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Easy First Day Art Project

Pen-and-watercolor-flower-project

Looking for an easy art lesson you can do on the first day of school? This simple line drawing teaches radial drawing, shape, line and watercolor techniques. Not bad for the first day, right?

I did this lesson last year with my third grade students but fourth, fifth and even sixth grade students would do very well with it. Younger kids may struggle with keeping the flowers big enough to paint. If you want to do a similar lesson with the younger set, pick one or two flower shapes, show a guided drawing and then paint away.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12″ x 9″ 90 lb watercolor paper
  • Pan watercolors (use liquid for the younger group)
  • Sharpie brand black marker or any other waterproof marker
  • Newspapers for table protection

Drawing the flowers

Watercolor-&-pen-flowers--drawing

watercolor-pen-flower-handout

You can use this handy Flower Idea Sheet if you are short on flower inspiration or just want to supplement.  I showed the kids how to start with a dot or small circle somewhere on the paper. Then, using the dot as a starting and stopping point, create a shape and repeat that shape all the way around the dot. The bigger the shape, the less petals you will make.

If you see some kids making some small petals, don’t worry. For this type of painting lesson, it’s okay to have small shapes.


 

DOWNLOAD THE FREE DRAWING GUIDE

 


Painting the Flowers

Watercolor-&-pen-flowers--painting-startegy

Using watercolor trays, instruct kids to start with one color and paint a few petals. In the photo above, the artist chose red. Using the colors on both sides of the chosen color, students can paint analogous or friendly colors. This is not the time to paint the petals in a rainbow of colors. It would take much too long. It’s also super helpful to show the kids how you can paint the entire flower with one color. No need to paint each individual petal; just paint the outline, then fill in the middle. The boys love this technique because wit’s really fast. This technique is also perfect for the kids who drew a thousand petals on one flower.

Painting the Background

Watercolor-&-pen-flowers--background

Once all the flowers are painted, use ONE color to paint the background. It helps if the flowers are dry so wait a few moments. Some kids will want to use more than one color. But you knew that, right. For these kids, challenge them by having them select analogous colors from the color wheel. Pretty, huh?

watercolor-and-pen-flower-gallery


DOWNLOAD THE FREE DRAWING GUIDE

What do you think?

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  • Charmaine

    What a great way to start the new year! I’m usually reluctant to get out the paints right away, but this I can doThanks for sharing!

  • Katherin

    I really love it.!! thank you so much.!

  • Carol

    Love this idea. I am going to expand the radial idea for my 5th and 6th grade boys to medieval shields. Just case they are not interested in flowers.

  • Sue

    Love this! Thanks for the freebies!

  • Moe

    Hi,
    I just did a back to school blog post about how as home educators we tend to forget about art class. Art seems to messy and did I say messy? This lesson looks easy and like a lot of fun. I have shared a link to your post and hope my readers will be interested in checking out the rest of your blog.
    Thanks,
    Moe
    Adoptive Mom Homeschooling An Only Child blog

  • egrace03@msn.com

    My daughter and I had so much fun with this lesson during our first week of Homeschool! Thanks, Patty!

  • Mohga

    Lovely and interesting lesson

  • YAZMIN MADELEINE TOLOSA

    Me encantan tus propuestas, esto será nuestra actividad de “sábado de arte” con mi hija, Un gran abrazo desde Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

  • Marilyn Gibbons

    is there any way I can get a full lesson plan for this lovely activity? It’s spring and I would like to do this with my 4th graders,

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