Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Giraffes by Moonlight

This project is inspired by the book "Giraffes Can't Dance." I have done the dancing giraffe version which is a real favorite among the children. This go around, we focused on layered moonlit giraffe portraits. Giraffes were created using the wet on wet technique that created the "bleeding" spot effect. The children created the backgrounds using oil pastels for the leaves and moon followed by a watercolor night sky.  To create an added layer, the children cut out leaves from watercolor and salt paper they had made earlier. I encouraged them just to cut organic leaf-like shapes and not worry about drawing them out first. Last, they added stars with the backs of their brushes using white acrylic. This project required the children to follow quite a few directions and keep it moving along at a brisk pace to finish them up in one afternoon. Well done kids! These are full of personality! (Ages 6-10)


  1. This lesson is so beautiful!

  2. I love lessons like this where children get to explore different media. The "bleeding splotches" are great!!

  3. Hi Mary,

    The giraffes turned out great! Isn't it fun to switch it up once in awhile? I always enjoy trying tried and true projects in a new way. The wet on wet portion really gave them that special something extra.


  4. I don't understand the wet on wet technique that created the "bleeding" spot effect. Can someone give me more details about this? :)

    1. Sure. After the children paint the giraffe with yellow watercolor, they immediately paint brown spots. This causes the paint to run or bleed. If you allowed the yellow watercolor to dry first before painting the spots, it would be more controlled and wouldn't have the same effect.

  5. This is so stink'n cute! It makes me want to be teaching elementary again. I think I'll do this project with my two at home. Always a big fan!

    Nic Hahn


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