I began by sharing a special “artist secret” with my students…. that “artists use shapes to help them draw things”! Next, I read them the story of Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Then, I chose objects around the room and asked them what shape(s) an artist might use to draw that object. (ex. “If an artist wanted to draw our clock, what shape might he or she start with? The students answer, “A circle!”) Once they have the idea of looking for shapes in the objects around them, I show them how to draw a bird using shapes, and then paint it with watercolor….
1. Using a black crayon or oil pastel, draw a large half circle in the middle of your paper for your bird’s body. (Press hard, so your drawing will show through the watercolor later on!)
2. Now draw a smaller (but not too small!) half circle on top of that for your bird’s head.
3. Add a triangle for the beak and a very small circle, or a dot, for the eye.
4. Draw two straight lines down from the bird’s body for it’s legs, with an upside down “V” at the bottom for feet.
5. For the wings and tail, make something like a heart shape, only with three bumps instead of two. (I wasn’t sure if they would get that concept but they actually did!)
6. Now, draw a nest, or a branch for your bird to stand on.
7. Finally, paint your picture using watercolors. Make sure you use enough water, so your paint looks transparent (you’ll need to explain what that means!). Use any color except for black…. the contrast of the colorful paint against the black line drawing is what makes these paintings “pop”!