instructions and how to create texture. And that’s just for step one. The biggest challenge begins on step two when the kids are asked to turn various rectangles into shapes. Here’s what the Kinders did in the first two weeks of art class: Creating Painted Paper I have many projects and even a full, lesson plan PDF covering how to make painted paper, so I won’t go into the details in this post. The paint set-up is just slightly different for this project compared to many of my other painted paper projects. I used plastic cards, toilet paper rolls and sponges to use as texture tools instead of rollers. Children created two painted papers each. After the paper dries, sort the paper into colors. Cut each color group into various size rectangles. I cut small rectangles (for wheels), medium size (for cabs) and big for the main parts of the trucks. Place a variety of sizes and colors into tin-foil trays for table groups. Making the Trucks On the second day, the Kinders sat in front of me on the floor. I showed them drawings and photographs of big rig trucks, firetrucks, delivery trucks. If you have time to read a book, I’d recommend Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail by James Horvath. The kids will love it and the book will help identify the names of the common vehicles on a construction site. We talked about the basic components of a truck: the cab where the driver sits, the body of the truck, the wheel base and the wheels. We counted wheels on some of the trucks in the picture (and a few kids doubled that sum to figure out how many total wheels the truck had). Then, I pulled out the rectangles and demonstrated how to create a truck. To make wheels, I cut circles...

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How to Draw a Truck

How to Draw a Truck

By on Feb 23, 2012 | 13 comments

Drawing trucks is one of my most requested how-to-draw subjects in art class. I love the stories of the people who drive them, the cargo they haul and the best question of all…where are they going?  Inspired by the incredible picture book,Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell and illustrated by Megan Halsey, my fourth grade students created amazing trucks and placed them on colorful collage backgrounds–just like in the book! A surprise for you… Read my interview with Megan Halsey in my next post for a chance to win this fabulous book! Supplies 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper black waterproof marker (Sharpie brand is good) pencil and erasers small plastic salsa cups or other small circle shapes watercolor paints crayons markers scissors & glue Colored background paper/assorted craft paper Drawing the Truck Don’t let the supply list intimidate you. Most of the materials are needed for the background so if you want/need to simplify things, you can do part one of this project (drawing the truck) and be done with it. Start with a pencil and draw two circles near the bottom of the paper. Of course, how far apart you draw these circles depends on the type of truck you wish to draw. For the army  jeep, the circles are close together compared to the 18-wheeler (top). Here’s a tip: to start the drawing off, most kids need a little help. I did this lesson with two, fourth grade classes. The first class I showed the kids how to draw a good circle starting with a small circle and then slowly making the circle bigger. Circles are tough, though and many, many kids got frustrated with their circles. To remedy this, I showed the next class the option of using a plastic cup to trace a circle. It proved to be a good starting point for all kids and even a few chose not to use the cups. If time is an issue, or if you have a large class like me, give the kids the cup option. It really with the progression of the class. Once the circles (wheels) are drawn, the next thing to draw is the line between the two wheels. This is the...

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Watercolor Clipper Ships Art Lesson

Watercolor Clipper Ships Art Lesson

By on May 5, 2011 | 9 comments

Clipper ships glide over the ocean at top speeds. The tangle of nets, ropes and sails, however, can make drawing a clipper ship daunting. Breaking down the ship’s parts into basic shapes helps with the drawing efforts.  By the end of the drawing lesson, my students felt empowered with their impressive achievements. I detailed the drawing steps and watercolor techniques in my Watercolor Project Booklet. I altered the watercolor steps only slightly; using liquid watercolor for the ocean/sky and pan watercolors for the boat. I liked the combination as using liquid watercolors speeds up the process but the pan watercolors allows for a lesson in mixing. Best of both worlds! Here are the wonderful results from my fifth grade students…...

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Sailboat Monotype Art Lesson

Sailboat Monotype Art Lesson

By on Mar 11, 2011 | 20 comments

I have an artist friend, Karyn Walsh, who specializes in monotypes. Our kids used to sail together in Santa Barbara and as we watched their races from shore, Karyn would tell me about her art and the process of creating a monotype. Ultimately, it was the element of surprise and the texture that appealed to her.  After doing this art lesson with my students, I finally understood what she meant. Karyn describes what a monotype is. For this project (which I’ve seen other art teachers do), I selected the standard sailboat partly because that’s what Karyn often did and because sailboats are an easily recognized shape, no matter how you draw it! This is what we did: This was a great lesson in many ways. First of all, it was quick. Most kids finished within the 45-minute time frame. You can see that I offered the opportunity to outline the sailboats with black paint. Some kids did, some didn’t. Personal choice. The important part of the project is making sure the kids follow the painting order: ocean, sky and then sailboat. Sometime the reflection “worked” and other times it didn’t. Either way, it was so fun watching the anticipation on the kid’s faces as they unpeeled the folded paper. I experimented painting the sky and ocean with watercolor paints. The w/c paints dried quickly and the results were great, but to be honest, I wanted to keep the supply list simple. I was feeling seriously lazy that day. Painted Paper did this lesson as well. Check out her adorable steamer ships. Third Grade Monotype...

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