Sunday, March 29, 2020

Two Step-by-step Ocean Themed Art Lessons

Let's Create a Waving Dolphin
Since I can't teach my classes in person, use this step by step lesson by cartoonist, Christopher Hart to create your own waving dolphin. Make your own artwork using whatever materials you have on hand
Send me a photo of your art and I'll post your artwork on my blog!


Start with a circle. You can trace something round (about the size of a tangerine) if you want. Remember to use a pencil and draw lightly because you'll be erasing the bottom of your circle. Add a face and a curved body like a banana shape. Next add a fin, flippers, long oval for the underside and a tail. When you're happy with your drawing, erase the bottom of your circle and trace all your lines with a Sharpie or black marker. Now you can color it with crayons, markers, colored pencil or even paint it.


Next you can add a wavy line for the ocean and maybe some bubbles. How about a few fish? 
Now you can color it with crayons, markers, colored pencil or even paint it. 



 If you have crayons or oil pastels, you can add color to your ocean using the side. If you have watercolors, you can paint the ocean if you'd like. 


Last, how about adding some color to the sky. Maybe a sunset?

Have your parent take a picture and send it to me by Friday, April 3rd. 
I'll share all your artwork on my blog!
If you enjoyed this type of step by step drawing, you can purchase Hart's book on Amazon:


Fanta"Sea" Garden
Older children, teens and adults- create your own artwork inspired by artist Yellena James. She has lots of examples of her beautiful art on Pinterest to inspire you.
 Here is a step-by-step to create your own design. 



 Start with a few circles in the center of your paper. 
Add some smaller circles inside them. They kind of look like olives.


 Add some sea plants. These look like lines with long raindrops attached

 Add a series of lines inside your circles and some more sea plants

Here is a different style of coral-like plants you can add


Stack these pointed curves to fill in some gaps
 How about this sea flower using small stacked circles?

 Or these "U" shapes that overlap one another?
 Maybe some raindrop shapes and rows of dots or small circles


 Add these elements all around your circle shapes
to create your fantasy garden

Fill up your page with as many details as you'd like
Feel free to add your own made up sea plants or abstract shapes 
Draw or trace your drawing with Sharpie or ball point pen


Now it's ready to add color using markers or colored pencil or whatever you enjoy.


 This is just thin black pen and markers on printer paper

Here I took it further and painted the background and used collaged circles and gel pens on top.
Get creative and think of different designs using these shapes and add your own ideas.  

Have your parent send me a picture of your work so I can create an online gallery to share your art!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Koala and Kangaroo Collages

The people and animals of Australia are in our thoughts and prayers right now during the horrible fires. Sometimes creating art is a nice way for children to work through their feelings and at the same time honor these beautiful animals. Here are some ways to use your gel plates to create koala or kangaroo collages. 


 8x10 Koala Gelli Print Collage

For the Koalas
 1. Add gray paint to your Gelli Plate
2. Create texture with an old toothbrush (tissue paper or cotton balls)
3. Make a print using 8x10 paper or card stock



Create a simple template using cardstock or posterboard and cut out
Trace template on the textured gray paper and cut out koalas

Background Print

 1. Spread green paint on your gel plate for the trees
2. Make a print
3.Spread a background color and lay down a few flattened branches
4. Make a print using the same green paper


             Add some details to your cut koalas using black and white pens
Glue them to your background print

Here are some steps if you have a small gel press to create
small artworks or cards

1.Repeat the steps above to create a gray textured print using a piece of
paper cut or folded to the size of your plate (5"x5")
2. Spread a background color on your plate and place your koala template
to create a mask.
3. Make a print using the same gray paper. 
4.Now you can add details to your koala using white and black pens or paint.
5. You can add extra details to the background using paint, pens or markers

5"x5" artwork


Here is another idea to create a kangaroo collage
using an 8x10 or larger plate
 1. Spread out a few colors on your plate using your brayer
2. Make a print
3. Create a print using a few different shades of brown paint
(this print was leftover from my fish bowl project that I used for rocks)
4. Draw a simple kangaroo shape. I looked at black silhouettes and illustrations.
5. Add some details using fine black marker. I used a white pastel to a few areas as well
6. Cut out and glue to your background. You can add some extra details to your piece
(I created some kangaroo silhouettes, stars and plants in the foreground)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Mixed Media Gel Printed Fish Bowls


Here is a fun way to use your gel printed botanical pages to 
create fish bowl or terrarium collages.

 Gather some leaves - the greater variety of silhouettes, the better

 I press mine in an old dictionary. The kids get the biggest kick out of the fact that this is how we used to look up the spelling and definition of a word before the internet. 

 Add some paint to your Gelli Plate - Remember that this will be the color of your plants. With that in mind, you might want to use light or warm colors for a nice contrast.


 Now add some paint for the water or background of your fish bowl or terrarium. Lay down some leaves and make a print using the same paper as above. 

Use a template to trace for the fish bowl. You could use any vessel shape. We used metallic markers and added white pen to create highlights in the glass. You can use different pens and markers to add more plants if you want. 


I had some Gelli Arts DIY Kits with 5 inch square plates. These were perfect to create 
small fish bowls following the same steps as the larger bowl. 


You can create collage rocks using gel printed papers 
or you can add them with paint or markers. 




 Some of my students created shadows under our fish bowls 
using chalk pastels with water and a paint brush. 
Just color an ellipse and spread it out with water for a watercolor effect. 





I offered a variety of ideas for creatures to create, cut and place in the fish bowls. 
You could go realistic, whimsical, cartoon or imaginary,


You can use leftover gel printed papers or create fish 
or creatures using white paper and markers.


We glued our fish bowls on watercolor paper. 

 This background was created using acrylic paint for the wall, watercolor for the table
and charcoal for the shadows,

You could create single vessels with painted backgrounds
using an 8x10 or larger Gelli Plate. 

 Added collage succulent




The pieces below were created by students, ages 5-12.

 6th grade

 Kindergarten

 Kindergarten


 3rd grade

3rd grade


6th grade

A special thanks to Natalie at at smART class for her Fabulous Succulent Garden art lesson here https://elementaryartfun.blogspot.com/2018/05/succulent-gardens.html
and artist, Clair Bremner for her Create a Terrarium Artwork with a Gel Press art class on Skillshare for Inspiration.