Sunday, January 3, 2010

Watercolor Birds Art Lesson...Easy and Fun!

This is a super easy project for middle elementary kids. I like to demonstrate how to draw a tropical bird using the steps below. As I'm drawing, I explain how it's easy to alter the shape of the body, shape of the beak or the expanse of the wings, etc. Depending on how well the class listens or what their energy is, I'll either do a direct line approach or demonstrate first and have them complete their own drawing.
After the drawing is complete, use watercolors to finish of the painting. I used liquid watercolors since I wanted to focus on blending and a more casual approach to painting. If you want more detail, I'd recommend using cake watercolors.

Sharpie brand black drawing pens
6" x 9" watercolor paper
Liquid watercolors

You can decide which is the right method for you. Here is my basic grid for drawing a tropical bird:
The next step is easy. Paint!
Fourth Grade Results (Mr. Light's Class at Mountain View)


Aimee Sirna said...

These are GREAT! What did you say to the students about color? It kind of looks like you may have discussed warm/cool with them.
Also, how do you use the liquid watercolors? Do you dilute them yourself, or are the students diluting them?
Love your blog!

Patty Palmer said...

Hi Aimee,
Liquid watercolors come in a bottle. They are concentrated so you can add however much water you want. I love them for projects that need vibrant color but don't have alot of time. The kids just pick a color, brush it on and if they want, can blend immediately with another color. Fun and fast.
I preselected the colors, obviously. Some cool, some warm. The kids figured the contrast out on their own.
I love their signatures...aren't they fun?

Char said...

How long does a bottle of liquid watercolor last? Do you water it down? Often, the younger students have trouble with regular watercolor paint because they want to goop it on and don't use enough water even after repeated direction and a demonstration.

Patty Palmer said...

Obviously, how long the bottle lasts depends on how often you use it! If you are asking if the bottles are worth buying, then that answer is absolutely. I love liquid w/c. Give it a'll figure out how much water to add.

Unknown said...

Thanks Patty, This is exactly what I was looking for, bright birds to use my new liquid watercolours with. I got lots and some sparkley ones from Blick when i was visiting the USA at Christmas. Can wait to let the children have a go with them. I've not seen liquid watercolours here in the UK, much less a lesson which utilises the vibrant colours they achieve. thanks and we're having a group try with the Russian line drawings next week, hope to send you photos of their art. Liz

Jill said...

This is my first year teaching art, so first let me tell you how much I love your blog! It has been incredibly helpful to give me a good jump start with project ideas. I just did this project with my 4th grade students and they absolutely LOVED it! They had a lot of fun and everyone of the projects turned out well.

Unknown said...

Hi there. I'm loving your blog. I don't teach art, but have two girls 7&8 years old who inspire me to look at sites like yours!
This lesson on birds is so beautiful, I want to try it with my girls. I notice that your kid's birds don't look like they came from the line drawing you have above. I absolutley LOVE your step by step line drawings because I can't draw (and of course my kids expect me to be able to teach them how to draw). Do you have the step by step that you used for your students in this lesson? Their birds are so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing all your lovely lovely ideas, your blog is really fab.

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