Inspired by Lab #8 in Drawing Lab: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun for Mixed-Media Artists, by Carla Sonheim
Materials: Watercolor paper (I cut ours down to 4″x6″), watercolors, ultra-fine black Sharpie
I recently bought this book to inspire my hoped-for daily drawing habit, and this is the first exercise I tried. I thought the kids would enjoy it too. (G, age 3, also painted with watercolors and drew while we worked, but her pieces aren’t shown here.) Following the directions, we made random brush marks with red, blue, and yellow watercolor, watered down so the colors weren’t too overwhelming. Let the paint dry in between colors so they don’t bleed together; I used a hair dryer to help this along.
Here’s what our papers looked like with just the paint (we each did three); click to embiggen a bit:
Next, take your multicolored papers and look at each one individually. What forms do you see? You’re trying to pull out shapes that remind you of an animal, or even part of an animal, and then incorporate them into a drawing. Turn them around, look from all angles, and see what pops up at you.
Use a Sharpie or another permanent marker for the drawing–not a pencil (no erasing!), and make sure it’s permanent, in case you want to add more watercolor later.
The boys found more than one animal on each paper–their lines became quite interesting visually:
Not surprisingly, I like theirs better than I like mine! They were so free with their lines; their creatures are so interesting.
Once the creatures are drawn, you can go in and add more line or color. N and I did this, but V chose not to.
You could, of course, prepare the paper ahead of time, especially for younger children, but we enjoyed doing it together from beginning to end. Remind the kids (and yourself) to make the paint marks abstract; you’re not supposed to be making marks with a future creature in mind. This can be challenging, to keep your head out of it. Depending on the child, you could have him make the marks without telling him what you’re doing with them next.
I could also see making a stack of the watercolor sheets, or filling a small watercolor sketchbook, and having them on hand with a Sharpie for waiting moments–doctor’s offices, car rides, and so on. Hmm, that’s a good idea. I should get on that!
Other things we’ve been up to:
* I signed my niece and myself up for the Mighty Girl Art Spring e-course. It’s designed for teen and tween girls or, you know, women of all ages. Registration is open until March 16 if you know a girl (or woman) who might be interested.