How to Draw a Lighthouse

My goal with this drawing was to show students how curves could add a lot of dimension when trying to draw round shapes, such as this lighthouse.
1. With a guideline drawn lightly down the center of a letter-size paper, students first drew the triangle top.
2. The light section was centered under the top.
3. The fence curve was drawn as shown.
4. The lighthouse building was added below.
5. To make the stripes, students drew a curve line in the middle of the lighthouse, and then another centered above and below.
6. All other details were added, such as the grid lines on the light, the rays shining outward, and the sea and land below. The drawings were traced with a black Sharpie and colored in with colored pencil.
Thanks to Cassius, a talented 2nd grader who very carefully drew this amazing picture today.
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All American Father’s Day

I traced this template from Keep Designing to make this art, but any hand drawn image would make a nice gift, too.
1. Using sharp, adult scissors, I cut the tops of 11 popsicle sticks into points and straightened the  bottoms to create miniature fence pickets.
2. I glued two sticks, horizontally, to the back of the pickets using white glue.
3. I taped Dry Wax Paper over the template I downloaded  HERE. Using a very fine permanent marker and soft (higher quality, Prismancolor®) pencil crayons, I traced and colored in my design. You can buy Dry Wax Paper (also referred to as deli wrap) at food supply stores. If you need just a few sheets, your local pizza or sandwich shop would probably help out. 
4. With a 50/50 mix of water and white glue, I spread the mixture on the back of the drawing as well as on my picket fence. I placed the art on the fence and brushed my glue solution over the top to minimize bubbles and wrinkles. 
5. A magnet could be glued to the back to make this cute refrigerator art. Happy Father’s Day!
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Gold and Black Greek Vases

My quest for multi-cultural art continues, which has led me to a new media combo that I really like. It’s using food wrap paper like this, markers and tempera paint. I actually ran out of drawing paper and tried out this food wrap that was left over from an old project. It makes for a very “breezy” painting that doesn't wrinkle like the others.
1. I had the students fold their 12" x 12" food wrap paper in half and crease. With a pencil, they could draw half of a large vase, preferably using up as much of the paper as possible. When complete, they traced it with a large, chisel-tip black Sharpie. With the paper still folded, they turned it over to see the lines showing through and traced again. When complete, the opened vase drawing should be symmetrical.
2. They students filled in their vases with decorations of the country, with either figures or plants. I asked them to draw lots of images, trace them carefully with the black Sharpie. Once completed, the negative space around them could be filled in black. The tops, handles and base could be colored or not at their discretion. Care needed to be taken to not rub hands through the marker while it was still wet as smears could occur.
3. When the vase was all colored in, gold tempera paint was spread over the entire vase, but not the background. I had thirty 5th graders do this today in 45 minutes, all with really bold and shimmery finishes.
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Japanese Wind Sock Puppet

This project was inspired by Gail at “That Artist Woman” blog.  I love the batik look, which usually requires hot wax and expensive dyes. This process requires washable Elmer’s glue and acrylic paint, which makes it totally safe for kids. Thanks so much, Gail! My complete post can be found HERE.

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Abstract Cat Face

Let me just say, I adore this piece of art. It was made recently by a 2nd grader who was struggling with my suggestions of how to draw cat eyes. He said, and I quote, “But Mrs. Barbro, I like to draw my eyes THIS way.” That’s when I realized that sometimes you just have to step back and let children’s art evolve on it’s own terms. 
If you would like the full instructions to this project, go to the "Laurel Burch Cat Heads” post.
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Father’s Day Watercolor Picture

I love this old photo of my father on his John Deere tractor. The image was cut off a bit on the bottom, so for his card this year I made a color print on watercolor paper and finished the edges with watercolor pencils.
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Father’s Day Scratch Art

This scratch art project was a huge hit. Also a mess, but so worth it when I heard students say “this is so cool!”
1. I found the perfect Dad font called “Marcelle Script” and “Swashes” at www.stereo-type.net. I printed “Dad” with a swash on letter size paper, and made copies to 9" x 12" drawing paper.
2. I handed out all my odds and ends of oil pastels, and instructed kids to heavily color the entire paper with first a bright color (such as yellow or orange) and then a dark color (such as blue or purple). Note: Even the black letters are colored over. Only after two layers are complete do they take a wooden stylus and scratch lines to their liking. To get the best results, they should test combinations on another paper before they begin. Not all combinations create a lot of contrast, which is needed for the scratches to have impact. Also, the only oil pastels I do this with are the Portfolio® brand found at Staples and art stores like Dick Blick. They have the soft slippery quality needed for the scratches to work.
This sample was made with green pastel over bright yellow.
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Kinder Self Portraits on Canvas ... Completed

Here’s my favorite way to make canvas art for fundraisers. This is a composite of 125 kinder self-portraits, all done with permanent markers on dry wax paper. It just went up for sale at my school’s silent auction.
1. To make a grid of 130 rectangles on my 24" x 36" canvas, I marked off 10 rows across by 13 rows down in pencil, so my rectangles ended up measuring 2.4" x 2.77".
2. The dry wax paper that I have posted about before (click here) is difficult to erase on, so I had my students first plan their portrait on just regular paper (in a 2.4" x 2.77" box).
3. When the pencil drawing was done, I taped a piece of dry wax paper on top (which is see through), and they traced their lines with an ultra fine black marker. BIC markers especially have a lot of nice skin tones these days, so the students were to use the closest match. The rest of the face was colored, along with the background too. Lastly, they wrote their name somewhere inside the rectangle.
4. I cut out the rectangles, and followed the steps shown above. White glue was mixed 50/50 with water, brushed on the canvas AND the backside of each portrait. The drawing is placed on the canvas and brushed again, taking care to watch for any bubbles that may form. When the glue dries, it looks as if the drawings were made right on the canvas. Before putting it up for sale, I took a hi-res photo to email to interested parents.
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Mondrian Abstract Circuitboard

This project can introduce young students to the idea that not all art has to be about recognizable images. Some can just be about lines and color, like the amazing art of Piet Mondrian.
1. Distribute standard size drawing paper. To get a random set of lines, first ask the students to draw a large box anywhere on their paper. Then they are to connect it to the paper edge with either a vertical or horizontal lines (no diagonals on this project!) Next comes one complete vertical and horizontal line. Lastly, they are to pick one of the sections they have made and split it up into small shapes with about 4 or 5 lines. The goal is for each image to be unique, with a combination of large and small areas. Lastly, wherever lines intersect, the students are to draw a large dot to stand for the "connector" on their circuitboards.
2. All pencil lines should then be traced with a fat black marker.
3. And finally, all the shapes are to be colored heavily with oil pastels. Ask the students to consider balance in their artwork when coloring, so that the colors they choose are evenly spread throughout their picture.


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Kandinsky Cityscape

Kandinsky is perhaps best known for his abstract work, but I personally love the rich city life paintings he made, such as “Houses in Munich”.
1. I tried out some pastel chalk pencils for my sample, but I think you could get very similar results with construction crayons. I like the pencils as they can be sharpened and your fingers need never get covered in dust. Starting with a sheet of black paper, ask the students to draw in pencil a horizontal ground line. Afterwards, they are to draw a series of building rectangles that sit side by side. Windows and roofs may be added.
2. Ask the students to trace all of their pencil lines with the black pastel, going over each line at least twice to thicken it up.
3. When coloring in the buildings, they should choose the brightest and boldest colors – anything except the normal brown and gray. The sky and ground may be experimented on as far as mixing color, but the buildings should be just one flat color.
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Keith Haring Drawing

Keith Haring was one of the first artists to mix street art with the world of high art back in the 1980s. He got his start by decorating billboards in New York subway stations.
1. I had some drawing manikins that I inherited from a previous teacher, and figured out how to remove the base and silver pole. The body was placed on a large drawing paper, arranged in a desired action pose and traced. This can be a bit awkward, but I encouraged the students to just make a simple tracing and not worry about details.
2. A horizon line may be added, but the body is to remain simple with no face or details. The body and background is colored heavily with oil pastel. When complete, the body may be outlined with a black pastel.
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Art Journaling 134, Tissue Paper Trees

I’ve found that this combo of tissue paper and glue stick works really well to get delicate flat paper to lay flat, with a minimum amount of sticky fingers. I had a room full of kinders gluing tiny leaves and no one got frustrated, and all the trees looked lovely.
1. Starting directly with a brown or black crayon, I walked the students through the “Y” method of drawing trees shown here. Once all the branches were drawn, they were to thicken the trunk and branches, making thinner as they got to the ends.
2. I cut out batches of leaves from dark and light green and yellow tissue paper for my young kinder and 1st graders, and older could freehand cut their own. Note: it’s much easier to cut in layers than not. Students worked with glue sticks by rubbing very generous areas of their tree, placing leaves on top, and then carefully rubbing with glue again to really adhere it to the journal page.
3. Grass and other art may be colored around the tree.
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Mark Rothko Abstract Art

Mark Rothko emerged during the 1940s to create a new form of abstract painting. My goal was to have students think about the visual “weight” of colors.
1. I gave students lots of cardboard rectangles that were all 11" wide, and varying heights. On a 9" x 12" sheet of paper, they were to draw in pencil three separate rectangles that were of different widths – a large, medium and small.
2. The students choose 3 oil pastels, specifically ones that were very different from each other. All colors have a different visual weight to them, generally darker colors are heavy and brighter colors are light. The students filled the lightest weight color in the smallest rectangle, the medium in medium size and the heaviest in the largest rectangle. If they have trouble deciding, encourage them to just make their best guess. The point is for them to start thinking of colors from a new angle, not to be worried about right or wrong answers.
3. Lastly, a fourth color is chosen and colored in all around the rectangles, overlapping on the edges to get a painterly look. Heavy coloring, as always, looks best. 
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My First Flower Painting

This was a very successful introduction to painting lesson. If you have kids who have never painted before this is a good project to start with.
1. Have the students to fold and crease a large sheet of paper across the middle to split it into a top and bottom section. Each student paints a large vase that nearly fills the bottom half of the paper with a cup of blue tempera paint.
2. Next, students paint about 5-6 groups of petals on the top half of the paper with red paint.
3. Students paint center of each flower with yellow. It's ok if the colors mix a bit - it only makes things more interesting.
4. Now the kids can also see how to make the color green as you can add a bit of blue paint in each cup of yellow. After they have mixed the color, they can add the stems by painting lines from each flower down to the vase. Add a few leaves and you have a lovely flower painting. Note: I found the folding of the paper really helped to make the kids use the whole paper. The tendency for beginners is to paint really small.
CA Visual Art Standard: Creative Expression, Grade One
2.2 Mix secondary colors from primary colors and describe the process.
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Mandala Drawing on an Old CD

A mandala is an abstract design that is usually circular in form. It is a Sanskrit word that means “circle”. Mandalas generally have one center point from which radiate an assortment of shapes and designs.
1.  I wanted to start with a bright background on my old CD, so I spray painted it white until it was totally opaque. After it was dry, I brushed it with some watery glue to make a more slippery surface. I learned that would help keep my markers from plugging up later on.
2.  After the glue was dry, I used a ruler and pencil to estimate lines that would divide the CD into 8 equal sections. Younger students could use a template to do this.
3. Starting with just one section, I drew simple diamonds, circles, leaves and curves to fill it up. When complete, I repeated the shapes in the same manner until all 8 sections matched each other. After the pencil lines were done, they were all traced with a fine tip black Sharpie marker. Lastly, the shapes were all colored in with Sharpie markers, taking care to keep the colors all symmetrical. 
CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Two
2.5 Use bilateral or radial symmetry to create visual balance.
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Folk Art Bird Painting

This cute bird painting is an example of Folk Art, which is primarily made by untrained artists. In this lesson I encouraged students to paint with a very rough and sketchy style.
Lesson 1: Give the students large pieces of brown wrapping paper, about 12" x 18". They are to paint a large bird body in the middle. When finished, the background is painted black.
Lesson 2: Using oil pastels, the students are to add detail to the bird, such as legs, eyes, beak, legs etc.

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Desert Landscape

The first step in learning perspective is noticing that objects get smaller as they move away. I used this desert landscape theme to have students create lots of visual space in their drawing.
1. A bumpy horizon line is drawn near the bottom of the paper. Three cactus are added; one large, one medium and one small, anywhere they like. Butte mountains, with their flat tops, are added in the background. Sun and clouds look good too.
2. All the pencil lines are traced with a black marker.
3. The drawing is colored in with pencil crayons.
Thanks to Matthew G., a 1st grader, who let me share his great drawing.
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How to Draw a Dog

I’ve lately found that if I give my young kinder and 1st grade students a template to trace for just the first step of a project, they tend to have very rewarding results. For this dog drawing, children had the head template (download HERE) to trace, and followed my directions for the rest.
1. I first drew center lines in pencil on an 11" x 15" sheet of watercolor paper. Students lined up the bottom of the cutout template head on the center line and traced in pencil.
2. A chin was added below the head.
3. The rest of the nose was added above the chin.
4. Eyes, nose, mouth and ears were added.
5. A left and right front leg were drawn below the head.
6. A back leg and tail was added. All pencil lines were traced with a black Sharpie, and the dog was painted with liquid Dick Blick watercolor paints.
Thanks to Nathan, a talented kinder at my school who let me share his beautiful dog painting.
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