Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday Art Class: Watercolor Pencils

Curly and Mo got watercolor pencils for Valentine's Day and were eager to try them out so I crafted a lesson for watercolor pencils.  I have a set, but honestly, I rarely use them.  I suppose they are good for on-the-go creating, but when I'm home I'd rather use my tube watercolors.  So I went ahead and looked up a how-to lesson on Google so I could teach the basics of the medium.

The tricky thing with these art lessons is that the boys will get bored if I spend too much time on solid art fundamentals like hue, tone, contrast - stuff like that.  My goal is always to have them make a fun project and sneak the basics in.  Kinda like sneaking carrots into spaghetti sauce.

Sometimes it works.  Sometimes not so much.  This was a not-so-much time.

It started off well and good.  I whipped out the lightbox out so the boys could trace the birds onto their watercolor paper.  As I told them, people often trace onto watercolor paper so they don't rough the texture of the paper up with eraser marks.

Then I showed them how to lay down the color with the pencils and that the object was to make layers of color to darken something and not just press the pencil down really hard.   I also tried to show them how to mix the colors a bit.

 The tricky thing about watercolor pencil is you have to have some skill in colored pencil AND you have to have some skill in manipulating water - so it's not the simplest thing to do.

They were all doing a fine job, but it was one of those lessons where I needed to come around and try to guide them individually.  You might want to add a darker color at the crown to get a good gradation of color.  You might want to darken the tip of the wing to make it stand apart from the body.  Stuff like that.  Magoo was having a hard time with it.  It wasn't going exactly as he had hoped and he was getting frustrated.  Then he took my guidance as criticism and he really started to get stormy.

At a certain point, I've learned, it's best to just back off and let him deal with it.  So I focused on Mo and Curly.

I think they all did a great job, but ultimately, I don't think watercolor pencils was a slam dunk for any of them.

That said, hopefully they can take some of the things they learned and then go off and experiment on their own.

(Curly did the red bird, Magoo did the brown, & Mo did the blue.)


Äiti said...

Our boys rec'd a set of watercolor pencils this Xmas and it's on my agenda to try them out in the next few weeks. This post comes at the perfect time!

FWIW, I think the birds came out lovely...good job Ms. Julie (and kids)!

Heather said...

I actually think the brown one photographs nicely

Shayna Bridge said...

THESE ARE FABULOUS!!!and nice work.I like Lyra Watercolor Pencils.I think they have the best control, as well as the most variety of colors.

Watercolor Video