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Watercolor Iguana Art Lesson

Here is an easy watercolor art project starring an interesting creature…iguanas! My fourth grade students had a blast drawing the iguana with a black oil pastel and then using watercolors and special watercolor techniques to create these stunning pieces of art.

Simple supplies are required: 12″ x 18″ watercolor paper, black oil pastels, pan-style watercolor palettes, salt, tissues and brushes.

I used the same steps and instructions as illustrated in my 3-Ingredient Art Grades 5 & 6 art lesson booklet. I used the drawing instructions from the art booklet and for the kids who missed the first drawing class, I gave them the handout to catch up on their own. After drawing the iguana with oil pastels, the children got busy painting with watercolors and used the techniques described in the booklet. This lesson takes two 45-minute art classes.

I love this lesson and do a variation of it every year. Didn’t my fourth graders do a lovely job?

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  1. So cute! I love watercolor resist; it always turns out so wonderfully. I am teaching high school and junior high at the moment, I hope to get back to elementary soon though and create some iguanas….


    April 18, 2012

  2. Love this cute iguana! My girls like water color, so I’m pinning so we can put it on our lesson plan. Thanks for posting!

    Ashley @ TheHillHangout

    April 18, 2012

  3. i so love your lessons and have used and adapted many for my kids. I teach art through a grant for an after school Y program. Your lessons are always a hit. Many of the other leaders ask where I get my ideas. I always mention your site. I have one question. I have the hardest time teaching kids to not try to use watercolor like thick paint. I let the paint set up before putting it out and yet very few get the idea of keeping it transparent. I’d appreciate any tips you care to share. Thanks!


    April 19, 2012

    • Just refine your demonstration and talk briefly but thoroughly about the properties of watercolor. Also, you may want to try liquid watercolors as you simply won’t have this problem with this product. Trust me, you’ll LOVE them!


      April 23, 2012

    • Make fixing the thick paint a lesson demonstration. When I see a kid putting the paint on so thick that I just know it’s going to dry sticky I stop the class, call everyone over and show them how to “Lift” the paint back off using a brush filled with clear water and a paper towel. Afterwards, I often see a lot of students going back to make sure that they’re lifting paint in places that are too heavy. Even if it’s already dried sticky you can still go back and fix it. It’s always correctable.

      J.R. Cooper

      April 24, 2012

  4. I love the use of salt on top of watercolor paint and drips of rubbing alcohol makes really awesome spots as well.


    April 19, 2012

  5. These look great! You have to love a project that lets students use a variety of colors. I love their creativity.

    Kids Art

    May 2, 2012

  6. Hi! What brand of watercolors do you use int he pan?

    Lisa Ricciardelli

    February 21, 2013

  7. this homeschooling mama is sure loving your site. You’ve saved our home from boring art projects.
    my kids LOVE our new ART FRIDAYS! thanks for inspiring us 🙂

    Michelle Drost

    February 27, 2013

  8. Hi – I am doing this project for a homeschool co-op next week. Can you tell me what the techniques are that I need the salt and tissue for – what are the instructions? Happy to pay for them – just couldn’t find a link with more details.




    October 22, 2014

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