Printmaking with Kindergarten

Teaching art to Kindergartners is super fun but can be challenging.  At the beginning of the school year one of the lessons I like to do with kinders is printmaking…well actually this is more of a mixed media lesson; but we get the ball rolling with print making.

Why do I like to start with this lesson?

  1. Students start observing and talking about elements of art in an artwork where they can identify the subject (the castle) but it is also abstract enough that they develop their own ideas.
  2. Students start with the most basic art element: line, and use it to make basic and complex shapes.
  3. Students start experimenting with color mixing.
  4. This lesson gets the kiddos using art vocabulary right away.
  5. Students start using homemade tools (a piece of cardboard) to make art.
  6. Students start learning how to use materials safely and responsibly.

Materials List:

  1. Heavy drawing paper.
  2. Cut up cardboard, I cut my pieces in rectangles about 3 inches long. Cups for making the sun/moon
  3. Watered down acrylic paint.  I used tempera paint one year and when it came time to paint, the tempera smudged.
  4. Trays to put paint on
  5. Crayons…this year we used them to create a resist.
  6. Liquid water color…I love Dick Blick!  I usually dilute it a bit.

We start the lesson by looking at Paul Klee’s Castle and Sun. 

I found this image here:

I start by asking the kids what they see…they come up with so many great observations, not just shapes and colors, but a few will talk about texture and the type of color…YAY!

I give a short demo on how to print, not paint, with the cardboard.  Each year I usually end up with a few painters, but I just roll with it.  I do not have any photos of the printing process…but here’s an example of what the kiddos create before they start painting.


We usually don’t start painting until the next lesson so the lines and shapes can dry.

We started the next lesson talking about the color in Klee’s work and  identifying some of the colors he uses.  Students used crayons to add some texture before hand to see the magic of a resist.  I love day two of this lesson because of the excitement of mixing colors!  Here are some of the results of the kiddos hard work…..




Take care and thanks for reading!


New Work: Blobs and a Tutorial

The best part of a long weekend is when you wake up on Saturday and realize…IT”S SATURDAY!

It has been a lovely weekend, I have been productive art-wise.  Cutting out circle skirts in some funky new fabric.

I started a ginormous paper cut and did these funny blobby ink drawings that turned into little mixed media portraits.

The ink blob drawings are really fun, require little time, and are a great thing to do when you get stuck creatively.  They don’t require much at all…

1. Multiple  pieces of heavy weight water-color paper (after you make one, you’ll want to make more)

2. Eye dropper

3. India ink

4. Paper towel or toilet paper

5. Water colors, colored pencils, collage stuff…anything you might want to use to add to the blob drawing after it’s dry.

Step 1:  Get a piece of paper and load up your eye dropper with ink.

Step 2: Put the tip of the dropper on your paper and gently squeeze the bulb as you begin to draw what ever is in your imagination or from a reference.

*Work quickly and don’t try to capture everything…you should be drawing 1-2 minutes tops.

*I had to refill mine a couple of times because my dropper was a bit small…

Step 3:  Lie the paper towel or toilet paper flat over your drawing.  Watch the ink get soaked up (it looks a little scary but don’t worry) and quickly remove it.  Admire your work 🙂


Step 4: Go have an ice cream (it is a long weekend) and let your drawings dry.

My favorite 🙂

Step 5: Admire your work again and start adding the fun stuff.

I added torn paper, candy wrappers, water color, these rub off thingys….go for it!  They are really fun.  I can’t wait to do these with my students, my friends.  They would make great cards or a quick handmade gift.  They’re supposed to be quirky and goofy…not all art has to be beautiful, but it should be fun to make.

Here’s two of mine finished:


Portrait of Everyday-ness

If you make some of these beautiful blobby drawings, send me a picture, I would love to see them.

Now back to my paper cut, which I’ll show you real soon.

Take care and thanks for reading!!

Inside My Sketchbook

This morning I woke up to the realization that we have a loooong weekend…YEEEHAAA!

Which means lots of creative time and the opportunity to take  lots of walks….which I did this morning, back to the flea market.  I got inspired by all the people I saw and I bought some large format glass photo slides with some cool black and white images on them…I already have an idea for those beauties.

Today I drug out one of my sketchbooks and realized that I need to spend more time working in them.  If my students found out how little I work in my sketchbook…yowza, I would not hear the end of it.  Thank goodness they are way too cool to read their teacher’s blog…ha ha.

Anywho, Today I worked on people, trying to go for something between realism and, well, I guess not realism.  Here’s my peeps:

Right, so I wanna put these folks into my stories and with a bit more tweaking, some just might make it.

So that’s it, and now I gotta go have ice cream, because that’s one of the other things you do on a long weekend…YEEHAA!

Take care and thanks for reading

New Work: A Portrait of Today

I have had this drawing in my head for some time now, and it wasn’t until just recently that I got the composition worked out just the way I wanted it.

The idea for this work came from a series of doodles I had done using the crow and camera characters.  Thinking of those characters I tried to pair them with some other people they might be likely to hang out with…TV guy and Deer guy…logical right?  Along with being good pals, these guys also represent different aspects/characteristics of our society.  I am not going to share with you what they mean to me, but let you decide how to interpret them and this drawing.  The city street is a nod to West Asheville, the place I’ll be moving to in a short time.  It was and I guess still is, a working class neighborhood.  It’s not the most beautiful section of Asheville and it does have its moments of pretentiousness but it also carries good does of reality now and again, and I like that.


I first started by staining the water-color paper with some coffee.  I painted it over a few times and just let it be, I like the random bleed marks that I woke up to the next morning.  Then I drew the characters and the city.  I decided that it needed some color and decided to paint the city street with water-color and darken the sidewalk a bit with water-color too.  The characters are untouched and are the original color of the coffee stained paper.  I like how there is some balance created with the more detailed but colorless drawing vs. the water-color city street.

As I was drawing, I decided that these cats would gel well with Eugene and Lucille, and I got real excited about including them in the story in the graphic novel/altered book idea I have.

As always, take care, thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.  Happy Friday!

New Work: …I need help with a title.

Well, as you may remember I mentioned in my last post that I actually finished an artwork.  Motivated by my recent need to get organized gave me the energy to complete a work I was struggling with.  I wrote about beginning the draing below in an earlier post that you can revisit here.  It is my first illustration type work and I started it with the idea that it could be the basis for a children’s book…maybe.

I have a couple of things to fix, but overall I am pretty pleased with it.  It’s quite large, 50 x 70 cm (sorry I am in Euro land now so I gotta stick with the measurements I know :), and size of it is what made finishing it difficult.  Let me tell you a secret…I got bored…yes, I said it BORED!  That does not usually happen when I work on something unless it is knitting or sewing (the repetative nature of both).  But man oh man, those bricks!  All that freaking cobblestone made me a bit cray-zee.  So note to self, when I work on the other pieces that belong with this story, make them a wee bit smaller if they involve cobble stone or any repetitive object again.

Another issue I am having is figuring out a title.  Right now I refer to it as Girl with Birds…..zzzZZZzzzZ….boring and it does not say anything about the story.  The idea behind the work is escape.  The little girl is trying to entice the birds to help her escape her reality.  I just can’t seem to put the right words together to create an interesting and thought-provoking title taht is not a sentance long.  SO I am hoping that some one that reads this post might come up with a clever idea and if you do, you can have this drawing…ha ha, just kidding, but I’ll think of something to reward the fact that you are a faboulus Wordy!

I hope you have a great day!  Thanks for reading and take care!

In Process: Mixed Media Drawing

A few weeks ago I was a little down becasue I felt so uninspired.  I connected it to my environment.  Living in a big dirty city does not always inspire me to be creative, in fact it does the opposite.  I spent a whole day thinking trying to get my head around creating something more meaningful.   Out of desperation to get something down on paper, you’ll never guess what I decided to draw….yep your guessed it, a bird.

  I took this picture with my Hipstamatic application, so it looks a little peculiar… anyway here it is.  I have been drawing these birds, which really don’t have a species, for a while now.  I just like the way they look and they make me happy (reasons enough).  The plan at the time was to fill the entire paper with them, but then I stopped again, stumped.

…….(insert here special music that signifies time passing)……

Then I started to think about my childhood, which was filled with some good adventures and lots of imagination, but also some loneliness.  I started to think about the times I went to my grandparents and spent hours by their creek and wandering through the forest making up stories.  I also spent a good amount of time making things out of what I found in the forest.  A reoccurring item was a raft.  I tried countless times to make one and float it down the creek in order to get away and live a new adventure.  Needless to say,  it never worked.    So that got me thinking again about the stories I made up as a kid, my desire to escape and explore, and my love for these birds I have been drawing.  What I came up with is the piece I am working on now, which you can see below.


The little girl is enticing the birds to try help her escape her reality.  It relates to my desire to escape on adventures back when I was a child and to my desire at the present moment to escape back to my home and out of this city.  I have an idea to create a small series based on this idea.  I have a lot to work on, and I am having some issues with water-color (an unfamiliar territory); however,  it has been interesting and challenging to work on.  I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Thanks for reading!