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Watercolor Projects

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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The Top Watercolor Techniques for Kids

The Top Watercolor Techniques for Kids

By on Nov 3, 2016 | 5 comments

Are you a new art teacher wanting to try a watercolor project with your students? Perhaps you’re an artist who is  teaching art to kids for the first time. Determining the best watercolor techniques for young children can be challenging. For children in Kindergarten through fifth grade, I have always found that its best to keep it simple. Here are my top 4 watercolor techniques that I use with children in grades K-6: Wet-on-Wet Wet-on-Dry Wax Resist Black Marker Last summer, I hosted a workshop for 200 teachers. I demonstrated a simple experiment that is great to try at the beginning of a watercolor unit. You can present it as a practice session before the real project but in fact, the resulting art can be quite beautiful. I did a version of this experiment with a group of 6th graders (age 11-12) a few years back as a practice for a detailed watercolor project. The experiment helped children identify the properties of watercolor paints and explore all the possibilities of what the medium can do. You can read all about my 6th grade watercolor experiment here. WHAT TO DO: I created a Cheat Sheet for you to download as a guide to help walk you through drawing the grid, the 4 techniques and what to say to the kids. I also included a few simple drawing prompts in case some kids get stuck on what to draw. We don’t want the drawing holding them up as the point of the lesson is to experiment. The first thing to do is to draw a grid. I demonstrated 4 techniques to my room full of teachers, but you can add or subtract techniques depending on the age of the children or just the complexity of the experiment. Note: The PDF demonstrates what to do. Work your way through each of the four techniques. I like to demonstrate ONE technique at a time and allow the children to work for 5-10 minutes on the technique before moving on. In elementary school, we are always looking for process-based art projects that lead to the development of skills and creativity. Understanding what mediums can do in order to fully express a child’s creativity is a part of this process. I encourage...

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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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Easy Watercolor Line Art for Kids

Easy Watercolor Line Art for Kids

By on Jun 2, 2016 | 7 comments

There’s something about the lure of summer to awaken your creative juices. My favorite illustrators like August Wren and Alisa Burke create art. every. single. day. I can’t even imagine doing that. Can you? But something inspired me this morning to turn off my computer, find a sketch pad and grab a box of watercolors. Usually I plan out what I want to paint, but today, I decided to paint as if I were a child being handed a tray of paint. What would I paint? What colors would I use? It ended up being nothing…just a series of lines and blobs. But that’s what a child would do. Well, actually they would most likely paint a rainbow or a flower or a lollypop tree…but if we said they could paint anything except those things. I let the paint dry and took out a Sharpie marker and drew a few lines. Not worrying about it needing to be something. And as it turns out, the painting did indeed turn out to be nothing, but it did its job. Tomorrow I will do it again. This time, I feel it won’t take as much energy to get started. WANT TO SEE ME IN ACTION? Here’s a 1 min video…   Want to create something with me? Paint or draw something tomorrow that could be used in your art class. Tag me on Instagram with #deepspacesparkle and let’s share some ideas!...

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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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“Antiqued” Oil Pastel Flowers in a Vase

“Antiqued” Oil Pastel Flowers in a Vase

By on Feb 12, 2016 | 8 comments

Recognize this beauty? This was the one of the first lesson I posted on my writing blog back in 2007 before Deep Space Sparkle existed. Such classics should be given due credit, don’t you think? Create this sophisticated bouquet with your little ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Here is a great way to teach watercolor resist. It’s simple and involves a surprise at the end. On the white board, demonstrate how to draw a vase, a table line, then circles for the center of the flowers. Give the students different options for drawing the petals. Ask the kids to choose a favorite color from the pastel palette with the rule that it should be a dark color. This helps the drawings stand out after the watercolor is applied. The kids then draw their vase, table line, flower centers, petals, leaves and stems. Using any color they wish, color in the shapes. When the kids are about halfway through their coloring (slow part), demonstrate the next step. This provides great motivation to complete the coloring portion. SCRUNCH THE PAPER Demonstrate how to take their beautifully colored picture and scrunch it. Because the paper is stiff, the kids literally have to sit on their crushed balled of paper or push really hard with their hands in order to get the required wrinkles. After smoothing out the paper, the kids apply a watercolor wash to the entire surface. TEACHING TIPS A tempera wash doesn’t work. Liquid watercolor is best. I put out two containers of wash; one brown and one blue. The kids can chose which one they like. When the wash settles in the wrinkles, it gives the picture an “antiqued” look. Do you have left-over coffee or tea? Try brushing the cold beverage over the paper to see what happens. The paper will become quite soggy, so leave on testable to prevent tearing when lifted. After the paper dries a bit, you can transfer tho a drying rack. For a more colorful version of a bouquet, try this Watercolor Bouquet project. Perfect for kids ages 7-10. ART SUPPLIES You’ll need a 12″ x 18″ piece of white drawing paper (76lb) Oil Pastels (non water-soluble) Blue or brown liquid watercolor paints Or cold coffee and tea  ...

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