Art Project for children aged 8 – 12 (this could be cool for adults too)
Blossom and Birds
This is a project I am designing for my grandchildren but I thought it may be useful to you or your friends who have to suddenly home-school!
It involves observing nature, looking at the internet and doing observational drawing. They study the structure of trees, Spring garden birds and Spring blossom.
I am giving lots of options so hopefully you will not be limited by whatever materials you have. The options are for the parents to choose, not the children. Children get specifics and their creativity is in the observational drawing. I’d love to outline the whole project but I am working it out and illustrating it as I go. Lesson plans 3&4 and Lesson plan 5&6 to come.
Paint or design a close up of a spring blossomed tree against a blue sky and fill the sky with birds.
6 sessions of 20 minutes to 1 hour. e.g Wednesdays and Fridays
Extra projects can be done en route.
1 & 2: Tree patterns and sky background
3 & 4: Spring bird drawings; a little concertina book; birds on main design
5 & 6: Botanical drawings of blossoms and blossom designs on main design
Parents: To do a silhouette of a tree pattern against a blue sky:
Decide whether the child should do the sky first or the tree first.
Option A: Tree first – this way the children can draw the birds and colour or paint blue around the birds, then add the blossom. I have started discussing the project with the tree, but you can wait a couple of days for lesson 2, then start with the sky if you prefer.
It could even be all black and white which is also a nice idea.
Option B: Sky first –
a) Paint the entire background blue in the first session. (leave out clouds or it will get too complicated) You can use watercolours, goauche or Readymix paint. You can even try cake colouring if you have some.
In the 2nd session draw the tree over the sky in sharpie.
b) Glue bits of sky torn or cut from magazines over the entire background.
Use glue stick or wall paper glue, Draw the tree with a Sharpie.
NB: If you do the sky first the birds will be black outlines over a blue background, unless you glue birds on. If you do the latter, make the format at least 30cm square. (See materials below)
Studies of little birds all drawn in black fineliner will be delightful. They don’t need colour, but this is an option later. I suggest they are left as line drawings for the design. When the child makes a little concertina book using the ‘studies’, (Lesson 3 & 4 – still to come) the child can colour the birds.
The child will start by drawing blossoms – preferably from real blossoms otherwise blossoms from the internet. Preferably with a black waterproof fineliner. The ‘studies’ may be used for a card for someone who might be lonely. For the main design, we will look at how to do blossom designs with rubber stamps, collage or an impressionistic style. (Lesson 5&6 to come)
Day One: The tree
- Look at blossom trees by Vincent van Gogh.
- Google (images) blossoms almond peach apple orchards Van Gogh
- Chat about his time in Arles and how he was isolated in a mental hospital.
- Don’t copy Van Gogh’s paintings, but keep the image in your mind.
- You can copy from the images on the internet.
- Think about the promise of life in the blossoms.
Study the structure of the tree.
Google these words: (images) drawings pruning fruit trees apple peach
By googling “drawings” you will get diagrams rather than photos.
- Use a big piece of paper and draw the whole tree and then crop it to a square, cutting off the truck so that there is just a square of paper with branches touching all the sides of the paper
- Or start with a square and exclude the trunk.
- Branches must go off all four edges.
- DO NOT draw in pencil – it gets too detailed and children keep rubbing out. Anything indelible will do. Sharpies are nice and bold. See Materials.
- Don’t worry about ‘getting it right’ Discuss it with them and let the child run with it.
- You could have started with sky.
- The branches which can be black.
- This is how it would look as a silhouette against the blue sky. We’ll do the sky in the next lesson (unless you swopped 1&2 around).
- If you want to take this idea further keep your one piece at stage two for my project and play with this design idea in different ways.
- More about the sky later.
Everyone will have different materials and we are in lockdown and cannot go to the shops, so here are some suggestions.
Choose a size to suit your child – their personality and age. If they do tiny delicate drawings let the design end up as 15cm x 15cm. If they like big drawings perhaps 30cm square is good.
Spare the best paper you have so that it feels like a real important project. Good materials yield good results.
- Computer paper
- Cardboard from a cereal box
- Wall paper is excellent especially wall paper lining.
- Piece of MDF – prime it with white emulsion,
- Brown corrugated cardboard. Cut it to a neat shape.
To draw with:
My rule for child-art teaching is based on observational drawing using an indelible instrument (so that they can’t rub out). So, no pencils, but markers, Sharpies, acrylic ink and bamboo pen, ball point pens, crayons, oil-pastels etc. are all viable indelible instruments for children.
Once again. Let them use good art materials if you have them.
- A black sharpie is great. It can have watercolour or ready mixed paint painted over it. You can buy waterproof fineliners for the birds at Sainsburys or Tesco.
- Crayons You can use wax crayons and colour the tree with thick black wax, so that you can do a water-colour sky
- An older child could draw with a black sharpie and then cut out the in between sky shapes to make a lovely cut-out. This could be glued onto a piece of blue paper.
- This could even be a stitched project on the sewing machine or by hand.
- A teen or adult could use this as a lino cut idea.
Glue: PVA wood glue which is diluted can work well if you don’t have other glue, but I’ll discuss that later. Wall paper glue also works well. Glue-sticks are good if they are new but as they get older, they become annoying.
Birds and Blossoms will be continued – it is a 4-week project.
Tips for parents: In the project “A House Portrait” you can see how a project plays out in real life.