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Watercolor Splatter Animals

After India Ink, it works really well to just transition students directly to Watercolor as their next media.   For an introduction to watercolor techniques, I have students watch this video on YouTube from Mr. Otter Studio.  We set up our paper and then we watch the first two or three techniques.  I pause the video and wait for the students to complete them.  When most everyone has completed the techniques, we move on.  Students really love seeing all the things that you can do with Watercolor!  Make sure you stop and reiterate the vocabulary of all those technique terms!

For the past two years, I have had students create watercolor splatter animals as their watercolor artwork.  They have really turned out great so I’m sure I will continue to do this assignment in the future! Plus, the kids really seem to enjoy them too!

I discuss copyright infringement AGAIN and we select a photo to use. (Post about Copyright Infringement COMING SOON!)  We also discuss how to digitally crop an image using photo-editing software (I use Paint.NET).  Then, students print their images as a 5″x7″ image.  We just print them as black and white images on regular printer paper using a school printer.  Then, I teach them how to grid the photo.  I love teaching the grid method and many times this is the first gridded drawing they have completed!  So, we grid the 5″x7″ with 1″x1″ squares.  Then I provide them with 10″x14″ watercolor paper.  We grid those with 2″x2″ squares with a very light hand.  If students have very detailed squares (generally the faces and eyes of the animal) we grid just those squares by 1″x1″ and by .5″x.5″ on the reference photo.  This helps because you don’t have as many lines to erase later.

Then, using the grid to guide them, they draw their animals on the watercolor paper LIGHTLY with a pencil.  ERASE ANY GRID LINES BEFORE PUTTING WATERCOLOR ON THE PAPER!

Next, they get to splatter paint the background!  They mix up a wash and splatter with brushes OR they can mix it up inside a spray bottle and spray them.  They’ve got to be fairly light in value so their pencil drawing of the animal will still show up.

Then, they paint their animals and I encourage them to use splatters and messy paint as much as possible!  They may use arbitrary color, if desired.

Lastly, if they have areas that require some white (details, highlights or white areas of the animal that are covered with splatters) they use some white tempera paint that we thin with a touch of water.

Here are some examples for the past 2 years, some more splattery than others.

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Hi, I’m Erin!

I’ve been a high school art teacher at a rural school in WV for the past 14 years. I teach Art 1, AP Art + Design, Art 2 and 3. 
I’m a little obsessed with my sweet husband. Together we have FOUR kids and a rescue dog named Boomer! 
I love a bad pun and terrible dad jokes. I spend time looking at MBTI memes, cooking, listening to serial killer podcasts and Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat. I also teach yoga and indoor cycling. Click the button below to learn more about me. 

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