Project Ideas Submitted 

Here are some of the ideas that were submitted and considered for 2020-21.

Although we have found enough projects for 2020-21, if you'd like to share another project that we may consider in the future or any notes for these existing projects, please e-mail 

Blue Dog (George Rodrigue)

In the mid-1990s Rodrigue's Blue Dog paintings, based on a Cajun legend called Loup-garou, catapulted him to worldwide fame.  And the artwork can bring smiles :).  Students can follow a step-by-step on how to create a blue dog portrait, and they can either color it in their own style (maybe Blue Dog's Friend!) or keep it a true blue dog. Backgrounds can be plain/simple, or add some special touch (like a palm tree) or pattered wallpaper, or add a whole scene (like a soccer field).   There is also a kids book, 'Why is Blue Dog Blue' that people read on youtube. 

Lesson examples:

Why is Blue Dog Blue book reading:

Colors (Kandinsky)

Do a couple different versions for younger and older. Kandinsky did this piece as a study to see how colors work together. I think we talk about color and mood and have them choose colors that are associated with various emotions for some of the squares... and let them play with color relationships on the rest.  

Paper and a set of colored anything (pastels, markers, crayons or colored pencils.)

Example lesson video (history):

Desserts (Wayne Thiebaud)

Students can learn about Wayne Thiebaud, and his stylized dessert artwork.  Then either we can guide draw them something like lollipops, cake, cupcake.  We could include lessons of shapes for younger students, and/or shading for older kids to add to the lesson.  Or if we want, they can let them look at his artwork samples and do their own dessert.

Example lesson:


Example sample pictures video:

Dinosaurs (Charles Knight)

Charles Knight (1874 – 1953) was known for his many illustrations of prehistoric creatures, most notably dinosaurs!   He would study the skeleton scientists would put together, and help figure out what they might have looked like or behaved.  We can give students pictures of dinosaurs and they can study it and draw it the best they can, and/or have a  step-by-step on how to draw one.  Then they can add ground, background, and color.  Saw similar projects for grades K-2.  Probably better for younger kids, but we can add something to make it more interesting or challenging for older kids. 

Lesson example:

Another lesson example:

Video with his artwork:

Info on the artist

Grid Art Technique

The grid method involves drawing a grid over your reference photo, and then drawing a grid of equal ratio on your work surface (paper, canvas, wood panel, etc).  Throughout history many famous artists have used the Grid Method for drawing including M.C. Escher, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, Van Gogh.   You can use a simple 4 square grid to help give you a general idea where things go, or have a grid with 100s of squares to help make a more exact copy of another image or scene.  We can supply a picture/grid to print OR if kids can't print or prefer they can pick their own picture OR we can have some on the screen for them to use.  Bonus...they can color it in / decorate it after. 

Example video of technique:

Henna Hands

This is a multicultural project that teaches children about the use of henna a traditional art form that has been practiced in India, the Middle East (especially Pakistan), and parts of Africa (Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan) for hundreds of years. Students will learn about symbols, pattern and the cultural significance of Mehndi, the art of painting henna on the body. Works well with dark brown sharpie, marker, or crayon.  Should work with pencil too.  Brown is preferred because it is most similar to the henna color, but other colors would do. Scissors, glue, colored paper are in the original lesson, but can be simplified and kept on one sheet of paper (not cut out) if we don't want to have students mount the hands on colored paper  

Lesson Plan example:

Lesson Example with pics (scroll past 404 error ): 

Lesson Example:

It Takes All Kinds Of Fish To Make A School

Kawaii Style Doodles  

Students can learn about the Kawaii art style.   Kawaii is the Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasizes the quality of cuteness, using bright colors and characters with a childlike appearance.  Think Hello Kitty!  Pikachu!  The drawing of the characters is simple which makes it pretty easy for everyone to do it including children as it does not require a special skill to creatively design one.  the beauty of Kawaii art is in simplicity and creativity.    Students can practice making simple faces, then learn simple body shapes (like cat, dog, ice cream cone, donut), and put them together.   Maybe younger students can put a few of them together or put in rows.  Older students can stack - like a cup of cats...or some other container.  Can be left just pen/pencil and paper, or colored in after.  

Example lesson (by a company selling pens!)

Simple Perspective 

Students can learn about a simple one point perspective.  Then are asked to draw something that would use a one-point perspective, like a road, a runway, a train track, a red carpet.  They can learn things look bigger in front and smaller far away - so they can fill their page with cacti, or trees, or buildings, dogs...whatever they want.  Color.  We could adjust for older students and add a more complex perspective.


Example lesson video:

Texture Hands

Texture is how something feels, or looks like it would feel.  Learn about texture and how you can show create texture in your artwork.  Have samples of different textures, experiment with drawing different textures (vary samples for grades).  Practice drawing some textures.  Draw outline of your hand and fill in parts with textures.  If too hard for little ones, can be adapted to draw a different scene with texture (like a simple house, roof, grass, rock path...).  Expansion idea for kids that want to do more - make hand look like it is coming out of the ground, or use textures on cube shapes...  

Example lesson  video:

Example lesson link (with other videos):

Turtles (Turtle Alley)

Students can learn about Turtle Alley, in Malaysia.  It is an alley where they display kids turtle artwork to help raise awareness of the endangerment of turtles.  Also, they can learn a little about turtles.  They can follow a directed drawing of a turtle (or perhaps multiple styles), or draw their own.  They can decorate their surroundings as they wish!    

Example lesson on how to draw a turtle:

Example background:

Mixed Media Pet Collage

The one good thing that has come from this pandemic was a surge in animal adoptions and fostering. This project pays homage to our furry friends using them as inspiration for this collage art project. Found (or made) paper strips are collaged onto a piece of paper to make the background. The eyes and snout are then drawn on a separate piece of paper and cut out and glued onto the background.   


materials: scissors, glue, background sheet of paper, assorted pieces of found paper from home: scrapbook, newspaper, magazine, maps, junk mail, construction paper, wrapping paper. Students could even make their own paper using supplies they have at home. To color in the eyes: markers, colored pencil, pastels, paint can all be used. Black marker or crayon for drawing.

Lesson example:

Lesson example 2:

Background art info on collage:

Nature Walk Mandalas (Andy Goldsworthy)

  (& Found Objects option)

Inspired by British artist Andy Goldsworthy's Land Art, students will go on a nature walk to collect natural items (sticks, rocks, leaves, petals, etc.) and use them to create a non-permanent mandala pattern of their choice. They can snap a photograph of the finished piece to share with their classmates. The lesson will encourage students to pay closer attention to detail as they walk outside, think about color, shape and pattern, and relax their expectations that their artwork should "last forever."  Anyone who has access to the outdoors can do it, and it can be as elaborate as each student desires. :)  Another option for kids is to make the Mandala with found objects (like toys!) if they can't go outside or prefer.

Example video (lots of artist samples) -

Example lesson video:

Shadow Art (Vincent Bay)

Students can explore the science of light and shadow with art.  Vincent Bay is an artist that uses shadows in his artwork.  Kids can use various objects to create shadows and then art with those shadows.  Either use the shadow as a dark shading in an artwork and take a picture...or draw the outline of the shadow on the paper and then decorate.  

Example lesson site:

Example artist video:

Watercolor Painting with markers

Turn markers into watercolor using simple printmaking with a ziplock bag. Color with washable markers on the bag, spray with water (or maybe use a paper towel to moisten), then stamp onto paper (watercolor or mixed media best).  This could be a standalone project or use this idea to incorporate into another project.  This lesson example uses sharpie/permanent marker as well to draw an image to put the water color over, but in others they do the watercolor first, let it dry, then use a regular marker on top.  

Videos on using a ziplock bag for water coloring:

Lesson Example: