Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nature Contour Drawings with Bleeding Tissue

Wow Jenna! Beautiful lines and lovely colors!

Brendon, 2nd Grade
Gorgeous observations Brendon!

Katie, 2nd Grade

Calvin, 1st Grade

Amanda, 2nd Grade

Scott, 1st Grade

Abby, Kindergarten

Sonja, 2nd Grade

This project was inspired by some beautiful still life drawings with bleeding tissue effect at A.C. New Middle School. My latest group of students created these pieces by closely observing plants and leaves I had scattered about the tables. I talked about the difference between a stylized drawing and a contour drawing. If you could magically attach a pencil to your eye so that it would draw only what it saw, this would essentially be a contour drawing. Today we were drawing only what we saw, not what we imagined. Some children chose to begin with pencil and others jumped right into Sharpie and ball point pen. To create interesting compositions I encouraged them to fill the page, turning it upside down, repeating shapes and going off the page with some of their subjects. When their drawings were complete, they chose their color schemes of tissue paper. I demonstrated how to wet their watercolor paper and place ripped tissue (Spectra brand) paper on top, painting a layer of water to flatten the tissue down. Once it was dry, the tissue was peeled away and a beautiful dye effect was left behind. The children really enjoyed this process. Beautiful work kids!


  1. This is very nice and I love the colours!

  2. This is beyond brilliant Mary. I just did a lesson with bleeding tissue paper, but I am always looking for plans with contour lines. Great!

  3. I love kid's observational drawings and contour is a special favorite of mine, but kids don't love it as much as I do, partly I think, because of their love affair with color. This lesson is so brilliant in that regard because the bright splashes of color answers their need for color without getting too fussy.
    Love it!

  4. These drawings are stunning.
    I love the background colors.

  5. Thank you all!
    Barbara, I totally agree. The process of tissue bleeding was so much fun for the kids, they didn't worry about coloring in the lines or getting "fussy".

  6. TY Mary we love this piece all the kids did a fantastic job : ) thanks to a great instructor so creative. Tina

    1. Jenna is such a beautiful artist! I always love to see her take on projects. Thanks Tina!


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