Friday, July 4, 2014

fun summer art project

 Happy 4th of July to my American readers!!!! Here is an excerpt from my July 4th, Newsletter.
(I send out a newsletter to my newsletter subscribers each week, which they receive in their in-box. If you would like to join the Newsletter Group, click here.)
Last week, I mentioned that I would be giving you the instructions for a project that you could do with the children in your life this summer. It’s here and I really think you will have a great time working on it.

I invite you to share this fun project with any parent, grandparent, babysitter or care giver that you know. Let’s get everyone colouring this summer!

Summer 2014 Colouring with Kids Project

Here is my drawing, which my idea is based on...


Fun looking chap, isn’t he?

I have personally tested this project out on young school children and it was a big hit.

[I don’t normally teach kids and this particular work assignment – going into a school to teach art programs for children in grades 1 through 8 was an experience never to be repeated. I am not gifted at disciplining children. On one occasion, I stood by and laughed along as two 12 yr old boys held down another friend and painted his face – it was a funny moment. And really, what else are boys going to do with paint brushes and paint but put it where it doesn’t belong? The lad who was painted up enjoyed the attention, just in case you are wondering, and we all suffered the ‘look’ of the Principal who walked by at that moment. Oops.]

But back to the fish...this is super simple and the secret to the success is that you create the fish on a sheet of plastic. Kids really like the novelty of this.

Supplies you need:

·        Some sheets of clear plastic film (not the frosted stuff) Mylar and Dura-Lar are brand names you could look for. You should be able to buy the sheets at an art supply store or an office supply store. Ask an employee for help.

·        A sheet of white paper per child. Doesn’t have to be special art paper, can be computer paper.

·        Coloured Pencils – these do not have to be professional grade. You can use any that you have on hand and/or you could use watercolour pencils.

·        A pencil sharpener

·        coloured sheets of paper such as construction paper or Bristol board

·        tape or mounting putty


Draw the outline of a fish on a regular piece of paper. You can get the idea of what I used by looking at my drawing above. Who creates the drawing depends on the age and ability of the child. If you are working with young children, it will probably be best if you do this part and they can do the colouring. If you want to get species specific here, you can involve the children and look for pictures in books or on-line for inspiration. Some children will know a lot about fish!

Have the child place the drawing under the sheet of clear plastic.

Next, using the coloured pencils, the child will trace the outline of the fish. The line drawing can then be removed from underneath and passed on to another child.

Depending on the surface you are working on, it might be a good idea to place a white sheet of paper under the fish work-in-progress. That way the pattern on the table cloth or counter top will not show through and be a distraction.

The child continues to colour the fish in any way they wish.

Colouring tip: You can colour both sides of the Mylar. If you put one colour on one side and another colour on the same spot on the other, they will optically blend to create a new colour.

Various species of fish can be created. Make big ones, little ones, all different colours. Create a school of fish!

If girls are not into drawing fish, perhaps they might like to draw a mermaid, think long hair and a fish tail with lovely bright scales.

The air bubbles can be expanded to make conversation bubbles, like in cartoons. The kids can have their fish talking to one another. This part may need some adult supervision. Apparently some fish talk nasty. (Who knew?)

Here is the fun part – place different sheets of coloured paper/construction paper or Bristol board behind the fish and see how the drawings change! Orange paper will have the fish swimming in an orange ocean and by the way, this looks very cool. J

Using tape or mounting putty, the paper and the fish drawings can be mounted on a window or on a wall as a mural. Sunlight coming through the window will also impact the finished look.

 There are lots of tie-ins here – if you go to the beach you can collect small shells to glue onto your mural or to place on the window ledge. If you are staying at a cottage this summer, you could look up the types of fish that are found in the lake you are on. If you visit an aquarium, you will have lots of ideas for drawings!

 Besides mermaids, your fish window/wall can also have other ocean creatures depicted. You can move on to drawing an octopus or rocks for the fish to swim amongst. You could even create a collage by adding cut outs from magazines.

 This project is addictive – think of tracing real fallen leaves in autumn, colouring them on the plastic and then creating a falling leaves scene.

 Final tip: you can create cut outs of your images too which helps if you wish to place the fish in certain locations or positions (instead of having to place the whole sheet).

 And that is all there is to it, a simple drawing, some simple materials and loads of fun that all ages can enjoy.

If you do this, I would love to see what you create. You can send me a picture - hint hint... :-)

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