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Fairy Tale Kings and Queens Art Project

Continuing along with my Fairy Tale Royals art unit, fourth grade students used the classic double-loading paintbrush technique and drawing with black paint to create these stunning Fairy Tale Royals.


12″ x 18″ white drawing paper

Black liquid tempera paint

Tipped brushes


Starting Off

To begin, hand each student a piece of 12″ x 18″ white drawing/construction paper. Place small tubs of black liquid tempera paint (mixed with a bit of water) and small tipped brushes on each table. For a table of 5-6 kids, I place two containers of black paint. For ease of prep, I keep this black paint stored in small yoghurt containers with lids in my cupboard, and pull out whenever needed.

Drawing with Black Paint

I demonstrate how to begin the drawing using black paint. I tell the children that the trick to painting with black paint is to not be fearful of mistakes. If a line is drawn that you don’t like, keep going! Once dry, the black lines are fairly easy to cover with thick tempera paint.

So to begin, draw a large letter “U” in the middle of the paper. Next, draw the crown.After the crown comes the neck and shoulders. Finally the hair and face. It’s really important for the kids to keep the drawing simple at this stage. Just the basic outlines and no details. Not even the face if they can help it.

Double Loading Painting Technique

Use tempera paint that hasn’t been watered down–in other words, straight from the bottle! Use a medium sized brush and dip brush into one paint color. Without swirling or stirring, dip the brush into another color. There should be two colors on the paint brush.

Take the double-loaded brush and paint onto paper. Lay down the paint in a single stroke, resisting the urge to blend the colors too much. You can do this of course, but it looks so cool to see both colors on the paper. It’s that simple!

To see a demo of the double-loading technique, click here.

Painting Order

I instruct the kids to paint the face and neck first, then the clothes and hair and finally the background. For the crown I set out a few trays of gold and silver tempera paint. It looks amazing with this project but if you don’t have metallic paint, don’t worry about it. As an alternative, you could embellish with gold glitter.

Black Outline

Nothing makes a painting look complete quite like outlining with black paint. You’ll need the same black paint and small brushes and some patience. Kids at this stage sometimes rush the project because they can feel how close they are to finishing. I really encourage them to take it slow. Often, they’ll bring their work to the drying rack and show it to me. In 75% of the cases, I’ll ask the kids to trace over a few more lines. They are always pleased that they did.

Fourth Grade Kings and Queens!

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  1. These are adorable!!!! Love this painting idea, esp for little ones!

    stacy spangler

    January 10, 2012

  2. These are gorgeous and regal! I love how each one has it’s own personality. Great work!


    January 10, 2012

  3. Just started this project with my 4th grade and they are SO engaged…I can’t wait to start the painted techniques! Thank you so much.

    Erika Gallo

    March 8, 2012

    • Your welcome! I loved this lesson. Easy and fast. Nothing better than that!


      March 8, 2012

  4. What do you do with all the leftover mixed paint pallets? Do you just wash the paint away? Do you mix the colors and save the paint? I would hate to just dump the paint because it has other colors mixed in to it…but I have no clue what to do to save it. Thanks!!


    August 16, 2012

    • Hi Stephanie,
      For this painting technique, its not worth my time to save the paint. I just wash out the palettes. if you are worried about conservation, don’t add to much paint to the palette.


      August 17, 2012

    • Sometimes I will let my 4th and 5th graders paint “graffiti” on bulletin board paper (I have an old, donated roll of white paper) with leftover paints. Also, mixed paint makes fun “painted papers” for collages.

      Ms. Art

      October 25, 2012

  5. How long did this project take with your fourth graders?


    August 30, 2012

  6. Do you think this would work out on 9×12″ paper or do you think the bigger 12×18″ paper is necessary? Thanks!


    September 9, 2014

    • The larger size paper is more standard and is easier for younger children to paint (larger shapes= easier to paint). You can always go smaller though!

      Patty Palmer

      September 9, 2014

  7. Hi,
    When doing the double loading technique, do you instruct specifically what colors to use, for the skin tone for instance, what do you have them use?
    And does that apply for the rest of the painting as well?

    Krisse Banas

    September 12, 2014

    • No, I don’t tell the kids what colors to use but I do demonstrate. I place 6 colors in a tray and encourage the kids to experiment with the double loading. By the time kids are in 4th grade, they know how to make colors, so specifying isn’t necessary.

      Patty Palmer

      September 12, 2014

  8. How would you change or simplify for first graders studying fairytales?

    Art Amy

    May 3, 2017

  9. I don’t know why I am so scared for my students to use tempra paints! I think it is because I want to save the paint after they use it but it will be mixed together and messy by the end of class, it won’t make sense to save it. Do you just put enough paint out for one class? What if you have paint left over? Do you just throw it away?

    Pari Sadeghi

    May 11, 2017

    • There are many ways to distribute paints. You can use plastic containers with lids and place one brush in each color. The kids use one brush per color.
      Give it a go and experiment. Good luck!


      May 12, 2017

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