Sailboat Monotype Art Lesson


I have an artist friend, Karyn Walsh, who specializes in monotypes. Our kids used to sail together in Santa Barbara and as we watched their races from shore, Karyn would tell me about her art and the process of creating a monotype. Ultimately, it was the element of surprise and the texture that appealed to her.  After doing this art lesson with my students, I finally understood what she meant.

Karyn describes what a monotype is.

For this project (which I’ve seen other art teachers do), I selected the standard sailboat partly because that’s what Karyn often did and because sailboats are an easily recognized shape, no matter how you draw it!

This is what we did:

This was a great lesson in many ways. First of all, it was quick. Most kids finished within the 45-minute time frame. You can see that I offered the opportunity to outline the sailboats with black paint. Some kids did, some didn’t. Personal choice. The important part of the project is making sure the kids follow the painting order: ocean, sky and then sailboat. Sometime the reflection “worked” and other times it didn’t. Either way, it was so fun watching the anticipation on the kid’s faces as they unpeeled the folded paper.

I experimented painting the sky and ocean with watercolor paints. The w/c paints dried quickly and the results were great, but to be honest, I wanted to keep the supply list simple. I was feeling seriously lazy that day.

Third Grade Monotype Sailboats:

Monet's Impressionism Reflection Sailboats

Enjoy this sailboat art lesson? For another free art resource you can download this lesson on how to draw a ferry boat and we’ll send it to you for free!

Click here to subscribe

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • claudia

    WoW !! Another great idea. We must do this project to 😉

    Thanks again for all those great lessons

    Have a great day
    Claudia Ü

  • Rockabye Butterfly

    These paintings are BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • dutch sisters

    Whauw, great lesson! Love it!

  • J.Suder

    Going to try this! I love the results!

  • aussie klc

    Love your ideas-have just finished the waterfront houses and now want to try this

  • AS Novus

    I am doing this project today w my daughter’s 2nd grade class. It’s her birthday and making art seemed a great way to celebrate!

  • Tisha

    We did this lesson, and I loved the results. Unfortunately only got a few pics & I just posted them. http://artwithmrssmith.blogspot.com/2011/04/dont-miss-boat.html
    I’m so impressed with how far your blog has come in the past 12 months……You’re Awesome!!!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jen

    Awesome idea. I will use this for an end of the year project!

  • Tawnia

    We did this project in my 2nd-3rd grade homeschool co-op art class last week. We did a warm-colored watercolor sky and cool watercolor sea, then painted the boats with tempera. The best part was the gasp of surprise when we opened up the first few prints…the kids were amazed at the “reflection!” Thanks so much for all the great ideas!

  • misha

    What a great project! I’ve never done it this way before! I love it and will try it!

  • Sarah

    Tried this in a first grade classroom. I used trapezoid and right triangle templates to help the students with their boats. The kids loved seeing the “reflection” of their boats in the water. Turned out great!

  • Kathy

    This is a must try lesson! I am going to follow your plan for an opening lesson this fall. I am so excited to see their reaction about the monoprint part.

  • Lisa

    I love this web site. I use many of your projects and coordinate them with writing activities. Our displays in the hallway are always awesome because of the art work. I am using this idea for our end of the year writing. We are going to call it Sailing Into Summer; Reflections on Third Grade.
    This web site is great for my kids too because I pull it up on my Smart Board so the kids can see “how to” and what the finished product will look like. Thanks for all of your great ideas!!!!

    • Patty

      I SO want a smart board!!!

  • dramaticimaging@gmail.com

    Cant wait to try this with a sunset! Can’t tell you how grateful I am for your site! I have always thought about art as having to look perfect and real and as I get older and actually better… I love letting go and can’t wait to teach my children to feel this beauty and freedom. And they will learn to draw and paint perfection all the while. I want it to be about the experience. You are amazing!

  • Becky

    Questions: What type of paint did you use for this project? Thank you, Becky

    • Patty Palmer

      Liquid tempera paint 🙂

Follow Us

In stores 8/21


The {lesson_title} Lesson is Locked inside of the {bundle_title}

Unlocking this lesson will give you access to the entire bundle and use {points} of your available unlocks.

Are you sure?

No Yes

The {bundle_title} is Locked

Accessing this bundle will use {points} of your available unlocks.

Are you sure?

No Yes



The {lesson_title} Lesson is Locked inside of the {bundle_title}

To unlock this lesson, close this box, then click on the “lock” icon.