Sunday, November 7, 2010

Goodnight Geckos

Yes, I often go into my children's bookshelf and pull out a book to create my latest art lesson. Well, "The Goodnight Gecko" was a souvenir from a vacation to Hawaii back in 1999, when my son was 4 years old. I have collected children's books since, well, I was a child. On any given trip to our local book store, my husband knows 9 times out of 10, to find me in the children's section. (And yes, I do read grown up novels :D)
I decided to adapt an art lesson for this book creating a 3D gecko over a nightime Hawaiian background. First the children looked at different varieties of geckos. I like to do my homework and give them some interesting facts. There are over 900 varieties of geckos from 3/4 of an inch to 14 inches in length. The have tiny velcro like bristles on their feet that allow them to walk on walls, glass and even ceilings. They have invisible eyelids that they clean with their tongues. Geckos are nocturnal and hunt for food at night.

After showing them several types of geckos, the children used Sharpie and watercolor to create their own. They then painted Hawaiian flora with acrylic on black board. I encouraged them to double and triple dip their brush in analagous acrylic colors to create more 3 dimensional landscapes. The geckos were cut out (admittedly a bit tricky) and glued to small strips of foam core and then glued over their nightime landscape.
The geckos shown were done by ages 5 thru 10.


  1. Love the color combinations and the 3D effect!! I recently acquired some black illustration board and have been mulling over how to have the kids use it. I like the acrylic on it -- you've given me food for thought. Thanks!

  2. What brand of acrylic do you use? Mine (a Nasco student-grade acrylic) doesn't show up well on black unless I've added white to all the colors. They are semi-transparent unfortunately. Maybe I need to switch brands. I tried Chromacryl (I think that's the name) a couple of years ago but the paint was so thick that it was hard to get it from the bottle, especially when more than 1/2 empty, so I ended up throwing a lot of paint away.

  3. Phyl,

    Since I teach a small fraction of the students that you do, I buy my paint at my local art supply. I buy Ceramcoat or Craft Smart for these types of projects. (Liquitex when I need a higher quality) But I think you're right. The children who added white or yellow to their colors had better results of making them stand out against the black.


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