Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pimp your chair

You need:

  1. wooden chair for each student or one chair for two students
  2. water-based paint in various colours
  3. paint trays
  4. paint rollers
  5. brushes
  6. sandpaper
  7. ammonia
  8. newspapers

Pimping chairs is a nice activity for older kids. Ask students to bring an old wooden chair, or buy some old ones in a reclycle store. Discuss how to pimp a chair. How do you manage that? Do you choose a theme, for instance flowers or sports, or do you want to decorate it with motives? You can even choose an artist. How about a Keith Haring chair, or a Piet Mondriaan table? What colours do you use? How do you draw the design on the chair? Just drawing or is it better to use a cut mold?

Create a design on paper, on which the colours and patterns / designs that are selected are clearly indicated. Talk about the roles when the chair is made in groups. Who's doing what?

Put the chairs on newspapers. Sand the chair and make it completely greaseproof with a cloth and ammonia water. Let it dry. Draw the design with pencil on the chair. Paint the chair.

The table below is pimped by a group of students. For the tabletop they used chalkboard paint. This table is still in our classroom as an instruction table. Handy, because you can write on it!

All furniture is pimped by students of 11-12 years old

Friday, July 23, 2010

Totem poles

You need:

  1. large paper tube
  2. egg cartons
  3. toilet rolls
  4. masking tape or duct tape
  5. wallpaper paste
  6. scissors
  7. cardboard
  8. newspapers
  9. tempera paint
  10. brushes
  11. varnish spray

Totem poles are an important art form for the Pacific Coast people. They are made from the trunks of red cedar trees and often depict people, animals, birds and fish. These characters are frequently arranged to be used to explain a story.

Divide the class in groups of four students. Give each group a large paper tube (aks a poster shop), a jar with wallpaper paste, cardboard, masking tape, egg cartons, toilet rolls and a lot of newspapers.

First decide how many characters you will make on your totem pole. Use cardboard to make appendages such as wings. These are first drawn out with a marker and then cut out. The appendages are then taped onto the tube. Use egg cartons or toilet rolls to make eyes or a mouth. Cover the armature of your totem pole completely with strips of newspapers.

Let the totem pole dry, this may take some days. The totem pole is then painted with tempera paint in bright colours. Finally spray the totem pole with varnish, to be sure the colours will shine.

Totem poles, made by students of 10-11 years old

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sporting cow

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. black and pink marker
  3. pink paper for background
  4. glue
  5. scissors
'Sporting cows, I can't draw that!' This was the first reaction when I came with this job. I understood that, who has even seen a cow hanging on the high bar? However, this is what it makes it so fun. What makes you recognize instantly a cow? Right, the black and white spots, pink udders and a pink nose. A drawing of a sporting cow will therefore look like a cartoon. Fold the drawing sheet in four. Draw in each rectangle a sporting cow. Cut the folds and paste the four drawings with a little space between them on a pink sheet.

Made by students of 12 years old

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tree of life, in the style of Gustav Klimt

You need:

  1. black construction paper A4 size
  2. thick gold marker papier
  3. fine gel pens in metallic colours

Gustav Klimt (Austria, 1862 – 1918) was born in the neighbourhood of Vienna in a poor family. His father was was a gold engraver. This may have influenced Klimt in his use of gold in his paintings. In 1876, Klimt was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts .
His work consists of paintings of mostly women, but also wallpaintings , drawings and collages. Klimt is much praised for the use of gold in his paintings.

Show some artwork of Klimt, and especially the painting 'Tree of life'. Discuss the distinctive features in the work: use of gold colour, the spiral branches, the bird, circles that look like eyes. Tell students about the symbolic significance of these motifs: the tree of life curls, just like in paradise, in all directions. On the lush branches grow flowers with eyes of wisdom and the paradise bird underlines the enchanting impact.

Give students a black construction paper. Let them draw the trunk of a tree that leads to curling branches. Fill the whole sheet with branches, of choose, just like the artwork above, a round shape. Fill the spaces between the branches with different patterns in metallic-coloured gel pens or markers.

Both artworks are made by students of 12 years old

Friday, July 16, 2010

Me and my iPod

You need:

  1. drawing sheet A4 size
  2. compass
  3. colour pencils
  4. black print of a break dancer
  5. white sewing thread
  6. scraps of white paper
  7. scissors
  8. cutter and cutting mat
  9. glue
  10. coloured paper for background

After a dance project, students of our school made these break dancers, listening to their iPods while dancing.

Use pencil and ruler to divide the sheet lenghtwise in five compartments. Draw two meandering lines from top to bottom. The sheet is divided in 15 compartments now. Use a compass to draw circles of different sizes at the intersections of the lines. Colour all compartments alternately using two colours. Work top to bottom , to avoid mistakes.

Search the web for a black picture of a breakdancer and print it. Enlarge it on the copymachine until it fits on the drawing sheet. Cut this dancer and paste in on the drawing sheet.

Draw a little rectangle with a circle in it on a scrap of white paper: the iPod. Cut it and paste it in the hand of the dancer. Cut two very tiny circles, the headphones, and paste them on the head.

Cut a piece of sewing thread and make a loop in it. Cut the loop at the top - see picture. Paste the thread around the dancer, leading the two separate pieces to the headphones and the long piece to the iPod. Finally paste the arwork on a coloured background.

Made by students of 11-12 years old

Monday, July 12, 2010


You need:

  1. black construction paper A4 size
  2. white drawing sheet
  3. colour pencils or markers
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. silver and gold marker

Draw half sunglasses against the fold of a black sheet. Cut the glasses. Draw a summer scene on the white sheet. Colour it. Put the glasses on it and slide until you see the best part. Paste the glasses on the drawing and cut them again. Decorate the glasses with gold or silver marker.

Made by students of 12 years old

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The most beautiful soccer ball!

Made by students of 9-10 years old

With the upcoming Worldcup final between Holland and Spain tonight, a nice lesson to draw your own most beautiful soccer ball.

You need:

  1. pattern soccer ball (download)
  2. black pencil of black markers
  3. ruler
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. coloured paper for background
Most modern footballs are stitched from 32 panels of waterproofed leather or plastic: 12 regular pentagons and 20 regular hexagons. The pentagons are mostly black, the hexagons white.

Give students a copy of the soccer ball. Let them finish the lines using pencil and ruler. Then all surfaces have to be filled with patterns. Students of higher grades can be asked to draw dark patterns for the pentagons and lighter patters for the hexagons. In lower grades you can ask to colour the pentagon in the middle of the ball black, and draw patterns in the other hexagons and pentagons.
Cut the ball and paste it on coloured paper. Of course we chose orange!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The sky is the limit

Golden Gate Bridge, made by Veerle, 12 years old

Welcome, 100th follower!

You need:

  1. grey paper A4 size
  2. white and black pencils
  3. pictures of famous skylines
During a visit to the Museum in The Hague in 2005, I saw an artwork that Escher had made on gray paper. The only colours he had used were black and white. Together with the gray, you do have a lot of colours at your disposal. The Escher drawing I saw then, was the inspiration for this lesson.

Show photos of some famous skylines. Discuss skylines, skyscrapers and remarkable buildings. Ask children to search a skyline on the internet. Print this in black and white and then copy it so that you can see how the shadows of the buildings are (settings light - dark on copyer).Tell the children they are going to draw on grey paper using only white and black pencils. The gray don't have to be coloured, because that's the colour of the sheet. With black the darker parts are drawn, with white the parts that have to be highlighted. Look closely at the photo to see the shades.

Sydney skyline by Adnan, 12 years old

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fabric flowers

You need:
  1. piece of cardboard 30 cm by 20 cm
  2. different fabrics
  3. glue
  4. fabric scissors

Choose a background fabric and paste it around a piece of cardboard. Cut the different parts of a flower (stem, petals and leaves) from fabric and paste them on the background; be sure the petals overlap!

Both artworks are made by children of 10 years old

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tropical fish

You need:

1.white drawing sheet A3 size
2.tempera paint
5.jars with water
6.drawing sheet A4 size
8.paper towels
9.pieces of sponge

After a visit to a marine aquarium, children of our school made their own ocean with tropical fish.

Dilute tempera paint with water on a saucer. Paint the A3 sheet blue and leave it to dry. Stamp paper plants and corals on the sheet using a piece of sponge or a wad of paper. Use undiluted tempera for the stamping.

Draw a fish on a folded piece of drawing paper. Cut the fish, so you'll have two of them. Colour these two fish with bright colors, just like the tropical fish in the aquarium. Draw and cut a few more fish. Colour them like the first two; all fish must be the same color, they should only vary in size.

Create a beautiful composition of the fish on the blue-painted sheet. Stamp some strings of aquatic plants before the fish. Or cut green strips from magazines and paste on the artwork.

All artworks are made by children of 10-12 years old

artists who blog : nominate your favorite artist

Hello all and happy July! I hope you are having a lovely summer so far :)
I just wanted to give you an update as to what is happening with "artists who blog." I am very grateful and excited to see so many new followers joining us every week, and I appreciate your interest and all of your wonderful comments!

Right now, I am in the process of creating a new set of questions, and there will be lots of new artist interviews coming up very soon :) I appreciate your patience as I'm working to make "artists who blog" interview series even better.

I also wanted to ask for your suggestions as to who you would like to see interviewed during the next several months. I receive so many submissions each week - and I'm sorry if I haven't responded to your email yet - I have been a bit overwhelmed by my inbox lately!

Do you have a favorite artist or illustrator who you would like to see interviewed here? Are there any special questions topics you'd like me to cover? You can also submit your own blog or website - just leave me a link in the comments section, and I will do my best to review as many as possible.

Thanks for your help and encouragement, and I will be posting new artist interviews very soon :)


p.s. - I appreciate your patience and your many comments. It will take some time for me to check out everyone's blog, but I promise I will do my best!

In the meantime, please join me at my "a studio with a view" blog, where I am already posting brand new weekly artist interviews. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Desert sunset

Made by a student of 8 years old

You need:

  1. coloured paper
  2. black construction paper
  3. scissors
  4. glue

By tearing stripes of different colours of paper, children create a sunset. Draw a big cactus on black paper and cut it out. Paste the cactus on the sunset sheet.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Design your own board game

World Cup 2010 game

You need:

  1. coloured cardboard
  2. coloured paper
  3. clay
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. laminator
  7. markers
  8. various materials

Truth or dare

At the end of elementary school, in our Dutch group 8, when musical stress strikes (every group 8 in Holland ends its elementary school career by performing a musical) and motivation to learn decreases, making your own board game is a great job. In groups of two or three students invent a game , complete with all attributes and a set of rules.


First, I let the children think about the basics of their game. Then I ask those groups to make a list of the materials they need. Cardboard? Paper? Colours? Sizes?

The teacher ensures that all materials are in the group, as far as possible. Maybe children will also want to bring things from home.

Detail: pawns out of clay

After drawing, cutting, pasting, writing and colouring, question cards can be laminated. And if all games are ready and everybody's game has been admired, the games must be playedof! Always a successful lesson!