we help adults teach art to kids

Watercolor Projects

Draw a Flower Garden

Draw a Flower Garden

By on Jun 4, 2017 | 2 comments

Who doesn’t love an easy project? This one Watercolor Flower Garden is as easy as you can get. All you need is a small sheet of watercolor paper, black waterproof marker, a white crayon and a few colors of liquid watercolor paint. Children draw a series of flowers to make a garden. The flowers don’t have to be complex…just a few simple circles with petals is all you need. You can download a drawing guide that will generate ideas quickly or you can have each child create their garden from their imaginations. After drawing with a black marker, outline each flower and the leaves with a white oil pastel or white crayon. This helps define the flower shapes even more. If a child wishes to have an area of the art stay white, encourage him to color the area our shape with the white crayon. Now for the fun part….dab, brush and dribble liquid watercolor paints over the entire drawing. No need to stay within the lines! Here’s a video to show the process… Need a drawing prompt? Here’s a drawing handout to download. Click on the YELLOW tab...

Read More

From Nurse to Watercolor Artist with Gina Lee Kim: AME 047

From Nurse to Watercolor Artist with Gina Lee Kim: AME 047

By on Mar 29, 2017 | 2 comments

Did you go to school for one thing only to end up doing something entirely different?  Most often these types of career pivots happen to us once we discover that we need to create. If you yearn to create art full-time but are in a job you know isn’t meant for you, Gina’s story will resonate with you. Gina shares what moved her to create art, how she got published in magazines and how it all lead to a book deal. Gina shares practical tips on how to keep inspired and how to work through obstacles. IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN: How Gina used art therapy with her patients Why it’s important to allow yourself to be a sponge for inspiration When Gina does her best work Why Gina loves watercolor paint and the secret benefits of painting with watercolor paints What gave Gina the bravery to pursue her artwork submissions Why it is important to carve out creative time How clutter can effect your creativity How Gina curates her studio space so that she is ready to create How organizing your supplies can re-acquaint you their purpose Why there is power in series work LISTEN TO THE SHOW Subscribe to Art Made Easy and receive new episodes directly on your phone via your podcast App.  Note: If you have an iPhone, subscribe in iTunes. If you have an Android phone, subscribe in Stitcher.   LINKS: Lisa Congdon & Kamala Chambers Thriving Launch podcast Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine Hidden Brain from NPR Abby Glassenberg’s While She Naps podcast How I Built This from NPR Brains On! from NPR Planet Money from NPR How To Be Amazing with Michael Ann Black Before Gina became a nurse, she took her first watercolor class at a local community college while working at a corporate job. She continued her watercolor obsession and taught children, youth and adult watercolor workshops as a volunteer for the Audubon Society. She continued to teach as a nursing student. Gina is currently working on a watercolor and mixed-media book which will be out February 2018 (NorthLight Publishing). Create with Gina! Join us at the Deep Space Sparkle Workshop. Connect with Gina Gina’s website Gina on Instagram Gina’s Twitter...

Read More

Watercolor Paints & Paper: What Works Best

Watercolor Paints & Paper: What Works Best

By on Dec 11, 2016 | 3 comments

Here’s a question I get asked a lot: Can I use regular paper with my watercolor paints? Or do I need to use watercolor paper? The answer is yes! I like using liquid watercolor paints (affiliate link) on regular sulphite drawing paper but it only works well for a specific result. Here’s a video to explain what the differences are: https://d11vly3u9uru85.cloudfront.net/2016-D/watercolor+paper+and+paints.mp4 Summary Sulphite paper is about 76 lbs and will soak up the watercolor paint quickly. This doesn’t make it an effective surface to promote color blending or using the salting technique. Watercolor is best for blending watercolors and adding salt for that lovely starburst effect because it has texture. This allows the watercolor paint to sit on the paper surface for a longer period of time to allow for the mingling. The biggest difference is using glitter watercolor paints on sulphite paper. The viscosity in the glitter watercolor seems to help the liquid stay on the paper’s surface long enough for an effective salting technique. Here are some projects that use liquid watercolor paints on regular sulphite paper: 1. Watercolor Castle for Kinders-Second Grade 2. Watercolor Sunflowers 3. Underwater Hippos for second and third grade Interested in experimenting with more watercolor techniques? DOWNLOAD THE WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUE CHEAT SHEET Just click on the image below, add your name and email and you will be sent the PDF via your email address (make sure to check you spam/junk mail folder). Note: You will also be directed to a Thank you page where you can see other freebies that may interest...

Read More

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...

Read More

The Top Watercolor Techniques for Kids

The Top Watercolor Techniques for Kids

By on Nov 3, 2016 | 7 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...

Read More

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...

Read More