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Fall Art

How to Draw & Paint a Turkey

How to Draw & Paint a Turkey

By on Nov 17, 2016 | 21 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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Rat Silhouette Template & Craft

Rat Silhouette Template & Craft

By on Oct 23, 2016 | 4 comments

I know. This doesn’t look like Patty. Truth is, it’s my favorite Halloween decoration. I discovered the craft in a Martha Stewart Magazine when my kids were young. I cut out Martha’s templates, arranged the colony of rats around doorways, staircases and floorboards and forgot about them. But lordy. When you open your front door and forget you were in a crafting mood the day before…yikes. These rats are deceptively life like! RAT CRAFT FOR KIDS It’s an easy project to do with kids but you need to tailor it just a bit. Here’s what I would suggest for older kids (8+): Photocopy the templates from the PDF resource below. Photocopy the black template directly onto white cardstock Carefully cut rats from cardstock. Arrange around room For younger kids (5-8 years), you’ll need to make the rats a bit bigger. Here’s what to do: Cut the grey scale template into 3 pieces with one rat per section. Photocopy the individual grey scale rats onto white paper. Make sure to enlarge at least 25%. The larger shape makes it easier for small hands to cut out. Place rat sheet onto black construction paper and tape the edges. This will result in a solid black rat. Kids can cut around the rat shape. Don’t worry about the whiskers or hairs. Too detailed for this age-group. Enjoy! GET THE TEMPLATE HERE: Click the BLUE box, enter your first name and email, check your email (including junk mail) and download...

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Contour Cat Watercolor Project

Contour Cat Watercolor Project

By on Oct 5, 2016 | 3 comments

The complementary colors of orange and blue are everywhere this fall season. And why not showcase these happy colors with a blue belly cat? A bit of doodling the other day prompted a quick contour drawing of this cute cat. Using the simple drawing handout,  children can free-draw their own contour cat to use as the subject of three watercolor techniques: Wet-on-wet watercolor (cat) Wet-on-dry watercolor (background) Wax resist (white outline and watercolor barrier) This lesson can be done in two steps. First, draw the contour cat with a sharpie on watercolor paper. Then paint the cat and background. Second, after the paint dries, add the pattern and lines. ART SUPPLIES waterproof black marker watercolor paper (90 lb) pan watercolor paints white crayon or oil pastel medium round brush water TECHNIQUES wet-on-wet wet-on-dry wax resist contour line drawing patterns, shape and line DRAWING DIRECTIONS Use the drawing handout as a guide to draw a contour line of a simple cat. Focus on drawing two ears, a head, a long neck, hunched shoulders, simple paws and a long, curvy tail. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. The fun part is drawing wonky lines! Draw two oval shapes for the EYES. With a white crayon, trace carefully along the outside of the black marker line. With a brush, touch the blue paint and dip into water so the clear water has a tint of blue. Brush water inside the contour line. With BLUE paint, start painting a LINE of color along the bottom of the cat. Hold paper upside down so that the blue drips and mingles towards the body. Continue painting the cat blue, allowing the paint to migrate down the paper using gravity. This is really fun for kids as they can see how the colored paint will travel to the wet areas. Paint outside of the contour line (NEGATIVE SPACE) blue’s COMPLEMENTARY COLOR (orange!) After paint dries, use the black marker to add a NOSE and a MOUTH. Fill the cat with patterns, lines and...

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How to Make a Papel Picado

How to Make a Papel Picado

By on Sep 30, 2016 | 3 comments

TRADITIONAL MEXICAN PAPEL PICADO Papel Picado is a traditional Mexican craft that features colorful paper sheets with intricate cut out details.  It was made by stacking many sheets of paper and using chisels to cut the designs. You can easily make your own Papel Picado by layering sheets of tissue paper and using scissors to cut the designs. EARLY FINISHER OR SUB PLAN PROJECT This is a great free choice activity or a lesson for a sub. Laminate the instructions and place on a table. Add a tray of pre-cut tissue papers, a bowl of scissors and allow the children to create a papel picado during free-choice time. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Colored tissue paper (12 x 9 approximately) Scissors Marker Yarn and Tape to display Papel Picados INSTRUCTIONS: Fold a piece of tissue paper (lengthwise) in half and then in half again. Make sure one side consist only of folds. Fold the long folded sheet in half. Mark a dot in the corner that is made up of folds. This helps the children recognize where not to cut. Just like cutting a snowflake, cut shapes along all four sides avoiding the area with the dot. To cut a shape from the middle of the rectangle, fold the paper in half again, and cut a shape into the fold. Unfold carefully and tape tissue paper to a long string of yarn. To make multiple panels from one cut, layer 2-3 sheets of tissue paper together ad tape (carefully) while cutting. INSTRUCTIONAL DOWNLOAD Would you like a copy of the instructions?  Click the red box below, fill out your name and email (careful with spelling!) and we’ll send you a free instruction PDF...

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The Sketchbook Project #3: Tree Line Drawings

The Sketchbook Project #3: Tree Line Drawings

By on Nov 27, 2015 | 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 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 | 5 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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