Hi, I’m Andrea England, World Watercolor Month Artist Ambassador, back again with some fun watercolor projects for kids! These days I am a full time artist and sailor, but my other life is as a primary school teacher and art coordinator. I’ve taught watercolor to children from Grade 3- 8, and wanted to share some of my favorite activities for you to try with budding artists in your life (of any age)!
Watercolor Projects For Kids: Wet-in-wet Summer Love Card
Painting wet-in-wet is a little bit magical! It’s also slightly unpredictable- which is part of the fun!
Here I’ve used a wet-in-wet technique to make a card. As summer is on its way I chose a heart in hot summer colors. You might notice that I’ve used colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel- yellow, orange and red. That’s to keep my colors bright as they are going to mix on the paper- if I used yellow and purple next to each other then I’d probably get a muddy brown!
Choose colors that already belong next to each other like yellow, green and blue, or look at your results in the fish mixing activity!
Start off by folding a piece of paper in half to make a card. Lightly draw your heart in pencil. Of course, you don’t have to paint a heart! You can get creative, but keep your shape simple and choose something that is recognizable as a silhouette.
Get a little bit of clean water on a large brush and paint it over your heart. You don’t want the paper to be runny but you do want it to be a little shiny.
Then mix up your first color. I made a thick mix of yellow, as the value will lighten a bit when I put it on the paper. If you use lots of water in your mix then you will get a pastel shade when it dries.
When you paint your first color onto the heart, you will notice that it will run a little bit out of control. The more water you’ve used, the more it will run. That’s part of the fun- but if you think it has run too much then let the paper dry a little bit more, and use a thicker mix of paint for your next color.
I chose orange for my second color. You can see that the orange and yellow run together when they touch.
I then added my crimson and blue, then left the paint to dry.
Taking It Further
Change the amount of water on the heart or in your mixes. Wet paper and wet mix will run together more. Dryer paper and thicker paint will run less. Try tipping the paper a little when you add a new color to let the colors run together more.
Experiment with different colors and shapes.
Cut out the shapes and string them together to make summer bunting (you could even paint the back once the front is totally dry). Or stick your cut shapes onto a bigger sheet of paper to make a collage.
Watercolor Projects For Kids: Fun With Values
Value means how light or dark a color is. We’re often taught that black makes colors darker and white makes them lighter. That doesn’t work so well when you’re mixing watercolors though. Black can make the color muddy and white makes the paint thick and chalky, so we change the amount of water to change the value instead! This activity will help you learn about how to use water in watercolor.
Use a mug or cup to help you draw circles onto watercolor paper. The circles are going to be the frame for our paintings. You might like to get a few circles ready so you can paint a new picture whilst you are waiting for one to dry. I worked on three paintings when I did this activity.
Using plenty of water, mix a green wash- it should be thin, like colored water. Leave a bit of white paper at the top of your circle to be the sky, then paint a row of pointy mountain peaks (you can draw them lightly in pencil first if you want to). Start painting at the top of the peaks and then fill in the space right to the bottom of the circle, so everything except the sky is pale green.
Let it dry (you can use a hairdryer to help- just be careful not to blow the paint around- or why not work on another picture while you’re waiting?). How to check it’s dry? Hold it up to the light- if it’s shiny it needs a bit longer!
Use the same green to mix up a darker tone- you’re going to use less water this time. The paint should be thicker than your first wash, like tea or cola. This will make it look darker when it goes on the paper. Paint the second layer of peaks beneath the first, and carry on painting until you’ve reached the bottom of your circle. Let it dry.
Your last wash is going to be the deepest tone. This time use just a little water. The paint will be much thicker, like juice or colored milk, and hard to see through. Paint the bottom row of mountains, right down to the bottom of your circle.
Clean your brush off well, and paint a red or orange sun in the sky. Or get imaginative and try a bird, or hot air balloon!
Taking It Further
Try creating some more landscapes using different colors. How do the mountains change if you make them purple or blue?
Paint a different landscape using values- maybe a city of skyscrapers? An ocean? A desert of sand dunes? Just remember that the lighter layers will always look farther away!
Add something small each time to give a pop of color- which color combinations seem brighter and livelier? Which are more relaxing?
Andrea England sails and sketches through the Pacific islands, on a voyage from New Zealand to Canada via French Polynesia and Hawaii. With stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife and rich cultures there’s always something to enthrall and inspire her! She finds watercolour is perfect for capturing the magic of the ocean and the wonderful islands she’s sailing through.