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Monster Watercolor Drawings and Paintings

I knew I wanted to do a watercolor lesson with my first graders and typically I do a fish or a flower. Tired of those particular lessons, I wanted something new. While racking my brain, I glanced up at my bookshelf and noticed a worn copy of Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Perfect! What little kid doesn’t like monsters?

I photocopied a few of the pages from the book and place them onto the tables. On the white board, I drew a few friendly monsters and waited for the giggles. There were many!

Now it was their turn.


Black crayon

9″ x 18″ watercolor paper


Making the Monster:

Using a black crayon, the children drew one large monster onto a sheet of 9″ x 18″ watercolor paper. They added scales, swirls, dots, stripes and colored in a few sections.

Finally, the kids painted their monsters using watercolor paints. I used cake watercolors, but I really wish I used liquid. They are more vibrant and I think the kids would have liked the intense colors. Also, it’s hard for kids at this grade level to get the right amount of water mixed in with the paint.

Still, the paintings look wonderful!

Drawing a monster

Finishing touches on the monster drawing

Outlined monster art lesson

Where The Wild Things Are Inspired Art Lesson Gallery

For more book-inspired fun art lessons, check out the Art & Literature bundle inside the Members Club. Click the image below for MORE…



  1. You have been honored with a

    Come on over to my blog to claim it!

    Ms. Julie's Place

    March 8, 2009

  2. I did something similar this past fall -then had the students work at their table groups to create the background landscapes. Pretty cool!

    I love seeing the expressions that they came up with !


    March 9, 2009

  3. Carrie,
    I’d love to see pictures. maybe you could post them on the Deep Space Sparkle Facebook page? It’d be fun to see how other art teachers and parents interpret the lessons.
    Thanks for visiting!

    Patty P

    March 10, 2009

  4. Hi Patty,
    I'm a new K-6 teacher in Australia. I love your site. It has provided me with so much inspiration. I used this lesson myself last week with a K/1/2 class. They had a lovely time creating their happy monsters. Thankyou for the inspiration 🙂

    I blogged about the lesson here.


    March 26, 2010

  5. I have been doing a similar project with kindergarteners for years. The students love when I glue wiggly eyes to the paper and then they create their monsters around that. I have also had them use texture plates for the body and appendages which they think is quit magical:)


    December 10, 2010

  6. My class had a wonderful time creating these little monsters today! I love you blog and use it a lot. Thank you so, so much!


    February 15, 2011

  7. love this project, I already have a lesson for Where The Wild Things Are but this would definitely spice it up, congrats on 1000!!!!

    Leah Minto

    February 23, 2011

  8. Love your ideas and enthusiasm! Definitely inspiring ! Plan to use some of your ideas in my own kids classes here in Monroeville, AL! THANKS!

    Sharon Owens

    March 8, 2011

  9. Dear Patty, You are such a great inspiration! I am in my 3rd wonderful year as an elementary art teacher after 25 years in graphic design. Your site has helped me tremendously!! I do something similar to this with my 1st graders. I read them the story and have them observe the details of the illustrations, then they create their own “wild things” in oil pastel and water color. They are fantastic, with a wide variety of features. (one eye, six arms, etc). The next week they cut out their creature, trace it. and stuff and staple them, and I tie a piece of yarn on them. They love their stuffed creatures! 🙂


    April 18, 2012

  10. His name is MAURICE SENDAK. What a sad day that an elementary school teacher can’t spell a respected author’s name properly.

    A teacher who hates mispellings

    November 26, 2013

    • Thanks…just a typo.


      November 26, 2013

    • Just so you know, you misspelled “misspellings”. Just goes to show we all make mistakes and should treat each other kindly.


      June 29, 2016

      • Thank you…I make a lot of mistakes!


        June 29, 2016

        • Sorry, Patty, that was not directed at you. I replied under the wrong comment. My comment was in reference to the comment just above (that took me aback as it seemed very rude). The commenter called you out in a rude way for misspelling something, yet misspelled something themselves. I am not wanting to stir up trouble. I just cringe at some of the comments people leave on blogs sometimes. It’s not easy to put yourself out there and share when you sometimes have to face unwanted criticism. Thanks for what you do. And BTW, I make a lot of mistakes myself. Just hope we can all give each other a little grace (I noticed you responded very gracefully). Love the artwork by the way.


          June 30, 2016

  11. You really need to do a book Patty. Your ideas are so very art education based. Integrating reading and illustration is so fabulous. Stop giving your stuff away – it would be great in a book for first year teachers, particularly classroom elementary teachers. If I see another bulletin board with 30 “lions” all looking the same because all the problems were solved by the teacher (cut outs, color choices, etc) I will explode.


    December 1, 2013

    • Sendak is one of my FAVORITES too!


      December 1, 2013

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