When you’re looking for a quick art lesson to do in one art session that requires just a few supplies and maximum student engagement, you can’t beat a watercolor resist. Here is a simple drawing and painting project to do this Spring with children of all ages.
What You’ll Need:
9” x 12” or 12” x 18” 90-lb watercolor paper OR 12” x 9” sulphite or all-purpose paper
Liquid watercolors (green, yellow, red, blue, purple)
Black & white oil pastel or waxy crayon
Medium round brush
Water and paper towel
Using the drawing guide included in the PDF (download below), follow these instructions to create a tulip in a vase:
1. Draw a slightly curved line for the base of the vase near the bottom of the paper. Draw two lines for the sides of the vase. Tip: Drawing from the bottom up offers kids a better chance of drawing a large enough vase.
2. Make sure the vase is as tall as your hand. Place your hand over your vase. Make a dot at the top of your fingers. Draw the top of the vase there.
3. On the top half of the paper, draw 3-5 letter “U’s”. This are the beginnings of the tulips. Make sure each tulip has space around it.
4. On the inside of the letter “U”, draw the first petal. Ot looks like an upside down “U”. It’s okay if the line looks wobbly.
5. Connect the outside flower lines with the first petal. This creates two new petals!
6. Around the sides and bottoms of the tulips, draw a few slightly curved lines around the tulips. This is the beginning shape for the brand leaves that grow around the flower.
7. Add a top leaf and bottom leaf to each line. To do that, place your pastel on the top of the line and draw a curved lined towards the bottom tip of the line. Do the same on the other side.
8. Fill your vase with as many leaves as you would like. In the empty spaces, add a stem for each tulip.
9. Draw a table line from one side of the paper to the next, making sure to jump over the vase.
Painting with Watercolors
Children love working with liquid watercolors. They are vibrant, require little mixing and are very easy to use. I squeeze 1 tablespoon of watercolor into a plastic condiment cup, baby food jar or small dish an dadd a few teaspoons of water.
Tips for using liquid watercolors:
My rule of thumb bis to add very little water to yellow and orange as they are very light colors. But for darker colors such as red or blue, I add water to achieve a 1:1 ratio. Make sure you test out your color by adding a little water at a time and seeing how it performs on the paper.
Remember, watercolor is meant to be transparent.
When you have your selection of colors ready, place the jars or cups in a plastic well palette or muffin tin. This helps stabilize the cups and prevents tipping.
Paint the tulips first. If you have a real bouquet of tulips, the children can observe the colors and see how many colors they can identify in each flower bud.
Older children can experiment by adding two colors to the flower.
Paint the leaves next, showing children how to use the yellow watercolor on the top part of the leaf and stronger green on the bottom. The two colors can blend a bit, too. Or, children can experiment with adding a touch of blue paint to the green.
Paint the vase and any pieces of fruit next.
When the paint dries a bit, select a color for the background and the table that allows the tulips to stand out. If the child paints his tulips yellow, then maybe he can chose any color other than yellow for his background.
See children might want to decorate their background or table top with many colors. I think this is lovely and will certainly make their painting unique.
My art philosophy…
I always say that it’s great to “control” one part of the art (drawing) so that another part of the process (painting) can be free flowing and expressive. And you can reverse this too.
DOWNLOAD THE TULIP DRAWING GUIDE
SPARKLERS ART GALLERY
A special thank you to members of The Sparklers’ Club for sharing their student’s artwork.
Gaby Kasan’s K-2nd grade students
Stephanie Keown’s 3rd-5th grade students
Rosie Sharpe’s 2nd-3rd grade