Take your kiddos on a trip to Canada’s northern territory to explore my favorite artist, Ted Harrison and draw a friendly polar bear.
Ted Harrison (1926-2015) hailed from the UK but lived in the Yukon Territories for many years. He became one of Canada’s favorite painters for his colorful paintings of life in the Canada’s north.
This project combines the bright colors Harrison is known for (bright blue, fuchsia, orange and turquoise) and a very easy drawing of a polar bear.
Watch the full video tutorial here:
Click the yellow button below to DOWNLOAD the drawing handout for the Polar Bear as well as this months January Freebie Pack lessons. Add your name and email and we’ll send it straight to you! (NOTE: We recommend downloading the freebie using Chrome or Safari)
What You’ll Need:
- 12″ x 9″ watercolor paper
- 12″ x 9″ White drawing paper
- Black oil pastel or Black waterproof marker
- Liquid watercolor paints in turquoise, purple, orange, blue, pink
- Scissors and glue
Step One: Painting the Ted Harrison Background
Start by drawing the lines for the mountains and hills. Use an oil pastel for younger students (so that the watercolor doesn’t bleed together) to draw one line about 2″ from the bottom. This is the first snow line.
Place pastel or crayon on one side of the paper and draw another line, this time connecting to the first line.
Draw 2-3 more lines and finally add 2-3 mountain ridges.
Timing Tip: Painting the background first gives you the chance to finish the entire project in one sitting.
Step Two: Painting the background
Dip paint brush in liquid watercolor paint and paint each section a different color.
Have some fun with the sky. Here are some questions to encourage a child to consider what he may like:
How would you paint the northern lights?
What kind of patterns do you see in the sky?
Imagine if the sky was filled with lines. What colors would they be? Would they be curvy or straight?
Step Three: Drawing the Polar Bear
Print out or refer to the drawing handout for the simple steps.
Start in the middle of the paper. Draw an oval and fill it in with the marker. Draw the mouth. Draw an oval shape around the mouth. Draw two dots for the eyes.
Place marker on the bottom edge of the paper and draw a hill over the nose area. That’s the body! Now draw two big bear arms.
Step Four: Putting it all together
Cut out the bear and place it on the dry (or almost dry) watercolor background. Glue in place.
Tip: If the background isn’t fully dry, the paint will leech into the bear paper. This is actually a pretty cool effect so if this happens to your student’s art, celebrate it!
Click the button below to DOWNLOAD the January Freebie Pack. Add your name and email and we’ll send it to you!
Wonderful lesson, easy to follow directions, amazing result! Thank you Patty for all of your hard work! I am a retired teacher but still follow you because I think you are such a valuable resource.
We are studying Polar Bears next week and I had on my to do list to find a polar bear art lesson! Serendiptiy! Thank you!
Wow it an amazing art lesson and I like the way you made it with an amazing colors combination that attracted my intention.
I love the Polar Bear!
DSS keeps me organized. I have taught for 30 years and have many resources. Too Many! DSS anchors and reminds me and simplifies what I already know.
Love all your lesson plans and my kiddos love them too.
Hello Team Deep Space Sparkle,
Thank you for these amazing helpful resources. I really do appreciate them especially
as we are behind you in Australia and have schools still open but barely.
I teach art in my in studio here in my little beach community helping children who are not very surf orientated or sporty etc and I really enjoy it and humbled by they what they produce.
Thank you again
I love it!!!
I absolutely LOVE your art projects! I teach PreK, and everyone passing by our bulletin board is always amazed by what 4-year-olds can do! We did the Ted Harrison polar bear this past winter and it turned out amazing! I wish I could attach a picture to show you. I had just (finally!) been able to get some liquid watercolors, and the colors of the kids’ landscapes were so vibrant! They also sprinkled some salt while still wet to get that frosty, glittery look. The kids were so proud of themselves! Even my principal was impressed! Lol! Oh, and we also did the tropical Santa flamingos for Christmas and they were so FUN! Again, thanks so much for sharing all these wonderful art projects! You’re always my go-to when I’m looking for something new to create with my kiddos! 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to write us 💖 Those are some of our favorite projects too! The magic of liquid watercolors! It’s really something that kids get inspired by. We’re so happy that you are sharing these projects with your own students and have seen results. It makes me so happy to hear art teachers in PreK and kindergarten are able to train these young artists, it’s a truly creative age.
I hope you are safe and well,
Hannah (Team Sparkle)
I love this lesson plan for polar bears. I am not sure if it is just because it is past January now but the download button doesn’t work for me. Or it could be my computer blocking it maybe. Not sure.
The download button doesn’t work.
We’re working on it!! Check back shortly to try again 🙂
the bear is so cute and i love the idea of the project…
I love the idea of this lesson. I tried it with my 1st graders and it was too hard for them. I don’t know why but they could not get the drawing of the landscape and mountains to fill their papers. Kept drawing way too small even after we tried several times. I was discouraged at the end of class. Will do something different! Christina Scruggs
Teaching art is not always easy. And it also depends on what you expect. This project is designed as a step-by-step to get little artists a sense for composition and size. These are the building blocks of drawing.
Are your students following a guided drawing? If not, I’d give that a go. One thing I liked to do when teaching little ones how to draw is to start with a directed line drawing and then allow the kids to paint with their choice of colors or even materials.
Often times, we offer a handout but its really for the teacher to use and not necessarily for kids.
Hope this helps!
Some of your links don’t seem to be working. When I click the “click to download” January freebie pack, nothing seems to happen. I also clicked the button to join the waitlist for the Sparkler’s Club, and nothing happened.
Hi Jessisa. I’m sorry you’re having problems with our links. If you still haven’t had any luck getting the freebie pack or joining our waitlist please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work with you to help solve these problems.
I am in fourth grade, and I will try to do this with my first grader little brother.
Hi there, Thank you so much for this! My home school group is learning about Canadian artists and we are planning to do this project in January. But the download button on the polar bear drawing is not working. Would it be possible for you send me the pdf? Thank you! Amy
Hi Amy! If you are having trouble with the download please reach out to Shannon at email@example.com and she can help you out!
Looking forward to trying this lesson!
The download button does not work.
my 8 year old loves it
I couldn’t get the download button to work. 🙁
Hi Andrea! Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for help!
Thank you for your beautiful resources.
Thanks for the free material
Amazing, good job!
We are studying Canada as part of ECC from MFW homeschool. This is just the perfect simple project for my 10 year old son. Thanks!
Amazing lesson! Thanks.
thanks – looks wonderful!
Looking forward to doing this with my group! Thank you for a great lesson outline!
I discovered you long ago and it is so fun to see you still rocking the best art lessons for teacher! I always know my students are going to learn about art and create something special when I use your wonderful lessons. So appreciate all you do to make your website, blog, instruction and amazing art such a great experience to use!
Hello, love the resource but the download doesn’t seem to be working today. Thank you!
Hi Hope! Thanks so much for your interest in our lessons. I just tested the link and everything is working on our end. If you scroll down you should see a blue box with a yellow box the says CLICK TO DOWNLOAD. When you add your name and email we will send the lesson directly to your inbox. Are you using the Firefox browser? We’ve noticed that Firefox doesn’t work as well on our website so you should try Safari or Chrome. Enjoy.
THIS IS GOOD FOR PRIMARY , THIS MONTH WE LEARN ABOUT NORTH AMERICA.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, PATTY ,
YOU ARE AWESOME
I love this lesson! I taught it last year and added a short lesson about the northern lights, and had the students paint the sky like the aurora borealis.