royal pooches painting for kids art project

Royal Pooches: Dog Drawing and Painting Lesson for kids


This lesson originated from the April 2007 article in Arts and Activities magazine, titled Kingly Kanines by Laura Lasker, an art teacher at Bethlehem Elementary in Connecticut.

I tore out the page, stuffed it in my “art idea” file. I pulled it out after seeing a fantastic dog pillow in an O magazine article. The pillow (from Pillow Pillow Pillow) featured graphic dogs stenciled on pillows.

Between the two ideas, I knew I had an appealing art lesson.

– 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper
– Black or brown oil pastel or crayon
– Palette of “dog” colored paint (black, white, tawny, brown, golden yellow and white)
– Palette of background colors (blue, greens, reds, metallic paint for crown)

I needed a lesson to carry my Kinders through the last two weeks of art class and although the Kingly Kanine lesson was designed for third grade kids, I was sure I could simplify my ideas to accommodate the skills of five and six year olds.

The first step is the drawing:
For the little ones who are ALL enamored with dogs, it was very easy to capture their attention. I selected three dogs that had characteristics that would assist in producing an identifiable dog: French Bulldog, Basset Hound and Cocker Spaniel. (The pillow picture was a huge help here!)

On the white board, I showed the kids how to draw the dogs, starting with the crown, then drawing the shape of the face, adding ears, then body, and finally the face. My strategy is to draw the dog first so the kids know what to expect, then erase the drawing and start over as a directed line drawing.

For my Kinders, I did three direct line drawing instructions simultaneously. If the child wished to draw the bull dog, they’d follow my bulldog drawing, same for the hound. You get the idea.

It’s not as hard as it sounds. Draw three “boxes” on the white board, starting with a crown in each box (show three different crowns), then move to the shape of the face, etc.

Painting the dogs:
After the drawing is complete, bring out the paints. I used regular tempera paints but pre-mixed the paints using “dog” colors before pouring them into the muffin palettes. Make sure to add two browns, black, grey, golden yellow, white and pure black.

I demonstrate how to paint the dog using short smooth brush strokes and then, when the undercoat is dry, adding squiggles and short lines with a darker paint for the “hair”. Encourage the kids to leave some areas white, add patches, etc. This will give each dog a unique look.

The next class involves painting the crown and background:
Once the dog is painted, the children can paint the crown and the background. I set out a palette of bright colors plus one metallic paint. If you don’t have metallic tempera paint, use a metallic oil pastel or perhaps add some rhinestones after the paint is dry. Anything to add contrast.

To make the painting dramatic, keep the background color simple. Perhaps one color plus a color for a mat or pillow. Of course, this is way too hard for the color lovers in the class, so if the kids want more background colors, let them.

The final step is the most important one for creating a dynamic painting and ensuring that the dog remains the star of the painting….Black lines.

With a small paint brush and a container of watered-down black tempera paint, instruct the kids to go over every line they made with their crayon or oil pastel. This is hard so help out by pointing out places the kids missed: ears, nose, eyes, mouth, pillow, etc.

This is a hard technique but I love it. The pictures below show how dynamic the dogs look with their creator’s signature brush styles!

Kinder’s Royal Pooches!

The dashing dogs featured are from Mrs. Paloczi and Mrs. LaPlante’s Kinder classes at Brandon School.

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  • oprina tiberiu

    It's a great age to an artist. There are so many options and mediums to choose from, that the choice is virtually limitless. We mustn't forget where it has all started: The Renaissance Italy which was invaluable for the development of European culture. During this time, there was a great surge in every field of human endeavor, especially in the arts and sciences. Find out more about art and all its wonders on http://monalisa.info/

  • oprina tiberiu

    I consider art as one of the most nobile puirsuits of mankind and I really enjoy painting and paintings. Visit http://painted.com/ and you can find out about the history of painting and decorating, and various tools and techniques of the trade, as well as links to other relevant sources of information!

  • Paintedpaper

    Terrific Projects, I love seeing the different mediums you use with your students! Bravo! Keep on creating!

  • Rachel@oneprettything.com

    I love this! I want to use this lesson to paint my own dog. I wonder if I can get my husband to do it with me? Fun! I'll be linking!

  • Eliza

    Thanks for posting this, I was searching for dog-themed artworks to inspire a lesson tomorrow and this idea looks perfect!

  • abc-Design

    Just discovered your blog and LOVE it. I teach art and sometimes I get tired of recycling the same old stuff. Thanks for inspiring me to put a new spin on some stuff. Also glad to see the directed drawing, I was a purist and thought this was BAD until I started teaching. 🙂

  • Trisha champlin

    I teach art to a group of homeschooled kids. I have used your site for two years now and love it! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Trisha champlin

    I teach art to a group of homeschooled kids and love your site. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

  • Christine

    Hi there,
    I’m wondering how I access the project kit for this which includes the how to draw sheets. I’ve used it a number of years ago and it worked so well but I can’t find the download.

    • Patty

      Hi Christie! So sorry! It’s not available anymore. We’ll have to update this one. It was a favorite for sure!

  • Jeniece

    Yay! Love this lesson!

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