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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Colorful Village
Students can create their own village! They can learn how to make simple houses and 3d houses. They can vary them, add different windows, doors, roofs...Color or shade in. Probably best for younger grades :) Credit to Cassi Stephens and her website.
Example of lesson (with video)...but you have to scroll down a bit...
Behind My Mask: Mask Selfie
Self Portrait drawing on paper which shows mask and face underneath with some positive self personality words. Can be done with a piece of folded copy paper and any coloring materials available at home. Credit to Cassi Stephens and her website.
Lesson Example with video:
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.
Why is Blue Dog Blue book reading:
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): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7d6zscZF5I
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6q3ra1oWgs
Example sample pictures video:
Contour Lines / Overlap Drawing
The Contour Line/Overlap Drawing Project was found on-line for 3rd graders, but can be adjusted or used for other grades too. They found art supplies, students outline them on their paper, overlapping, then color in the sections. Key words are Line,Contour Line, Still Life, Overlap, Pattern, Repetition, Abstract. Colors scheme and analogous colors can be included too. Instead of finding 'art supplies' we can let them find other items in their home that might work. Younger students can just do a circle shape, or other simple shapes. Older kids could make it very intricate.
Example lesson (Art Supply Drawing):
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.
Another lesson example:
Video with his artwork:
Info on the artist
Drawing with an Eraser (When Pencil Met Eraser)
There is a book called 'When Pencil Met Eraser'. The two discover their artwork is even better when they work together. An associated art project is to use a simple pencil and eraser. Shade a paper with a pencil, and use an eraser to make a picture. You can use the pencil to add lines, and erase as needed to create a picture. Students can experiment with different pressures of pencil and learn that you can erase to make art! Might be best for younger grades - especially the story being read.
Example video lesson (with book reading):
Dubuffet Styled Scribble Art
(1901–85). French painter, sculptor, and printmaker Jean Dubuffet is best known for his development of art brut (“raw art”). During the early 1960s, Dubuffet produced a series of paintings in which he limited himself to the colours red, white, black, and blue. He also made 3D versions too! Those works resemble jigsaw puzzles. There are different variations we could possibly do. A full body figure in his style, Portraits in his style, or just full page of scribbles in his style. (A bonus challenge that could be added is to use thin cardboard (like from cereal boxes) and make a 3D version.)
Colors to look like his style would be white paper, black outline with red and blue, but if they want to make a purple and yellow version that'd fine too!
Example Lesson Video:
Elephants (Salvador Dali)
Elephants are an image in quite a few of Salvador Dali's work. His painting, The Elephants is a wonderful example of a Surrealist painting because they look like they might be real, but their exaggerated legs tell us something else! Either we could have directed drawing to make an elephant with spindly legs in Dali style, OR we can be more free and ask the kids to draw an elephant in their own style.
Galaxy Skies (Jen Aranyi)
Create galaxy sky over a mountain landscape in the style of contemporary artist Jen Aranyi. This is a favorite of a lot of my students because it is so satisfying to blend colors and always looks so cool when done. Usually done with watercolor but it can easily be done with (non-permanent) markers, sharpie or permanent black marker, water and thick paper. Tested also with regular pen and colored pencils (no water or thick paper needed) and turned out cool. Should work with crayons too!
Example lesson video:
Jen Aranyi's Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3DGteMa_4UubrT8bLRzpA
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:
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: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1of7OxgE8WJ9WHZwEd2gKwVGBLt0WokuMegSHgVMZWW4/edit
Lesson Example with pics (scroll past 404 error ):
Illusion of Space
The focus is on creating the illusion of space in a composition. There are multiple ways to create the illusion. Perhaps we could show examples and have kids practice along. Then they can create their own scenes using a prompt like pumpkins or snowmen or something...and challenge them to try to use one or more of the techniques.
Example video of technique:
Example lesson for 2nd graders:
It Takes All Kinds Of Fish To Make A School
Based on the inspirational books You be You and Only One You by Linda Kranz. In You Be You, the companion book to Only One You, inquisitive Adri has been out exploring our colorful world on his own. Join him as he notices that there are so many fish in the deep blue sea and that each fish has something special to share. The pages are filled with brand new fish that bring the message of opposites, diversity and acceptance to life. We will know that beauty is all around us if we only stop, observe and truly listen. You Be You inspires readers to always be themselves. This project bridges literature and art. Students use elements of art such as line, shape, pattern and repetition to create a unique fish. Project could be done on paper using whatever supplies students have at home: crayons, markers, paint, or on found rocks. Special supplies might be a rock and paint/markers if we give that option. Extra idea - if we do the painted/colored rocks, schools could create rock gardens if they want to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of each student. We could possibly create a permanent display at the district Office.
Video of book:
Video of book 2:
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!)
Letter Artists exist! Students can learn about lettering art, and practice their lettering! One option would be to have them write their name (or word they'd like). One site had K-1 learn Bubble Letters, 3rd grade learn block letters, 4-5th do cursive letter art. They could also try to come up with their own styles/font.
Example background/job interview:
Example lesson description:
Sample calligraphy video lesson for kids:
The Wavy Paper Illusion Project was a project found on-line for 3rd graders, but can be adjusted or used for other grades too. Draw a dot somewhere in the middle area of your paper, lines coming off to create sections, then add waves/color. Students create cool illusion art and learn about the following key art words: Line, Contour Line, Movement, Pattern, Repetition, Rhythm, Shading. There is a lot of student examples on the lesson page link below. There are different similar examples that students can try or we can do with older/younger students. Helps to have a ruler, but if they don't have one, they can make one by folding a piece of paper and they can use the edge :)
Example lesson (Wavy Paper Illusions):
Parts of a Landscape
Learn what a landscape is, and foreground, middleground, and background. The project found on-line used art work from Robin Mead as an example, but we can find other sample artwork as well. They are taught to draw the foreground first, middleground next, background last. Then color it in :) The project on-line is geared toward 3rd grade but can be adjusted. These samples have waves, flowers, hills, but it can be more open and draw some other landscape...maybe an umbrella,
Example lesson (with example kid pictures):
Example lesson video:
Example pictures by another school:
Realism in the clouds (NC Wyeth)
A project based on "The Giant" painting.
NC Wyeth was one of the great realist painters and illustrators of the 20th century known mostly for his illustrations of literary works like Treasure Island and Last of the Mohicans. Though a realist, one famous piece of his is called “The Giant.” It depicts children standing on a beach, looking at the clouds. The clouds form the shape of a giant walking past them. The children in the foreground are depicted very realistically. The giants is made of clouds. Using this painting as a catalyst for a lesson, we can teach the kids about realism, anatomy, and the juxtaposition of realistic and fantasy imagery. For the younger children we can cater the lesson to the clouds and what they see when they look at the sky. For older kids we can focus on the clouds as well as drawing the children on the beach. The lesson can involve anatomy and proportion and how artists place figures on a page. Though the original painting is in color, the lesson can be done with pencil, pen, crayon or watercolors depending on what the student has at home.
Robots and Donuts (Eric Joyner)
Eric Joyner is a California based artist that is known for his artwork containing Robots and Donuts. "I try to entertain myself," he says about his work. And about the doughnuts: "I'm not supposed to eat them anymore. My doctor said I can paint them, but I can't eat them." We can have students draw Robots with Donuts. For the younger students, we can concentrate on Shapes to build a Robot (squares, circles, rectangles). For older students it can be other tips to expand the lesson.
Example lesson (Robots and Donuts):
Example lesson (Robots only)
Shape Explosions - Illusion/Perspective
Create a cool shape explosion artwork, that helps teach students perspective, vanishing point, and depth and space. This was a 4th grade lesson, but can probably work for other similar grades fine. Can include shading tricks if student has colored pencil or crayon too.
Sample pictures from another class:
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:
Stippling is the creation of a pattern simulating varying degrees of solidity or shading by using small dots. Such a pattern may occur in nature and these effects are frequently emulated by artists. Students can be taught how to use more closer dots for darker areas and fewer farther dots for lighter areas. Looks best with markers or sharpies or simple pens, but tested with colored pencils or crayons and they will work too!
Surf (Heather Brown)
Heather Brown She has been coined the "Godmother of Modern Surf Art" by the Los Angeles Times. She grew up in Southern California, and moved to Hawaii. There she studied art and fell in love with surfing. A teacher posted a lesson they did with 3rd graders. They learn how she does creates movement by simply using curved and wavy lines. Also by using colors to give the waves volume. Need to test OK with crayons/markers/colored pencils, but I think it would work!
Example lesson (with lots of kid samples with paint):
Example video on artist:
Examples of her artwork:
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8JXI-8e9uc
Example lesson link (with other videos): https://www.weeyasmithsartclass.com/texture.html
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: https://www.deepspacesparkle.com/sea-turtles-drawing-painting-lesson/
Faces (Giuseppe Archimboldo)
Students learn about Guiseppe Arcimboldo's unique portraits. Students then create a face out of found materials at home and take a photo of their creation. (We could have them draw a face with food instead if found materials doesn't work.) Special requirement - camera, unless they draw it one instead :).
Lesson Example 1 (with food):
Lesson Example 2 (with found objects)
Giuseppe Archimboldo Background/Examples:
Everyday Object Art
Lesson artist examples:
Additional add-on idea: We could expand and give other similar options/challenges as well like: (a) put a cut-out picture on a piece of paper and use it as a base for a drawing. You can find pictures from food boxes or magazines or grocery fliers - stuff around your house (b) try drawing a everyday household item - like a still life!
Foil Art - Embossing
Create pretty designs, animals, scenes, etc by embossing foil using glue. Glue is used to create a drawing. After the glue dries, it's covered with foil and foil is embossed. It can range from something very simple or very intricate. Special requirements: aluminum foil, glue (like Elmer's school glue, no glue sticks), card stock or cardboard, pencil, paints (paint optional).
Foil Figures (Sculptor Alberto Giacometti)
Students will learn about the sculptor Alberto Giacometti. They start off with a fun human stick figure sketching activity, then use kitchen foil to create a figurative sculpture. Key lesson on 3 Dimension, Balance, Shape and form as well as learning the proportions of the human body. Older students could go one step further and use a light source and trace the shadow of their foil figure onto paper. Students will need aluminium foil and scissors.
Sample Lesson Plan:
Video on Artist:
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 2:
Background art info on collage: https://mymodernmet.com/collage-art-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) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USgiTXAEC9E
Example lesson video:
Recreating a Masterpiece with found objects
We would curate a collection of famous paintings and show them to the students. The student then would recreate that painting at home using found and unexpected materials and take a photo to show side by side, the famous painting and their created masterpiece. Student would list materials they used for their artwork. This project encourages creativity and thinking outside the box.
Lesson Example (scroll down page):
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: https://campkinda.org/weekly-adventures/art-escape/art-in-the-shadows
Example artist video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NInkH0ukCOI
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: