Texture and Pattern Lion

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Learning patterns and textures can be a lot of fun. We read a basic pattern and texture book and went through a lot of examples before starting the project.

  1. The lion was drawn step by step and we followed a photo from national geographic magazine.
  2. The face and mane were created using texture rubbing technique. We used simple textured objects we found around the home.
  3. We painted a solid background and created patterns when it was dry. We did practise this step first, by painting patterns on separate sheets of paper. Understanding this concept was tricky enough for this age group.

It was a fun process and I love the way these little lions turned out.

Pete the Cat Comic Strip Art Project

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I’ve been thinking of creating a Pete the Cat art project for quite a while now and finally fixed on a comic strip. It was high time too, the kids had fun as they made their own comic and learnt a lot too. It was totally creative and they were able to work independently regardless of the fact that we were using guided drawing technique for drawing the cat.

Inspiration

We read the book “Pete the Cat and his magic sunglasses by Kimberly and James Dean. It is a fun read and is about enjoying the best in the world. Pete the Cat has a gloomy day and he learns to cheer himself up but finally learns that he doesn’t really need a “magic something” to make him happy. He could be happy anyway!

The illustrations, as it is with other Pete the Cat books, is catchy and inspiring.

After I read the book, I demonstrated different ways of drawing Pete the Cat. I focussed more on Pete’s face, but I also showed the kids how to drawing sitting, standing or on a skateboard. After this, I asked the kids to think of a story and start drawing.

 

Drawing Pete the Cat and the story line

I always teach the kids to start a figure from it’s eyes or the shape of the face. In this case, we started with the face. Draw 2 short parallel lines and join them on the bottom with a ‘V’ shape. Join the top with an “almost curved” line. Add 2 triangles for ears. Now in the middle of the face, add 2 long curved lines and finish the eyes using 2 inverted curves and 2 tiny inverted triangles for eye balls. Under it, draw an inverted triangle for nose.The whiskers seem to be sprouted directly from the cheek, which the kids found very funny.

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Use a strip of paper (I cut a regular drawing sheet in half lengthwise). Divide the strip into 4 parts and compose your drawing.

Painting the story

Blue oil pastels make a very vibrant choice for Pete. You could use tempera if you like. The rest of the details were all done with oil pastels. We used water colour wash for background, to keep it simple. This group of kids are new to watercolours so I had to guide them on how much water to use. The younger ones still ended up using too much, the water running into other colours. But the effect was nice, all the same.

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Finishing touch

More details can be added once dry. Then, stand back and enjoy your own comic strips.

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Paper Mache Monster Project: Where the Wild Things are

Did you read my review and corresponding art project of “Where the wild things are”? This is one of those projects which turned out to be both more difficult and more successful than you’d imagine. This is also a project that would fill your heart with joy in the process of creating and teaching. If there’s anything that can make it better, that would be a visual treat of a video tutorial. So here you go….

Wild Things Paper Mache Project

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Inspiration for the wild thing

One night, Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another. His mother called him “WILD THING!”. And Max said, “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”. So he was sent to bed without eating anything.

That very night…

What happens next is a grasping fiction that attracts adults and children alike. Imagination runs wild in this classic story book from Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are was first published in 1963 and if it still remains one of the most beloved children’s books, it’s not without reason.

The beautifully illustrated story book demonstrates the little boy’s feelings, emotions and fantasies. The character of Max is easily identified with most children and even adults’ childhood memories. After going on a wild rumpus in his imaginative world, Max wants to return to where he belongs, to his bedroom where he finds supper waiting for him.

Working with Paper Mache

I had always shied away from form art projects, but after reading “Where the wild things are” a couple of times with my son, I couldn’t help choosing a Paper Mache Wild Things project for the next lesson. It was a messy business. But it was less chaotic than I expected. The children behaved remarkably well too, and in 2 sessions, we had our own wonderful wild thing paper mache figures.

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Simple Easter Egg Craft

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I Love You, Little Monster by Giles Andreae is a happy story of parental love and appreciation from the author of “Giraffes can’t dance”. When Big thought Small was asleep and didn’t open an eye, Small hears Big say “I love you, my darling”.

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We read the story on the day before Easter and thought what a wonderful Easter Eve craft it would make way to. We got into a crafty mode right away and here’s what we have!

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Kinder Recycled Sculptures

Form Art – The idea of it had always both attracted and repelled me. Every time I see sculptures made by kinder students, I’m amazed but the mess it would call for kept it out of my class room. But now I decided it’s time to get things done.

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Inspiration

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

I decided on a recycled project and couldn’t help choose Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback to go with the lesson. I had read aloud this book in my previous reading group and had been waiting to plan a lesson.

It is about a man named Joseph who makes something new out of his old and worn overcoat. The story doesn’t stop there. He always figures out new things to make from his old and worn things and finally proves that something could always be made out of anything, even nothing. I felt this lesson to be only too important for kids of this age. What’s more, the book also has beautiful and interactive illustrations and the way Taback has incorporated something from the following page in almost every page is just too inviting to keep reading. Psst! I’ll say no more and let you read and explore it by yourself.

Preparation

I decided to let the kids create something out of recyclables. So here’s what you need:

  • Recylables (choose from the different types listed below)
    • Cardboard boxes (varying sizes)
    • Yoghurt cups/other plastic tubs
    • Styrofoam vegetable trays
    • Old plastic container lids (I have tons of these)
    • Bottle caps – I had been collecting these for a while
    • Any other creative stuff you can find
  • Acrylic Paints (remember to protect your surface more than you would for regular projects, I had to learn this the hard way)
  • Large paint brushes (I chose painting brushes from hardware store, which were far cheaper than art store brushes)
  • Masking tape (get the easily removable type but strong enough to hold boxes together)
  • Hot glue (I used this myself)

Demonstrate and build

I had prepared to demonstrate what could be done with the materials provided to them. I chose to make a robot because not only is it easy to understand, but we could make varieties even if all the kids choose to make a robot too. After I showed them what I would do, I passed a roll of tape to each of them. Of course, given their age, tearing the tape while still keeping hold of the materials was quite challenging. So I ended up tearing the tape and sticking it to the edge of the table.

It was hard work for the kinders but they surprised me with their creativity and persistence. They all thought differently and came up with totally different but mind-blowing structures during the short lesson. Yes, their structures were filled with tape which made it difficult to see what had been done, so I helped them hot glue the pieces together and remove the tape.

Finish it with acrylic paint

The next session, I setup acrylic paints and large brushes along with their sculptures and allowed them to paint the colour of their choice. After one exciting and totally messy hour, we had these wonderful sculptures.

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Farm Perspective Art Lesson

Looking for a simple lesson to teach perspective to kinder and lower elementary kids? Here is an easily adaptable lesson on perspective.FarmChicks1

I’ve had this idea for quite a while and was looking for a good book to go with the lesson. Later I realised that I had the right book all along in my son’s book shelf.
Where Are My Chicks? by Sally Grindley and Jill Newton is a fun, farm based counting book with bright and beautiful illustrations and simple words. It features a bunch of farm animals helping mother hen find her lost chicks and in turn finding a surprising bunch of other babies. The simple plot and it’s surprising ending adds interest to the book and we were all inspired by the time we finished reading it.

What you need

      • Drawing sheet for creating the farm
      • Tempera paints
      • Yellow construction paper
      • Yellow, orange and brown oil pastels
      • Black oil pastel or grease pencil for drawing
      • Scissors and glue

Drawing and painting the farm

On day 1 the illustrations in the book were still fresh in our minds and we made a farm background for our surprise lesson. I demonstrated a few barns and fences on the white board and asked the kids to get started in their own way. Since this was not the final project (though I hadn’t told them what we will be doing next week because I wanted to keep it a surprise), I kept it pretty much an open ended work. Mountains and tractors and sign boards soon flowed in along with barns and fences.

Drawing the chicks

On day 2, I asked the kids to draw 4 chicks (going by the story) on the yellow paper. I provided each kid this handout and they could choose any chick they found comfortable drawing.

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Near or far? Here or there?

Since they were lost and were to be found around the farm, the chicks were to be all different sizes. I explained how things that are far away looks smaller than ones closer to us. I also had the opportunity to explain the concept of eye level, that the bigger chicks will be placed below eye level that is towards the bottom of the paper and the smaller ones near the horizon. It is all easier said than done. Honestly, I had to keep reminding them that the chicks had to be different sizes and even when they grabbed the concept, most of the time, they ended up drawing all 4 chicks in the same size.

Final roundup

Cutting out the smaller chicks were no easy task for the 5-6 year old group. It took a whole session to get the tedious job done. Then we added feathers using yellow, orange and brown oil pastels. At the end of the day, I had a handful of satisfactory farm perspective paintings.

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Teaching Art: The beginning

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso

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Sometimes I think it necessary to write down the reason I teach. Not only does it help preparing myself, but I thought it would help others. Unlike schools and privately run enrichment centres, my students come to my class only because of me. They are comfortable with me and they enjoy what they get to do in my class, it makes the children keep coming back. But how about the parents? I wanted them to know why I teach and in turn what to expect from me.

Art is my joy. I always believed art is a process and not a product. So when it was time for me to introduce my child to the world of art, I was all set to give him art materials without adult intervention and allow him to explore. I wanted him to create what he would and see what he will in his creations. It was an amazing thing to do but little did I know that though I was right, I hadn’t figured out everything.

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I can’t tell how excited I was when I put my own little baby in front of a sheet of white paper and pots of non-toxic washable paint shortly after his first birthday. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. I felt like it was all I had ever wanted to do, the thing I had been waiting for! He was curious and wasn’t as excited as I was, but it was definitely a start. We didn’t stop there, we kept going and very soon, he had his own art station where he could have access to his art supplies without having to wait for mama’s help.

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I never stopped him when he was exploring or advise him on what he should be doing. I just let him go, do what he would, just like I thought it should be.

Drawings at 3 years old

Drawings at 3 years old

When he was around 4 years old, I sat with my son for a mom and me painting session and in the middle of the session, my son told me that he couldn’t draw as well as I did. That was a big shock for me, because I didn’t think that 4 year olds would ever criticise their art the way adults do. I thought they were confident about their own art and about what they created. And I really did appreciate my son’s bold unrealistic creations much more than my own subtle realistic paintings, not so much because he is my son as because I lack the sort of fearlessness that I’ve observed only children have.

For the first time, I reconsidered all I had discovered about art in early childhood. That was when I realised that useful intervention was definitely needed in a child’s art exploration. And then there was this question about when a child needs adult help, and how much. I enjoyed the process of exploration myself, as I set out paint palettes for children of my friends in my home. And I definitely learnt as much as or more than the kids did during those little art sessions. It helped tremendously when I decided to start my own classes for kids.

“Seven Blind Mice”

This was a book our volunteer reader had chosen to read on the first session of KidsREAD club. It is a simple yet powerful story and with brilliantly coloured pictures on black paper, it is captivating.

The story is an artistic twist to the classic fable “3 blind men” I’d heard from my grandfather long ago. As the title suggests, it is about seven blind but differently hued mice trying to find out about the strange ‘something’ by the pond, each coming up with a weird guess about what the ‘something’ was, drawn from the little they had explored. The story ends with a conclusion that it’s important to take your time to know the whole than jump into a quick decision.
It was our first story telling session but the kids were quite involved with the story, words and illustrations. To add interest to the reading, we had also created these props.

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A handmade Braille handout to show the kids how blind people ‘feel’ what they couldn’t see. Thanks to PBSKids’ Braille translator.

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Seven mice drawn and cut out from construction paper and pasted onto popsicle sticks. We used each one of these during the part of the coloured mice in the story.