Nature Anatomy book review and art projects from Deep Space Sparkle

Inspired by Nature Anatomy & Summer Art Ideas

Book review of Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman and see what art projects the book inspired...Win a copy of Nature Anatomy!

How many times have you done a lesson on a butterfly and your second graders know more about butterfly anatomy than you do? I used to struggle to remember whether the body was called a thorax or abdomen. I fear no longer.

This book is your side-pocket secret to enhancing any art project. Want to name the insects in this bug drawing project?  This book will help. Doing a Homer Seascape and need the names of cloud formations? This book has you covered. You see, what I love most about Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World is that it helps you sound you a wee bit smarter than what you really are. It gives you a leg up on your pint-size audience.

I’m no stranger to Rothman’s books. My copy of Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life is dog-eared and paint splattered. I have used this book for countless art projects from pigs to barns to cows to sheep. Nature Anatomy promises to be a similar source of art project inspiration.

Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothmans. Art projects for kids inspired by the book  

Art Projects inspired by Nature Anatomy

Black-eye susan watercolor project inspired by Julia Rothman's Nature Anatomy

I have two quick and easy projects to show you that were inspired by a few pages in the book. The first is a simple watercolor drawing. I’m using two products that are new to me.

The first is watercolor pencils by Faber-Castell. I remember when I first started teaching, there was a box of watercolor pencils in the art cupboard. I experimented with them but found that you had to press hard to achieve any amount of color saturation. Not great for kids. Faber-Castell’s pencils are so much better. They color easily without having to press too hard and even come with their own pencil sharpener which is good. They also come with a brush. Throw that out or use it with your glue because it is terrible.

For the brush, I used Royal Langnickle’s Aqua Flow brush. To use this brush, you fill the cartridge with water and squeeze the water gently. No need for a tub of water while you paint. And the brush point is glorious. Think of the possibilities…road trip with Nature Anatomy, watercolor pad, watercolor pencils and an Aqua Flow brush. Watercolor paintings on the fly! Okay. Ready to see the project videos?


This next project is super fast and uses my favorite supplies: painted paper. My daughter Elly has been busy the last few days creating sheets of painted paper for my upcoming workshop. I swiped a fuchsia paper from her stack and started doodling a butterfly (actually a moth) with a sharpie marker. I liked it so much that I decided to do a quick video of this project as well.


Butterfly drawing project inspired by Julia Rothman's Nature Anatomy

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  • Jen

    I love letting my daughter free paint with a big cardboard box a bottles of half used paint. Last year she was completely covered and surfing in it by the end!

    • Debbie Molnar

      I love playing in paint with my kids. We just painted a Tree of Life in the style of Gustav Klimt! I think we’ll try the black eyed Susan project next. I love the long lazy days, tomato sandwiches and catching fire flies! Have fun!

    • Brandi Hoxie

      My favorite art project this summer has been patriotic themed watercolor paintings.. Prang watercolor is my #1 choice… I am fascinated with miniature paintings in sizes 4X6 and 5×7. They’re funky and fun!

      • Robin

        I love bubble printing using liquid watercolors and no more tears shampoo mixed in a large bowl of water…cut a small hole in a straw to help young children avoid drinking the bubble mixture:) Blow bubbles in the bowl until it makes a mound of them, then place paper on top to catch colorful bubbles…a fun activity to do outside on those sunny days of summer:)

  • Mandy W

    I love art journaling right now. And I love all the different applications for Mod Podge!

  • Tess

    my personal favorite art projects are sewing myself new clothes or alfresco watercoloring 🙂 with my nephew this summer, I want to try your jellyfish project- it’s so gorgeous!

  • Michelle

    We just moved to a little hobby farm. Looking forward to putting together nature journals for our girls to sketch all their discoveries this summer!

  • annabelle

    Take things slow, that’s what I want to do this summer….blackberry picking, read and read some more, catch fireflies, watch the garden grow, make homemade ice cream, and whatever art appeals to us.
    This book looks great, thank you for sharing!

  • Kellie

    Last October my daughter and I started to work through Carriker’s “Creating Art at the Speed of Life” using her art journal lessons to spend creative time together. Ironically, we worked through the first 5 lessons, and then the speed of life took hold and we haven’t finished. We are both anxious to get in the studio and work together again after a busy (but enjoyable!) school year. I’ve never had the opportunity to look through Julia Rothman’s books, but I will remedy that soon! Happy summer!

  • Nancy

    My favorite thing to do in the summer is scrapbook, but I also take the time to try and figure new paper piecing projects for my younger classes with my stash of stuff!

  • Shannon Kerscher

    i love the black eyed Susan project. I would like to do something similar with the watercolor pencils, but with shells!

  • Allison

    I have two daughters, ages 7 and 12, and we try and do an art project a couple times a week. Our favorite one this summer, so far, was making a watercolor solar system.

  • Rhonda

    We love using warm crayons and markers to color and doodle and create. I am slowly starting to start an art journal. We love to create a lot in the summer!

  • Tasha

    I love rock painting and and bubble painting outside.

  • Krista White

    My husband and I are both elementary art teachers, and we have been doing lots of printmaking with our daughters this summer to prepare for a printmaking workshop we taught to teachers in our district yesterday 🙂

  • Carol Wiltse

    After spending all school year developing and making sample projects for my classes, I just want to do my own art during the summer. I love watercolors, oils, colored pencils, and clay. I also enjoy making jewelry, quilts, and scrapbooks. The one month that I get off is just not enough!

  • Jennifer Riley

    I enjoy watching the boys do pretty much anything art related. Our favorite things to use are paint and oil pastels. I love when a simple project turns into hours of creating because they are so into it! Thanks to your great lessons, my walls are covered with tons of beautiful artwork 🙂 One cool thing we discovered this summer is how fun it is to color with wet sidewalk chalk…it’s so smooth, it’s great!

  • Charlotte

    I’m working on Nature Journaling with my kids this summer, hopefully year round.

  • Tami Cline

    My favourite project in summer is a paper mache with a water balloon base. we mache with a diluted white glue and newspaper or for lighter airier projects tissue paper. I’ve used this as a basis for a mini hot air balloon sculpture, a degas inspired dancer (we used acrylic paint to decorate the balloon before adding the glue and tissue layer once dry the designs transfered to the open inside of the dress, and I’ve added yarn, ribbon and strips of crepe paper to create jelly fish. This year I’m considering an octopus variation.

    This summer my favourite art product is alcohol ink and water wash. It’s what I’m gravitating towards in my own work.

  • Michelle Gifford

    I’ve never done specific art projects with my girls before in the summer. They both love to draw and paint with their own ideas. But now, my twin 7 year old daughters are the same age as the students I have as a 2nd grade teacher. So, I am thinking that I might try out some of the many DSS lessons that I have purchased but have not tried yet in the classroom. My girls will have fun, and I’ll get to test my teaching with a small and special audience!

  • Amber Andrews

    My favorite summer art project is tie dyeing! Because it’s great for helping kids to read and follow directions, as well as learning how to twist and tie the items to get the design they want, and about complimentary colors. Plus you get a cool piece that you can wear!

  • Leah

    I plan on working on a glass and tile mosaic and doing some mixed media pieces. I haven’t done art for myself since college. It’s time to start!!

    • susan

      This was my first year teaching art and this site has helped me so much. I would love this book both for my students to reference and to inspire me as I continue my art teaching journey!

  • Karen Breedlove

    I have always dreamed of learning to watercolor paint and am going to attempt it this summer. I am not an art teacher, I teach first grade, but use your lessons with my kids. They always turn out wonderfully!

  • brenda

    Hi, Im totally getting that book right away!! I love your butterfly project and will try that with my kids this summer. The best thing about summer art with kids is my outdoor class room on a small lake and working with objects found in nature.

  • Vanessa

    We love getting a pile of picture books by our favorite illustrators and trying to draw trees, animals, flowers, etc in their style. We use markers for this, but our favorite art supply to play with is watercolors.

  • Coralys M. Rolon

    This summer is full of art in our home. We move to country and the kids are happy with the nature around. We use papers, colors, scissors everything that help with build what is their imagination. We will love this book because they like to draw and learn about nature.

  • Janice

    This summer, I am really into mail art. I am a third grade teacher and a few of my students asked me to be their summer pen pal. I needed to spice it up for my own enjoyment, so I have been illustrating the envelopes.

  • HMenier

    What lovely books, we have been taking art on the go. I have pre-made watercolor sets already on paper to grab and use when inspiration finds us, or the wait at the restaurant is too long. Just take watercolor paper any size, put dabs of watercolor paint from a tube across the top of the page in different colors. Let them dry overnight. Each page is a portable paint and palette, all you need to carry in your bag/purse is a brush and a small plastic container for water, like a tiny tupperware container. At restaurants just use the water glass. Instant fun! Cut the palette off when you are finished. Make them postcard sized to send them to friends and family (even yourself) from you favorite vacation spots.

  • Connie Copenhaver

    My nearly three year old Grandsons love our butterfly garden.
    The butterfly project with the painted paper would work out very nicely.
    We could hang them on our summer patio with streamers to sway in the Okkahoma wind.

  • Rachel S

    This summer I hope to narrow down my focus and object for my blog creating with my children! Love your ideas!

  • Amy Rech

    I am an art teacher for grades k through 8 and I absolutely love your blog! My favorite medium is watercolor and I always look to your site for new ideas:) thank you for always sharing your brilliant art creations!!!

  • Jennifer M Smith

    I love sunflowers and the black-eyed susan paintings. Usually, I plant them in the spring outside my art window and we have wonderful flowers to paint in the fall! Thank you for recommending these books. The students are always successful doing these drawings and paintings.


  • Lori

    I love using oil pastels with all of my students. They have such an intense, rich bold look and color to them! I love when children outline their drawings with oil pastels!

  • Meredith Winston

    Hi!! Thanks so much for a chance to win!! Those books look GORGEOUS! And I have a similar (different brand) watercolor brush and I take it with me EVERYWHERE! It’s so great!! I am a homeschool Mom and we did a project that was inspired by Eric Carle in which we painted tissue papers like he does and cut them up to make animal collages. The kid thought it was SO fun and they thoroughly enjoyed the process of making different patterns, colors, textures on the tissue paper. We also LOVE LOVE LOVE to watercolor and use all kinds of mediums to do so.

    Thanks again for the chance!

    Meredith Winston

  • Katie Porter

    I’ve been enjoying doing zentangles lately. I also love watercolor painting. I want to play some with combining the two this summer. This book looks amazing!

  • Kim N.

    In summer we work in the garden and I love to do botanical drawings of the flowers we grow. I have been thinking that I need to do that with some of my elementary classes but was not sure how I would approach it. The Black Eyed Susan project is my answer! That aqua flow brush is amazing. Thank you for sharing this and so many other wonderful ideas!

  • Shannon

    My favorite summer project with my 2 year old is ice painting! I mix up a simple batch of colored ice cubes using food coloring, water and popsicle sticks in an ice cubed tray. Once they’ve frozen, I grab a tarp, a giant piece of watercolor paper, our frozen palette and my creative little shadow and head outside. We have lots of fun getting messy and best of all, if they end up in her mouth, I don’t panic.
    Thanks for all your wonderful resources Patty!!


    I completely agree with you about the watercolor pencils! You just have to get the right kind and they’re magic! I’m trying out a new project in my studio right now, trying to make 3-D (ceramic) mandalas and then twisting them to make sculpture. It’s been really relaxing and getting me closer to finally breaking in my kiln.

  • Stephanie Morency

    Our favorite art project (so far) this year has been painting with frozen paint cubes. It’s been HOT here lately, so anything that cools us down so we can go outside for awhile has been great. Our favorite art supplies are liquid watercolors and oil pastels.

  • Sherri

    I was so excited to see these materials! I had bought watercolor pencils and the water brush for a trip to Rome this past February and had a great time sketching and painting. Can’t wait to try some of this with my kids. My goal for this summer is to try working with layering acrylics. Your work is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jill

    Love seahorse art! I use Eric Carles me seahorse and always use crayon resist with watercolors!

  • Elyse

    My summer plan is to encourage my kiddos to create art by giving myself permission to create art when inspiration strikes.

  • Melanie

    I love the black eyed susans and butterfly – fabulously fun! I have just started your Art 101 course, so I am having the best time following along with your lesson demonstrations and creating my own examples for my students. I’m SO excited for the upcoming school year and can’t wait to put all I’m learning into action! Thanks for sharing!! Blessings. 🙂

  • Lissa

    This is an awesome book. I am a preschool teacher and mixed media artist, and can use this book both at home and in school. The children would love to look at it. We have several art centers, with lots of recyclables, they are buzzing with children all day long… I would love this book!

  • Amy

    Thank you so much for posting these videos! It’s so nice to see the projects in action and I am excited to try water color pencils with my kindergarteners. We do a unit in the spring called Wonders of Nature: Plants, Bugs, and Frogs. We will definitely do the painted paper butterfly and would love to do more nature art! A million thanks!

  • Becky

    My 7-year-old granddaughter just watched both videos with me and is so very excited to try both projects! As I write this comment she is drawing a street of houses, inspired by Mr. Plumbean in the book, The Big Orange Splot.

    Thanks so much for inspiring both of us!!! We would love to win a copy of the book.

  • Amy

    My favorite product: Sharpies! This summer I want to go through our six main units and be sure we have two or three really great art projects to go with each one. I want to be planned enough that when parents ask if there is anything we need, I’ll know what to say. 🙂


    I love to paint, sew, and take tons of pics in the summer! Right now my son and I are painting a world map onto a pallet “canvas” we made together! Thank you so much!!

  • Shannon Finley

    My sons and I LOVE Crayola’s 3-D sidewalk chalk! Using the entire driveway and patio as our canvas, we draw pictures, messages to greet Daddy as he returns home, and game boards. Before I know it, half the neighborhood’s kiddos are drawing on our drive. It’s so much fun to watch them jump around with the 3-D glasses on and interacting with their art! It has become one of our favorite sunny day activities.

  • Tehila

    I bought by children each a sketchbook and we’re just drawing something every day. Maybe it will turn into a book, maybe we’ll chronicle what we see, I want to just try to inspire self-motivated creativity.

  • Elizabeth Messick

    Making home made books and journals is a favorite summer activity. This summer I am also making fabric books and sewing repurposed clothing. I am also leading and arts and spirituality camp for kids – this is all volunteer time, so you all keep me in your thoughts!! Thanks for all your wonderful and inspirational ideas!

  • Linda Waselkov

    This will be a great addition to our nature studies in science lab. I like the control and colors from the watercolors–so much more “grown-up” looking than the markers the children often use.

  • Diane Mahr

    Preparing for a week of art camp! Looking forward to using some of your ideas from your recent post on art camps. Planning for 2 separate age groups – will let you know how it goes and send pics!

  • jen M

    I’ve always wanted to watercolor. This looks like the perfect way to start and end up with something nice! My son has a new book on drawing birds that he will be working on this summer.

  • Liz

    I love your site. I use many of your ideas and have bought your books. Thanks. I love the black eyed Susan’s but we can’t get all the art suppplies you use. Budget are getting tighter. It’s sad to see testing squeezing out the arts which are so very important for children to do well in school. Not sure why the powers to be can’t understand that. Love your butterfly too. My kids loved painting paper.

  • Alisha palmer

    I already love using watercolor pencils but have been looking for some project inspiration I can use with my kiddos! This book would be great!

  • Janine

    I adore your Black Eyed Susan project! My favorite summertime art supplies just happen to be my Farber Castell watercolor pencils and a medium-sized “XL” mixed media sketch book. I’m constantly inspired to recreate the beautiful scenes of summer spotted on morning walks or meandering through the garden, so I feel like the pencils and the small format are the perfect outlet. Thank you for the chance to win Julia Rothman’s book — I’m positively fawning over it!

  • Jennifer Eagle

    My favourite summer art project is your watercolour fish lesson, but the clipper ship one is a close second. I think liquid watercolours with black oil pastels are my favourite!

  • Mary Beth Blaauw

    I set up our plastic easel in the backyard along with a variety of watercolors and tempera paints, and string a clothesline between two trees. My children then explore the yard looking for items to study and paint…flowers, plants, bugs, the neighbor’s dog, anything that strikes their fancy. They paint on large paper and hang the masterpieces on the line to dry. My yard looks like a museum! I love looking at all that kid love swaying in the warm breeze on a sunny summer day! The paint eventually ends up (on purpose) on fingers and toes, and my favorite artists leave colorful handprints and footprints down the walk on their way to cleanup and explore color mixing in the kiddie pool. What a perfect summer day!

  • Nora

    Thank you for this great giveaway but even more so for your wonderful recommendations and project ideas!

  • Lois

    I love your website and use many of your lessons in my classroom. I love art but I’m not an artist. So, you help me by teaching art to my students via your video lessons! Thanks for all the great new ideas!

  • Denise

    You are fueling my summer camp and back to school idea cooker. Love it Patty!!!

  • Carol Frueh

    art journaling, watercolor flowers – I also love that aqua flow brush, Model Magic landscapes, 4th of July beaded bracelets, coloring pages for adults…


    Great videos! Thanks!
    My favorite summer art project is to take advantage of the weather and do a bunch of painted papers outside – Jackson Pollack-style, standing up, with large sheets of paper, and lots of paint dripping and splattering. Then when those papers are dry, I have the children cut them into boat shapes and pieces and collage them onto watercolored backgrounds to make seascapes. A very summery project!

  • Katy Cook

    I have been a 4th/5th grade teacher for the last 9 years, but will be a K-5 art teacher next year!!! I am so excited! I have so many projects that I want to do to get my new classroom ready!!

  • Sharon Angal

    I love the jellyfish project! This would be a fun project to do with my third graders, but change it to salmon, as that is what we study in our life science unit. We also do a lot of observational drawing outside in our school garden. This book would be a good basis of art lessons to help my students do even better drawing in their science journals. Looks like a great book!

  • Diane Rowe

    I loved to get my kiddos ready for summer by making a nature journal using a stick, a rubber band, wallpaper samples and recycled paper (see this link for a great tutorial – We would practice using them on the nature trail behind our school and using field guides. The best part was having them come back in the fall and share their journals! I think we might try adding water color pencil to our favorite entries!
    Thank you for your wonderful site! The castles project I did with my Kindergartners is still one of my all time favorites!

  • Glenna Lundberg

    I just finished making the Mona Lisa all in beads with two little enthusiastic sisters. Wow! Did they ever turn out well 🙂 Love your Emily Carr lessons as well.

  • Shawn

    We have come to enjoy detailed sharpie markers projects in the summer. The kids have time to spend hours adding all the details they want and adding watercolor or colored sharpie! Another new favorite is Faber-Castell gelatos. We use “the kid version” which is less expensive and does the same thing-they are creamy and fun… I haven’t added this to the sharpie projects though-it’s just been enjoying the movement with these.

  • Nancy Laliberte

    Summer in Wisconsin is beautiful which makes plein-air painting my favorite activity. Nature sketching with ink and watercolor is the next best thing, and something I do with my elementary art students. We are fortunate to have a beautiful public garden within walking distance of our school.

  • Helen Franken

    Your inspirational ideas are always a delight. I, too, incorporate nature into many of my art projects. My students are all from a rural background and they appreciate art work that they can relate to. Currently, my favorite medium is construction paper crayon projects using dandelions in all their glory. Mother Nature has certainly provided us with various models. Thanks for your artistic videos and lessons.

  • Carol

    Love your site, have purchased many of you lesson plan series, very helpful blog for all art teachers beginning and veteran. This book is amazing and what a great resource for the classroom teacher too. I can see many other projects to springboard off from your lessons suggestions. You have once again inspired me to also have fun creating my own art. Thanks much!

  • Rachel Armentano

    I’m expecting my first baby so I’ve switched gears over to nursery related art projects this summer! I would LOVE to win a copy of this book, its been on my want list for so long.

  • Myra Alexander

    The painted paper is a super plus. This summer I am going back to my roots of weaving. I use painted papers and slice them up for weaving and adding found objects to it.

  • Marla

    Summer time in the part of Colorado where I live means wildflowers. I love going for a hike and finding a great spot to draw & watercolor paint the beautiful variety of flowers as well as the beautiful landscape around me. So many great products out there but I enjoy the variety of watercolor supplies – especially liquid watercolors. Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas!!

  • Loretta

    I love to do all things messy…papier mache, clay, huge paintings! And read picture books for inspiration.

  • Adrienne

    Such an awesome book! My favorite summer art projects are experimenting with different methods of creating painted paper to use in my classroom and making copper and sterling jewelry!

  • Jessica H

    I love Sidewalk chalk painting! It’s messy, beautiful, and OK to wash up outside since the weather is warm! Going to get the kids to paint a Mandala outside in assorted colors. I’m hoping it will turn out great!

  • Rene Hohls

    My kids and I love to dry flowers and leaves from the garden over the summer. Watching as they change shape and color and comparing them in their preserved state is always fun. We dry lavender and weave the stems with ribbon to make lavender “wands” which we use all year. We look forward to saving as much summer as we can to keep it alive as long as possible. One of our favorite supplies is spray adhesive and clear contact paper – these are helpful when securing flowers for drying and encasing leaves and seeds to save their color and shape.

  • Mindy Smiley

    Thanks for sharing your ideas! And thanks to the others sharing ideas in their comments! I was needing some inspiration this summer and all these projects have energized me and have gotten me motivated! I didn’t know about those books but I’m so glad I do now!
    My favorite art supply to use is cardboard! I love making anything out of cardboard and drawing and painting on it too. There’s no stress, it’s free & there’s plenty of it!
    My Art Kids favorite project this year was a group effort. My sister donated a large piece of styrofoam packaging that had multiple rectangular openings. The kids picked an “apartment” and decided who would live there ,how they would make the occupants, how to decorate and make the furnishings. They didn’t want to stop! The kids ages were Pre-k thru 5th grade. I thought the funny/interesting thing was that bathrooms (a toilet) were added the most, then beds & tv’s but not 1 kid made any part of a kitchen! Each classes apartments were covered so the next class couldn’t see until the “big reveal” at the end of the month! Parents were saying “all he talks about is his apartment!”

  • Carol

    Thank you so much. I love your projects and the easy friendly way you present them. They are so usable in my unique situation of 32 classes in a two week rotation. Thanks again!

  • Deb Nolan

    I teach kids’ private lessons in my garage studio, and everybody’s favorite project so far is ice cream sundae sculptures! I beg/buy real ice cream store cups and spoons. Using a Styrofoam ball as an armature, we cover it with Model Magic, making it look like a scoop of ice cream. Often we build a tower of ice cream scoops! Then comes the fun part – painting the ice cream with acrylic paint (because it dries shiny and looks set). We add real colored sprinkles, and even make cherries to go on top! You can paint it all with Mod Podge when you’re done, if you want it to look really wet and realistic. Then the best part – we all go out for ice cream while the paint dries!

  • Ashley Hennessy

    My kids love doing collages during the summer. We either cut pictures out of magazines or use found objects from nature. It’s always fun and we always create something different!

  • Leah

    Love these summer projects and I would love that book for my art class! I am getting ready to do an art camp at my church to raise funds for an organization called the LuLutree, which helps single moms in the slums of Uganda. I can’t wait to use some of these lessons. Blessing!

  • Lori Olson

    My favorite art this summer is Zentangling and accenting with watercolors. I also love having time to knit. I am really looking forward to the DSS workshop this weekend.

  • Penny

    I LOVE Deep Space Sparkle and everything Patty offers, she’s just a fresh delight to our world!
    I wanted to pose a question of teaching art from home. I have been strongly encouraged to do this during the breaks of school teaching, but I have also been strongly encouraged to carry home owner’s insurance for this endeavor. Also, here in my town, I would have to ‘get permission’ through the city and I believe their concern is the traffic flow, as in moms picking up and dropping off even just a few 5 children. I would LOVE to hear any advice or experience in handling these details. Many thanks.
    A BIG thank you to Patty and her entire family.

  • Heather

    I just have to say that I LOVE Julia Rothman’s books! I came across Nature Anatomy last year and purchased it for homeschooling. I loved all of the illustrations and thought that the book was so clever. I saw that she had Farm Anatomy and I immediately purchased that and love it too. I’m excited to do some lessons that go along with the book :).

  • Pauline

    Experimenting with everything! Outside! Large. My children and I get the huge canvases on sale at the end of the school year and paint as big as we can. My sons (2nd and 3rd) like to recreate their favorite are project from the school year in bigger than life size!

  • Beth

    I love your site and I love all of your lessons! Six years ago I started teaching Art to elementary age children and your lessons have been a cornerstone for my program. Because they are so detailed, I have always felt confident that I could successfully teach them! Thank you! My favorite summer lesson is your chalk iguana lesson! The kids love it and the results always amaze me!

  • Suzanne Fox

    I do many nature inspired lessons with my elementary students. I think this book would be a wonderful addition to my library, for me and my students! I have been cleaning up my studio but hope to get to some weaving and experimenting with watercolor pencils. The Aquaflo brush is pure genius! I am definitely going to give that a try and order some for my classes. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Gail

    I have use alot of your art lessons with my Granddaughter Ava…She loves doing art!!
    We just did the art lesson of yours ” I can draw and paint” . Ava decided she would like to do the
    shaving cream one, so we did that. It turned out beautiful, she was thrilled with the results. Her older brother saw what was happening and he wanted to try. We will be doing more of your lessons. Thanks

  • Carol Koop

    Hi. My adventures in art this summer will be in NYC Art Museums. I will bring along my classroom apron and a ‘classroom friend’ – Parker – a boston fern. We will be taking selfies of the two of us as we get inspired within the MoMA, Guggeheim and Met. We will be looking for themes in art work. So…. this nature book will come in handy as we hunt for flowers, bugs, trees, and clouds. I will be posting that adventure on my blog Art and Ideas.

  • Jayme

    This book looks amazing! One of my favorite summer projects is your primary colored sailboats. I teach on the coast, so the students love learning the sailboat terms and mixing secondary colors. We like Crayola Arista II washable tempra paint.

  • Paula

    I have loved doing sun dying with photo reactive dyes on t-shirts. Our camp kids got really creative with the objects they used for the resist. Also paper making is the very best outside, get wet, summertime art project!


    I’m deep in the middle of teaching summer camp at an art museum, but I “come up for air” every now and then, and I’m so glad to find this nature book! One of my favorite projects is scrape paintings with Biocolor paint. The kids paint big, filled in shapes on a piece of paper, then go back and scrape a line of paint across the entire piece of paper. The basic shapes magically remain, but the colors kind of blend and blur–so beautiful!

  • Molly F

    This summer I hope to finally establish a creative space in my home, an area that does not have to stay tidy, where I can walk away from an in-progress creation and later pick up right where I left off without having to set up again:-). Thanks for sharing what you’re playing with this summer, perhaps I’ll inspire myself with a few of those projects as well!

  • Paula Blair

    My daughters and I love to paint rocks! We find lovely smooth, round stones for our creations! They are especially good to create turtles, fish, or other small animals. Acrylic paint works well and they can be shellacked or sprayed with gloss fixative when complete. The older girls like to paint flowers, abstract designs or short quotes. They can be a fun party activity at summer birthdays!

  • Laurie Bradley

    I loved both art videos! I am a 2nd grade teacher & always looking for ways to incorporate more art into my classroom. This summer I am trying my hand at making printed paper (watched a video by Eric Carle), I have not used watercolor pencils, so also want to try that before having my students try them out! I love your website and creative ideas!

  • Mary Quayle

    My family just moved from North Carolina to California, so I don’t have much in the way of project supplies in our hotel room. But I will say our favorite project to get to soon is your jellyfish lesson since we have made a couple of visits to the Monterey Aquarium and we all love the jellyfish. Thank you for a chance to win the book!

  • Rachelle

    I love it all!! Journaling with mixed mediums in my art book to painting with my two daughters (15 years old special needs and 3 year old foster). I am extra excited about painting at the beach with them in July!!

  • JSK

    One of my favorite summer time activities is making paper lanterns of all sizes and shapes. I like to use a variety of materials with a special focus on up-cycling and repurposing. Sometimes we might spend an afternoon marbling paper from the recycling bin, letting it dry in the sunshine on a clothesline, and then folding it into simple lanterns.
    Summertime starry night walks are even more special with lanterns leading the way. It’s also a fun way to illuminate a meadow walk or wooded path…

  • Marina

    Big boxes of wool, crepe paper, felt, strings and ribbons…a canvas…tempera paints and found objects- get outside and create a ‘what I see today’ collage. It’s about layering and foreground and background. My kids love it!!!!!
    Patty, because of you inspiration and help I’ve just started my very own ‘Ish Art School’ in Olinda, Victoria, Australia!!! I have a full class and I’ll Instagram my pics to share. Thank you!!!!

    • Cindy

      This summer I have enjoyed professional development art days with other colleagues from our school district! We have painted, done batik, created with clay and were re inspired after a long school year! It was so encouraging to have our school district provide art related professional development!

  • Jean

    Love the nature anatomy book. Pick me to win.

  • Jodi

    I love the project! I love art with beautiful flowers,they make you smile!. I haven’t tried water color pencils with children,but this would be fun for my art camp. The shells look really fun to draw and paint ,also! I will be purchasing the book, if I am not the lucky winner. My favorite summer art projects are a water color beach scene complete with umbrellas,people on the beach (its fun if they draw and paint their family),sandcastles,surf boards,and pails,ice cream cones,waves,a boat in the water. I love the way the kids draw and paint all the details. A little clear glitter or salt adds sparkle to the sand. I also have several giant wave projects. One in oil pastels,one w/ watercolors and layers of color in the wave,and a giant acrylic painted wave on canvas. Summer is the Beach!

  • Susan

    Love both these projects! They will be great in my art classes this summer! I love these two books as well and would love a copy to help inspire me and my students to produce some fabulous art work! Thanks – I love DSS too – you are such an inspiration!

  • margie

    Love all your videos so far. This summer I’m tackling the task of going through the projects presented this year to see if they “Pass” or “Fail” for next year.

  • Page

    My favorite summer art project to do with kids is seahorses or whales using oil pastels and painting the ocean with watercolors. Then you have to add sequins & flattened glass pebbles for some sparkle.

  • Jacquelyn

    this summer has been all about body art- face painting has kept my kiddos occupied for many happy hours this summer!


    Along a simple vein, we’d like to do some sunflowers. (My girls are 5 and 7.) We’re into big murals though, and an underwater one taped up in our hallway is hopefully where we’re headed for that. 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity!!

  • Lori Kelly

    My favorite art project is to make feet stepping stones with my grandson. We “foot paint” everyone’s feet and then use clay and glue gum to outline the feet on cardboard. Next we find fun toenails made of glass or anything and glue them down. Last we pour the cement in the mold and wait for it to dry and then we place or family feet in the garden. I love your website and lesson ideas. I have used many of them with my first graders and I delight in their joy when they can see what they can accomplish! Great video and great products– I see them joining me this year!

  • Tina

    I have to say that traditional Plein air painting is the winning favorite with my studio students in the summer. They love going to The park and using watercolor, market pencil or pastels to capture the beautiful scenery, people and flowers. I love watching them use the techniques they have learned throughout the year.

  • Lucille

    I love all your lessons, but these just got me giddy

  • Margaret Budde

    Thank you for so many wonderful art lessons and videos! I love getting an email from offering a new lesson. My students love your projects, and I do, too!
    My kindergarten students had a ball creating watercolor seahorses in the spring. I know they will love the jellyfish project from yesterday’s posting when we get back to school.
    For my own art during the summer, I will try my hand with acrylics, applying the paint with a palette knife to get ready for a small group enrichment activity.

  • Sarah Z.

    I would like to do a nature journal this summer with my kids using pastels and watercolors.

  • Elizabeth W

    I love anything nautical, but my favorite lesson is actually a unit on Japanese art. We study gyotaku, Hokusai, and koinobori. This summer I plan on visiting all those blog sites that I’ve bookmarked (or as many as I can) and create new lessons. Deep Space Sparkle is one of the top 5 🙂
    Have a great summer everyone! Be safe and have fun!

  • Carmela

    I am teaching at an art camp this summer and really want to try those jelly fish. They are gorgeous. In my classroom, I look for ways to use painted paper as much as possible. It never gets old and I love to see all of the color! Thanks for having such a professional blog.


    Hola soy una mama, apasionada del arte. Trabajo realizando talleres de arte y creatividad para niños de entre 4 y 10 años. Soy feliz desde que abandoné mi trabajo en la oficina para dedicarme a mi vocación con los niños. Tus lecciones me ayudan muchisimo a programar sus clases. Muchisimas gracias por estar ahí!!!


    In the summer I love to work with fabric. Dying, sun printing and stitching. This summer I am also thoughtfully planning out my middle grade projects – I need to wow them my 2nd year at this school.
    I could not see the black eyed Susan video. The time counter ran but it was just the book. I need to experiment more with watercolor pencils. My kidos are just so-so about them and their uses.

  • Heika

    I want to continue my art journal! I tried during the second semester and I didn’t keep up. So much has happened this summer and I need to express my feelings about it all!!!

  • Anne

    My summer Art project will be to make baby quilts for my soon to be new grandbabies. I have 4 due in Sept. 1 girl and three boys (a set of twins and a single). I love your water color projects. I can’t wait to try the Nature Anatomy inspired projects with my 5th graders.

  • Letitia

    My favorite summer art project is having my kids paint Jackson Pollock pieces. We set out tarps and let the paint fly under the amazing Alaska sun.

  • Debbie

    I am going to try a painted paper project with my grandchildren this summer before I do it in my classroom this fall. Last year we did the watercolor fish from”Only One You” (a DSS project) and it made a great display for our STEAM night!

  • Melani

    I’m a textile junky so in the summer my oldest daughter and I pull out our scraps of fabric, sewing machines, fun trims and sew scrap or T-shirt quilts, carry-all bags and over the past few years she has surpassed my skill set and is sewing one of a kind clothing that she dreams up on her own. My youngest daughter likes to help me make all kinds of art project examples for my classes, which is so much better than teacher examples 🙂 My son will occasionally sit down and pencil out some architectural dream house or play around with making cool shaded letters.

  • Casey

    We have drawn in our nature journals in the backyard for years on summer mornings. We usually use colored pencils, both regular and watercolor. Lately I have been playing with beeswax block crayons since my youngest is three, and I totally love them!

  • Connie

    I am enjoying creating hard-shelled gourd lamps this summer. I am wood-burning on them and painting with fluid acrylics then drilling a pattern of holes around my design. When lit with a led light, it shines a wonderful pattern on the walls and ceiling.

  • Ellen

    I’m hand sewing an applique quilt and when the “grands” come over we pull out their outline stitching. They love to try different colors of floss. The jellyfish project is perfect for one of my 3rd graders’ lit. stories!

  • Vicky Siegel

    Making jewelry this week- for gifts! Cannot wait to break out the watercolors this summer!!

  • Carissa

    We love working with sari ribbon scraps. The possibilities are endless! My boys and I are just about to start wrapping some old cables with it for some homeschool room wall art that just pops!
    Thank you for informing your readers about this book. We are a homeschool family. I desire to jump into nature study & journaling this next school year with our boys but it seems a bit daunting to me. The Inspired by Nature book, and the author’s other book Inspired by Farm Animals, look like gems that every homeschool family should consider purchasing for their personal library. What a tremendous resource!

  • Sandra W

    I love doing watercolor sea turtles. This book looks fabulous! Thanks for all of the lesson on your blog.

  • Debra G

    We did gelatin leaf prints this year. I’m going to frame them as they look like something from the pottery barn.

  • Beverly

    I am really hoping to use some of my summertime to learn/improve my watercoloring… I am very much a novice, but I am excited to try some new things… I love your Black-eyed Susan project and plan to share it with my boys one of these afternoons… I find your site/blog/ YouTubes very inspiring… Keep up the good work!

  • Sarah

    Anything inspired by children’s literature!

  • Kelly

    We did big flowers painted on canvas

  • Anita Manata

    This summer I’ve decided to practice sketching and drawing. I love art and all the projects you do, so if I know how to sketch better, I will be able to help my third graders improve too.

  • Annmarie

    I have been trying to do at least one sketch every morning while I enjoy my coffee, and that’s been a great way to start the day! I don’t teach in summer, nor do I have children, but my current creative outlet is painting (staining, really) fabric and sewing on it. I’ve recently decided to make myself a bag, a real custom job, and that’s been my project recently. I love that nature book and I can’t imagine there would be any end to the children’s projects it could inspire or integrate with! Our Audubon unit in second grade, our O’Keeffe work with first graders, and on and on…! Beautiful!!

  • Sandi Hass

    Love working with watercolor outside where the sun and breeze make things happen fast. Then come inside and draw on top of it!!

  • Betty Jondron

    Hey! I’m excited about trying out those Egyptian Faces project with the two “Fun with Art” classes I’m teaching where I work for 5 weeks. I have two age groups and for the younger ones that do want to participate (no one has too). My younger age group, I’m giving them the idea to just do a “collage” picture of an Egyptian face. To demonstrate this, I have access to wall paper samples and some are very textual as well as colorful. I’ll give then the basic face figure and then let them go…in making the hair, head piece and clothing. They have the full 5 weeks to complete it so there will be lots of time to try out doing many different kinds of things.

    Today one boy tried his hand at drawing the “Royal” Pooch. I have made a display board bulletin board in the hall and I’ve been mounting what every they draw, paint or color, to a different color background and hanging their creations up so their parents at the end of the day can take a look, on the way out to go home.

  • Jessica Ormond

    Our favorite summer art projects are large squids- butcher paper painted & cut out for body shape, stuffed with newspaper to give volume, and multicolored streamers and ribbons for the tentacles.

  • Mary cooper

    That’s it! I’m inspired!

  • Kathy Seeger

    I love having my children do nature sketching outdoors and have desired to learn to use watercolors better in order for my children to learn as well. The Black-Eyed Susan project may be the perfect place to start! Thank you the chance to win such a wonderful book!

  • Suzanne Dempsey

    I love pen and ink with micron pens and finish off with water color washes.

  • Tina Harder

    Anything with mixed media. I’m looking forward to doing your Jelly Fish painting with my summer school class. I am also trying puck tempera paints for the first time. I was always concerned about the quality of colors. But the Richeson paints are producing some wonderful colors and the clean up is SO MUCH EASIER!! 🙂


    I love the excitement of summer. On our 1st day out we head straight to the bookstore. New books for them to read and to have read aloud time. I can’t help from buying some fun new sketchbooks and new colorful pens for myself and daughter to play with. I’m a sucker for school supplies-so this is like our summer supplies

  • Dominique Carlson

    Thank you so much for encouraging us to make our own art this summer, even if it’s purpose is research for the fall. It seems people shy from “school work” in the summer, but that is the time and relaxation allows for creative discovery. Thank you also for recomending the books, they are lovely.

  • Gayle

    We spend a week at the beach each summer with family. A favorite thing we love to do is collect smooth rocks of different shapes and sizes, then paint on them with acrylic paints while we’re relaxing on the beach. We leave them in random places for other people to find.

  • Michelle Willis

    Thank you for giving me some summer inspiration. I like to use photography to capture summer memories.

  • Trish

    My girls and I love weaving together on a cardboard loom! Such a peaceful activity!

  • Christine

    Thanks for all your great ideas! This summer, we’ve been experimenting with salt, glue and watercolors. Fun!

  • Lori

    During summer…. lots of sand, outdoor play. paints, watercolors, and lately looming. Anything fun is ok 😉

  • Kristin

    As much outside as possible. Painting and making big messes that can later be hosed off.

  • Anne Ccowher

    I like both the Black-eyed Susan and Butterfly projects. I would love to try the paired paper butterfly or other insect. Now I have more motivation to get organized this summer so I have time to “play” student.

  • Becky Williams

    I plan to be hanging with 8 girls (7-11 age range) working through sketchbooks and the elements of Art….

  • Diane

    I love creating simple origami birds and animals with my kids.
    thanks for the chance to win a great looking book.
    You inspire me!

  • Rhea

    My daughter has been into flower collection ( flowers gathered from nature walks) lately and what we do is try to draw the flower in her journal. This book will help us achieved more detailed work.

  • Donita

    Painted paper and Eric Carl cut outs using the Blue Horse book for inspiration.

  • Nancy

    I’ve been using your projects for my multi-grade K-4 class. They’ve always turned out great! Thank you so much! I saw a project this week where you “paint” hot river rocks with crayon and I can’t wait to try it.

  • Kennan

    Goodness! With so many comments already left, I hardly think I have a chance to win this amazing book! However…summer.. my favorite art project is all about the textures of summer. Mixed media collages between all of the elementary kiddos I teach. The feel of sand between your toes… painting with sand for a beach, watercolor resists and adding those fun stretched out cotton ball clouds to the sky. Reusing all my scrap paper and any odds and ends to recreate their favorite summer scenes. It always amazing what they come up with!


    I love your lesson plans and have used them regularly for the 5 years I have been teaching K-4 art. This summer I am doing 2 art camps and have used your princess and the pea lesson and the dragon drawing as part of a daily tale camp. Will be doing your pirate ship art lesson also. In July I think I will incorporate this new flower drawing, the jelly fish artwork, and maybe the butterfly/moth. I am always excited to see your video posts and lessons plans. i wish I lived close enough to attend your class this weekend. Good luck! I am sure it will be fabulous! Thank you!

  • Lauren golias

    Recently tried watercolor pencils with my 17 month old, sitting on the mini picnic bench in the long grass in the backyard. Such joy.

  • Kathy

    My favorite thing this summer is to take my boys to the Art Museum and use one of the provided water color kits to paint in the museum gardens. My boys are teenagers and still enjoy the freedom painting in the garden allows!

  • Dee

    I am so excited about this! We are classically homeschooling this coming fall and your activities will certainly flow nicely with the great artists curriculum. We have done many of your lessons already! They have a nature journal in our curriculum. this one, however would be wonderful for my son. There is never enough art!


    This book looks amazing and I am going to follow your lessons this summer. The aqua brush is one of my favorite tools. I keep it in my purse with a small watercolor pad and take it out anytime I am waiting someplace with the kids. I love taking the kids to the beach and painting all the different sea life, plants, shells, and birds we see!

  • Joy

    I love painted paper and Eric Carle-inspired art with all the bright colors! Probably our favorite art product is anything watercolor. The Aqua Flow brush looks amazing!

  • A

    In the summer, I like to draw the trees and plants in bloom. I am so awed by how many leaves, how many little tiny flowers there are to capture, that I could work for hours. It never ends up looking like the tree, or the flower, but it does end up looking tree-like, or flower-like.’

    I like to work with pencil in the summer, something easy to carry around, that I can take out of my pocket quickly to sketch something out.

  • Karlee Zelmer

    I like to do process art with my boys in the summer. Water colour bubble prints, splatter painting, marble painting and all sorts of messy projects. We like to create with loose parts we find on our explorations and make temporary sculptures too. This book sounds perfect for my class, as each year I try to teach my Kinders to look closely through still life.

  • Shelley

    Markers are the mainstay for us but your post on oil pastels has inspired me. I avoid pastels as a general rule because of the texture but maybe oil will be different. Thanks for all the wonderful tutorials. They have been very helpful in planning for my home school coop. Think it is going to be a fun fall!

  • Lisa

    I used pastels several times this year. I plan to try creating the painted paper-butterfly project.

  • Rosanne

    I want to draw some wildflowers and watercolor them this summer. A few years ago I bought some liquid watercolors because of the suggestion on your blog. It made me love to watercolor!

  • Nicky

    I myself am a water colour and oil painter. this is my first year giving art lessons to children. First it was an after school program now it is a summer camp. I have found your site an absolute treasure trove of ideas and suggestions.

    My favorite medium with the children is paint. Your above examples would be a wonderful series project for my older student 9-12. Thank you thank you for all your time and effort into this site. You are a gem.

  • Lacey

    I recently took an art class with a few of my girlfriends. I had such a great time. This coming school year I will be teaching an art class for 3-5th graders, I am excited yet nervous. I am hoping to get alot of my ideas and lessons from your site. I love doing watercolor painting.

  • Joyce

    I’m getting myself ready to do science notebooks with my kindergarteners by observing nature. So excited to be traveling to Montana this summer and I will be taking my sketchbook with me. Looking forward to illustrating lots of insects, animals and plants to share with my students. By coincidence, I just spotted Nature Anatomy online today and added it to my wish list! Hoping to take it with me on my trip… along with my Sharpie, watercolors, and oil pastels. I especially love using ink and watercolors with my students.

  • Georgia

    This is my 4 th year teaching art. I’m always looking for new projects.
    DDS is my favorite place to get ideas. Took both of your courses and enjoyed And used both in my classes. In the summer I like to try out new projects and make samples for the coming year.

  • Mary Brown

    How cute!
    A favorite summer project I cannot wait to try with my kids in my new Martial Arts and Arts camp is to create their very own wind chimes out of recycled tin cans I’ve been saving all spring. The painted paper butterfly will definitely be one to add to our list of to dos =)

  • Gena Smith

    I just started an urban sketching group this summer. I go with my kids to a local place and we draw the surroundings with pen and watercolor in our sketchbooks. Others who enjoy art in the community join us. This book would go nicely to show to the group since all skill levels are present, adults and children alike.

  • Miriam

    My favorite craft for the summer and with my children is rock painting. Observing nature and finding “what’s inside” to create on the outside of the rock. I’ld love the book..btw. 🙂

  • Ashlyn

    I just finished up my first year teaching elementary art, and it was a whirlwind of fun!
    I love summer because of the time I get to spend on my own artwork; though I need to take more advantage of it! I love watercolor and this summer I’ve spent some time with my Micron pens and doodling a little, then filling in my doodles with watercolor! I’ve also been exploring new sculpture and painting techniques for a summer class I am teaching. I would love to do an altered book/art journal and learn new ideas for those. My favorite summer art project so far has been creating my wedding invitations! 🙂

  • Kimberly

    My favorite project in the summer is to collect flowers, leaves, sticks and stones and have the students create art works from nature. The students photograph their work. Beautiful!

  • Lisa Angil

    Summer is the promise of restful contemplations, day-dreaming, and creating pieces of artwork from beginning till completion. We head south to Florida and the whole family paints beach, water, and sea life themed paintings. Fresh new artwork to hang at home to help inspire me for another year of exploration with my students. Last summer I painted a huge watercolor of “jellyfish”!

  • grace

    I am thinking (dreaming) of doing a short version of summer art camp. Have several kids come over just for couple days instead of full week and we can do some fun art – painting, tied-dye,3d-craft … hopefully can start this new tradition every summer. Thanks for the chance to win the book, what a great book to add to my art library 🙂

  • Christine minsavage

    i like to take pictures of garden plants and then paint them on canvas


    I would like to have the time to make some art of my own and spend more time preparing/practicing some of the art lessons I find before presenting them to the students! I really like Cray-Pas, (a mix of crayon and pastels).The kids do too. One of my favorite things I’ve done with kids in the summer is a Printmaking Art Camp. One thing I am getting to do this summer is attend your workshop! That is something for myself!

  • Kathy Greene

    I love creating summer journals/sketchbooks with my kids and then taking them to special places to sketch in them. They love watercolor pencils and fine point sharpies for their drawings. Sometimes we take their sketches and create watercolor paintings at home from their ideas.

  • Erica W.

    I want to start creating my own artwork using techniques of current illustrators like Eric Carle. I want to be able to expand on what he is doing and use it in my classroom! I love the idea of a “go to” guide to be a bit “smarter” about the details the kids already know! Thank you for offering this!!!

  • Emily

    Hi Patty, I’m excited to make some new projects and sample lessons this summer with some of the new supplies I ordered for next year – especially neon paint and the woodless pencils you suggest. For my personal artwork, I love winsor and newtown watercolor travel palletes. These are great for nature artwork!

  • Betsy

    My favorite summer activity is painting on canvas.
    My favorite summer activity to share with the kids uses nature and an idea from my Grandmother’s childhood in the late 1800’s. Kids are fascinated by this…
    -Fill a pie pan with water
    -Pick the stems off dandelions
    -Peel each stem into several strands
    -Put the peeled strands in the water
    -Watch what happens…
    This is a lot of fun to watch and the stems will change with time. It’s a great way to encourage and witness more fascination and creativity in action through nature.

    • Dana W

      Thank you for sharing such a fantastic idea – love it!

      • Betsy

        You are so welcome! After all these years, I still have fun with this activity.
        I hope you will too!
        My Grandmother also made the coolest necklaces out of the white clover flower. Somehow she would split the stem and hook them together. They looked great!

  • Jen

    Wow, this book would be awesome. We are using lots of paints this summer and I am planning for our first year homeschooling four kids, this coming school year. My kids are very tactile and visual learners, so we’re going to be using a lot of art in our lessons. I hope 🙂

  • Donna

    We live in the upper Midwest so when it’s summer time, we are all about the flowers and rainbows! I mostly keep it simple and put out some paint out and let them create whatever they want.

  • Amy

    What an exciting book! It gets students a chance to really look at details in things that my city kids may have never seen before. Great job!

  • Timi Bonessa

    This summer we are art journaling. It’s my sons first summer off chemotherapy after 3 and 1/2 years and we are celebrating! Deep space sparkle has been a God send for us to stay busy and focused on happier times.

  • Mary

    We’ve done some fun mixed media animal projects in my summer art class this month. I’m looking forward to next month’s Unique Art Materials class.

  • Ingrid Crepas

    My favorite summer project is touring art museums!!! For me, my favorite medium in summer is paper and fun pens.

  • mary ann


  • Carolyn

    Our Preschoolers have been painting, printing with found objects, making suncatchers with wire and beads and necklaces, but their most requested projects are bubble painting and glitter. Thanks for reviewing the book for us and thanks for a chance to win a copy!

  • Cathy

    I love planning for the Kinders, they all seem so know nothing and having a few new projects to get them use to school is my summer project.

  • Dana W

    I love letting my kids go through my bins of scraps of paper – big, small, clean cuts, torn up, etc. And allowing them to just piece them together on a bigger paper, poster, or canvas. Add their favorite tools – ink pads and sponge wedges, and my favorite product – Mod Podge – to seal everything up pretty, and we’ve had an afternoon of color, creativity, and craftiness!!!
    Love your work and thanks so much for an awesome giveaway!!! 🙂

  • Patricia

    I love creating Ocean Paper–painting sponges with watercolors and stamping them repeatedly to make a bubbly ocean background. Thanks for all your help teaching art to 3rd graders!!

  • Cathy

    I love taking my small art journal with me on vacations. I use a small set of watercolors, watercolor pencils, and sometimes sharpies to create the art. I also like to use the water source from where we are at the time (lake, river, etc.) for the paintings. I consider the molecules of whatever is left on the paper after the water dries as very, very tiny “souvenirs” embedded in the art! 🙂

  • sonja

    I have been following your posts and art ideas for years! I’m so inspired and share your ideas and give you credit every chance I get. Huge fan! In a non creepy way 🙂
    This book looks so amazing. I’m very excited about it. My children and I nature journal often and this would be an invaluable resource to us.
    Enjoy your day. And keep inspiring the art teacher in all of us.

  • Renée Collins

    Hi Patty:
    Thanks for such great posts (as always) and for the giveaway! I love sketching with permanent marker and watercolor pencils. Especially when traveling. I can capture the colors of what I’m sketching in pencil, and finish later without having to protect wet pages in my sketch book! For the past two years I have taught ceramics for our district’s summer workshops, so CLAY is my life every day for 5 weeks. It’s so much fun for the kids and I to focus on projects for an extended period of time, when during the school year they may only get one clay experience. My personal goal this year is to work with a Gelli Plate, and see where it leads me. I’m hoping it will re-fire my love of printmaking, lead to art journaling and scrap booking, and inspire a new art lesson or two.
    Renée Collins

  • Renée Collins

    I had a quick question about the painted butterfly. Is is tempera paint that you are using to make the painted paper? I have found that drawing with sharpie on top of tempera paint is not successful. The marker dries out almost immediately. Any advice?

    Renée Collins

  • Kimberly

    This is my first summer of doing an art camp with low-income kids from the school where I teach during the year. The kids are most excited about “tie-dye” using sharpies and rubbing alcohol.

  • Sarah W

    My favorite summer project is to paint watercolor popsicles and ice cream cones in pop art style. My kids find it easy and fun and they come up with crazy “flavors”!

  • tracy gore

    I work on my chairs for children projects. Little chairs with inspiration from big artists.
    I love all of your work and want to thank you for all of the ideas!

  • Lori Halben

    Just love your many creative projects. I love painting and drawing flowers,so the Black eyed Susan project spoke to me. The special brush you used intrigued me. Going to have to look into that.

  • sandy

    Sketching anything outdoors: landscapes, wildlife, trees, flowers, and the like.

  • Franklin Spence

    I’m on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC. I like sketching people at the beach. Great little character studies. Until they spot me staring, then I just smile and wave my pencils at them.

  • Norene

    We love to weave baskets! Round reed & harvested materials from nature.


    We plan on pulling out baking clay and creating some fun pieces. My kids LOVE using baking clay to make all kinds of creatures. They can do this for hours and still get frustrated when I tell them it’s time to wrap it up! lol

    Specifically, we will work on making small bowls, little animal sculptures, and magnets. 🙂

  • Taylor

    My favorite summer art project is sewing. Its easy to pack up and use in the car, beach or by the pool. It’s also fun to bring messy art stuff to the beach to use and then rinse off in the ocean- just make sure not to bring anything toxic or earth harming.

  • lauradodson

    I’ve already taught a week long art camp with the theme woodlands and forest creatures. I used your Emily Carr lesson. The students also drew deer on a painted background with soft pastel details, we used oven bake and air dry clay to create a woodland sculpture. It was so much fun!


    Ohh, I think I need this book. This looks fantastic for an arts integrated curriculum!

  • Walter

    My favorite summer activity is printmaking. This year, I will be experimenting with gelli plates and working on alternative, cost effective methods that are similar. My 3 daughters are all very artistic and they are my go to guinea pigs! Love the looks of the book, nature is tops on my list for art inspiration and I am looking forward to adding it to my resources.

  • Karen

    I love to hike during the summer months here in the Northwest enjoying nature firsthand. With camera in hand, I can record wild flowers, plants,trees and especially birds. Once home, I love to sketch, use pen and ink, or watercolor to record in my art journal. These memories often make their way to my classroom in the Fall. This year, I wanted to inspire my students to look closely at nature, so I shared my journal and gave them all small magnifying glasses.

  • Kristina Woolsey

    Growing up near the ocean my whole life in sunny Sohern California my happy place has always been the beach. I love to marry all three of my favorite things together. My family, art and the beach. We bring sketch pads to the beach and find 3 things that sparked our interest. A bird, surfboard, bathing suit, bucket and shovel, lifeguard tower etc.. Bring our sketches and ideas home and use any media that inspires us.

  • Meredith

    My children and I love to paint. To start this summer off we all painted. As much as my children love to paint on canvas, I pulled out a 6’x4′ piece of cardboard and placed it on our back deck with paint. They both painted beautiful paintings and wound up “signing” their paintings by painting their hands and feet and printing them on their work. I wound up painting too, by repainting the back deck. 🙂

  • Karen E.

    I just realized it is Eric Carle’s Birthday today and after watching your painted paper video and the butterfly project I am inspired to try some painted paper projects this coming year as I begin teaching in a first grade classroom again. Thanks for your awesome website full of great art resources and project ideas!

  • Deloris Smith

    I love exploring the outdoors looking for inspiration and rocks for my garden. I’ve have been taking lots of photos of nature along the way. I think I would like to try the watercolor painting using some of the photos I’ve taken. The work I create can be used as examples to teach the lesson with one of my classes when school starts.

  • Rebecca

    This summer I’ve spent my time spinning wool, carding it and dying it all sorts of bright colors to make artistic yarns that I crochet or hook to make rugs, wall hangings, handbags, etc. etc.

  • Becky S.

    Patty, WOW!! I can hardly wait to start a few summer projects. Ms. Rotham’s boom looks amazing ! I can see .my students eyes light up when we do these lessons. Thanks for the inspirations!!

  • Pat

    Summer is my time to experiment with different lessons on Deep Space Sparkle for my second graders next year!

  • Ellen Smith

    I love making tie die tshirts with Sharpie markers. So cool!

  • Karen H

    Hi Patty,

    This book looks so inspiring. We live in the country, wild flowers and farm animals are in abundance everywhere we look. This book would be so fun and exciting to page through and reference for inspiration. One thing I would love for my children to know is the names of all the flowers that they pick for me out here in the country, We usually spend time looking them up online, but there is really no substitute for a good book that has beautiful lifelike artwork, color and inspiration! Your flower lessons are always on our “Art To Do List” every Spring. Thanks for all the free lessons and book recommendations. They are truly wonderful gifts to receive!

    Karen H

  • Carol

    We have had alot of fun this summer with photo sensitive paper. We’ve taken them to the beach, backyard and park…Now I’m trying to come up with a project to do with our finished papers!

  • Debbie Cole

    I enjoy taking photos of my flowers and cows, then using the photos to create paintings.

  • Meggan D.

    I love doing any kind of art project with my kids. This summer we are tackling a sewing project… We also LOVE to play with chalk pastels! I’m a birth doula and I use chalk pastels often with my clients to do birth art and prepare for labor.

  • Shauna

    My favorite thing to do in the summer is experiment with as many new art mediums as possible as well as take as many online art classes as possible. My cute children love to find art lessons they want to try by looking through my Pinterest Boards and they also love to have free range of our art supplies and simply create. Thanks for such a fun post and giveaway. The book and lessons look like so much fun!

  • Donna Barton

    I love the opportunity to teach clay once a week to refugee children. Even though they don’t speak English very well they love working with clay. At the end of the classes we have a show of all their creations and they are so proud!

  • Misti Scaggs

    This book looks fantastic. I teach 3rd and 4th grade and am always looking for ways to make the Art lessons more interesting for my 4th graders and I try to not repeat lessons they have had in 3rd. This would offer a multitude of new ideas for those older kids! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Melissa A. Miller

    I have enjoyed all of the lessons in the Deep Space Sparkle wide array of ideas. As an elementary art teacher I am, totally, drained by the end of the year. So, to recharge my own creativity, this summer, I have my sketchbook, water colors and other supplies to try and put to paper my month in Colorado. I am inspired by all of the above comments and thank you to Patty and all of your hard work to keep us going in, and out, of our classrooms!!

  • kelley igo

    My favorite part of summer is being able to a break and reenergize my creative juices. I love following this blog and seeing all the cool books you find lessons in. This latest one is fabulous would love a copy. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  • Sandy Stevens

    I love Deep Space Sparkle for ideas for my 3rd grade class. I teach at a Catholic School and classroom teachers teach their own art, which I love!. I have used many of your ideas. I would love to try the black eyed Susan project. I need to get myself some watercolor pencils! Something I want to pursue personally is altered books.

  • Risa Farnsworth

    I enjoy doing watercolors with my two daughters in the summer. I want to try the butterfly project with them. The watercolor pencils and book look great! Hope to get them soon. Thank you

  • Pat

    My summer school class visited the zoo which has a stingray exhibit. Kids can reach in and touch the small stingrays. Back in class, we used coffee filters, water color markers, a water filled spray bottle, and wiggly eyes to create our own stingrays. The kids loved their creations! I look forward to using your art lessons this coming school year and seeing that “wow” sparkle again, in everyone’s eyes.

  • lori j. h.

    The kids and I enjoy swimming and going to the library. Our fave art projects usually involve watercolors and chalk pastels.

  • Monica Smith

    I love doing chalk pastels and making painted paper. I can’t wait to try the new projects you just posted.

  • Christina Gargano-Lupo

    I love both projects! They are great! Can’t wait to try them. I do lots of painting with my kids during the summer and my oldest is really getting into learning drawing techniques. I’m obsessed with chalk paint and am in the middle of repurposing my nightstand and dining table!

  • Christie Amyot

    I love the water brush idea as this would become a much more practical way to allow watercolour sketches in my classroom on a regular basis without assigning a ‘water gatherer’ or two from the classroom. Also, the size of the brush and pointed tip allow for more detailed work and this will facilitate better results for my students who struggle with eye-hand coordination. The book is also gorgeous and I can see why it has been an inspiration for your art lessons and creative thinking process. Thank-you for sharing! I will be looking for more ways to incorporate water-soluble pencils on your amazing site and have recommended it to many colleagues. Keep creating!

  • Suzanne Ettman

    I like to focus on my own artwork in the summer with acrylic painting, Zentangling,, drawing and calligraphy. The Nature Anatomy book looks like an awesome resource for art teacher and artist alike (of which I am both!). Thanks for providing fun and colorful lessons for those of us who just can’t seem to stop looking for more to share with our students!

  • Allison Rowland

    This summer I plan to try a mixed media journal while we travel across the country. My daughter likes to do portraits and my son likes to make wonderful line drawings of aliens. I hope to incorporate some of your project ideas into their pursuits! We loved the Egyptian faces project when our 5th graders studied ancient Egypt.

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