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Fall Art

The Sketchbook Project #3: Tree Line Drawings

The Sketchbook Project #3: Tree Line Drawings

By on Nov 27, 2015 | 1 comment

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 Today’s Project: Tree Line Drawings  Eloise Renouf is an illustrator based in the UK. I love her work. She has been the inspiration behind many of my art projects, especially the ones that involve printmaking and line. A browse though her Etsy Store shows her modern style. And it is her print of these color blocked trees that inspired this lesson. If this print isn’t charming enough, take a look at this one. THE PROJECT After two major projects under our belt, I wanted to offer my sixth graders a project that they could complete rather quickly. My thought was that any student who needed to finish their perspective landscape could still work on it. If they were done however, they could work on the new project. I’m just going to some straight out and tell you, although this project looks super easy and quick, it was a HUGE challenge. My instructions went like this: Draw “trees” with a Sharpie (draw trees without leaves) Draw larger trees near the bottom of the paper and smaller trees behind them Use watercolor pan paints to create a halo of color around the tree branches I demonstrated how to draw three types of trees. My instructions were pretty basic and I went quickly, assuming that most kids in 6th grade knew how to draw a tree. Not many did. What the kids did end up doing was drawing lots of scribbles and harsh lines. Here’s the thing. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of what appears to be easy or simple. This type of drawing (modern abstract) is not realistic so the kids can’t look at a real tree or photograph and draw what they see. They have to come up with an interpretation of a tree that requires contrast, nuanced lines and creativity. No small task. Still, some kids are great at copying, so their trees look pretty good. And the others benefitted from sitting down with me and breaking down the...

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Sugar Skulls & Day of the Dead Art Ideas

Sugar Skulls & Day of the Dead Art Ideas

By on Oct 5, 2015 | 3 comments

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 2nd. The holiday focuses on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In Mexico, Dia de Los Muertos is a National holiday. Families build private altars honoring the deceased and decorate with sugar skulls, Catrina dolls and marigolds. Many communities in the United States celebrate Day of the Dead, including my own hometown, Santa Barbara. Drawing and painting Sugar Skulls has become a very popular art and classroom activity, not only for the kids, but for me. I’m totally obsessed with the color of this holiday and I love the whole idea of celebrating and honoring our loved ones who have passed. One of my favorite lessons to do with older kids (grades 4-7) is to draw a sugar skull. I used a symmetry technique with my 5th graders but quite honestly, it can be a bit time consuming and a little confusing if you aren’t familiar with the process. Instead, I created a drawing handout which explains how to draw a sugar skull by using reference points. This is a fantastic drawing technique that can be use with any type of object but is particularly good with round shapes. Day of the Dead Picture Books Surprisingly, there are few picture books on the market that detail this colorful celebration but I’ve used a few of these with my art projects. Day of the Dead The Day of the Dead/El Dia de Los Muertos Clatter Bash! A Day of the Dead Celebration The Dead Family Diaz Festival of Bones     Here are a few Day of the Dead Art Projects for you to try: Torn Paper Calaveras (skeleton) with Marigolds Sugar Skull Collage with oil pastels and paint Perfect for grades 1-3 Sugar Skull Drawing with markers and painted paper flowers Perfect for grades 4-7 Day of the Dead Calaveras Drawing Project Perfect for grades 1-4   Your turn…. Do you celebrate Day of the Dead? Have you done a Day of the Dead art project with your students or kids? I’d love to hear how you celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Share your...

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Fall Leaves Print-Making Activity & Video

Fall Leaves Print-Making Activity & Video

By on Oct 1, 2015 | 26 comments

Need a beautiful, accessible project for kids? This fall stencil project is perfect. You’ll need to gather 2-4 leaves per child or about 50 leaves for a 25-student class so that each child has a couple of leaves to choose from.  Make sure the leaves are fresh, not the crispy dried ones that have already fallen. This is important as the paint must adhere to the leaf well and it will also ensure that the leaf doesn’t crumble. Are you ready? Watch this short (1 min) video to see how to create these beautiful leaves… This is what you’ll need: 1 peace of black paper (about 12″ x 15″) White liquid tempera paint or acrylic (I like temper best as it’s easier to clean) Flat brush or even a sponge brush Colorful tempera paints (warm or cool colors) Leaves Scraps of white paper Kitchen sponge for stamping This is what you do: Place a leaf and black construction paper on each child’s desk/place. Put a stack of scrap paper in the middle of the table. Place one palette of white paint with appropriate number of brushes in middle of table. Demonstrate how to brush the white paint onto the “rib side” of the leaf. Be sure to coat the entire leaf. Place painted leaf carefully on black paper. Cover with a scrap and gently rub the leaf until you are sure all the paint is rubbed on. Lift up the scrap paper then peel the leaf off the black paper. Wow! The kids think this part is amazing. I do, too. Repeat step 5 at least 4 times. Encourage the children to go off the edge of the page for an all-over look. After all the leaves have been stenciled on, bring out the palettes of colored paint along with some small cut-up sponges. Using just one sponge per child, dip sponge in colored paint and dab around leaves. Kids can use two colors, or more. Leave it up to them. Tips and Tricks Many art teachers and parents have asked whether or not they should apply the colored paint to the black paper first. You could but you wouldn’t achieve the cool black and white affect with the leaves. If...

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Fall Art Bundle & Watercolor Leaves Video

Fall Art Bundle & Watercolor Leaves Video

By on Sep 21, 2015 | 5 comments

  Raise your hand if Fall is your favorite time of year? Santa Barbara doesn’t experience Fall until well into November but I fake it by switching out my summer whites for long sleeves. And just because I can’t get enough of Fall and the beautiful leaves I imagine are falling in cooler parts of the country, I played around with my Faber-Castell Art Supplies and made this video for you… How to Draw & Paint Fall Watercolor Leaves Video Art Supplies If you are wondering what art supplies I’m using,  check out Faber-Castell’s line of children’s art products. I used them last Spring with all of my students and was so impressed. In this video I used the Watercolor Palettes and the Oil Pastel 12-pack. The oil pastels are the best I’ve ever used and the watercolors are more opaque than transparent so the effects are really brilliant. The watercolor paper is 90-lb Canson School grade watercolor paper. Autumn Art Activities I picked my most popular art lessons from my last 12 years of teaching art to create a Fall Art Bundle. This bundle is for everyone who would love their students to create these cool projects but needs a bit of help. I’ve broken up the projects into manageable steps, easy-to-duplicate templates and handouts and offer suggestions on how to scale the projects for both younger and older kids. Each lesson can also be purchased individually.       You can view each lesson right here: Watercolor Leaves Free Instructions and Watercolor Leaves PDF Autumn Collage Free Instructions and Autumn Collage PDF Funny Face Pumpkin Free Instructions and Funny Face Pumpkin PDF Scarecrow Project Free Instructions and Scarecrow Activities PDF   Happy Fall...

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Fall Tree Perspective Art Project

Fall Tree Perspective Art Project

By on Sep 9, 2015 | 6 comments

Drawing perspective is not always easy. It can be confusing to draw nature on a flat piece of paper. Quite honestly, I find it the most challenging art applications mostly because I don’t quite trust the “rules”.  It’s funny how that is. Rules and art don’t exactly feel like friends. But this lesson is a fun way to get kids thinking about what they see as opposed to what they think they see. Take it outside If you have lots of trees around you, take the children outside and lay down under the base of a large tree. It really works if the tree is the type that has a wide base and narrows as it grows taller. Not all trees are like this. Our school grounds have a few trees but they aren’t the best example for this lesson. The idea is to recognize that as a tree grows tall, it narrows. You can replicate this on a piece of paper with some oil pastels, some paint and a bit of black scrap paper. How to Draw a Bottoms-Up Tree Perspective Use a 12″ x 15″ piece of white paper (I cut mine down from a regular 12″ x 18″ sheet). Place oil pastel near the bottom right hand side of the paper (close to the middle) and draw a slightly curved line towards the opposite corner. Stop before reaching the corner (about a hands width away). Place oil pastel on right hand side of the paper about 2-3″ above the corner. Draw another curved line towards the opposite corner. Note: these two lines are not long. Now for the hard part: draw three main branches. I showed my students how to draw the branches so that the ends grow smaller. Smaller tree branches will extend off the ends. Most little kids in second grade will have a tendency to round the tips of the branches. So hard to remedy this! Using a small circle template or container top, trace a moon behind the tree branches. The moon can be as big or as small as you wish. Bigger is a lot easier. Paint the moon using white tempera paint. Using some brown, blue or purple liquid tempera paint, paint the tree and sky. If you have...

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How to Draw & Paint a Turkey

How to Draw & Paint a Turkey

By on Nov 5, 2014 | 17 comments

Need a quick and easy 40-minute art lesson for your Kinders or first grade class? For the last day of my Fall rotation, Kinders created these adorable thanksgiving turkeys. I hadn’t done a guided drawing lesson with this group yet, but since they have all settled down and have become quite good listeners, I figured a directed line drawing lesson was due. You’ll need a 12″ x 18″ piece of sulphite paper, black oil pastels, colored oil pastels, liquid watercolor paint, craft feathers, white glue and a small plastic container lid. Want to know where I get my supplies? Download this handy guide. Watch this short how-to video: How to draw a turkey… I must admit that my own version of a Thanksgiving turkey looks more like a peacock than a turkey, but at the time, it was the best I could do. I experimented with a few body shapes before deciding that tracing a container top was the best way to begin this lesson with my Kinders. I was not alone with this assessment. A group of students who like to help me prep in the morning all agreed that tracing a circle was not only far cuter than my previous sample and they liked the simpler lesson for their little buddies. Who’s to argue with sixth grade girls? Another KEY component in helping this project along was to fold the paper in half to create a crease line. You might think this is silly but for my group of Kinders, many have low spatial awareness and although we’ve been working hard on this, many drawings tend to start way at the bottom of the paper. Have you experienced this? Thought so.   Need a handout?   DOWNLOAD FREE DRAWING PDF FROM THE SHOP So, to draw a turkey…. Fold paper in half to achieve a crease line and place container template on top of the crease line. This helps not only center the turkey but sets the stage for the turkey’s size. Trace container top with a black oil pastel. Draw two dots for eyes and an upside down triangle for a beak. Place oil pastel on crease line right next to the head and draw a BIG, FAT belly. Go all the way around to the other...

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