Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Guess How Much I Love You" Art Project

Our book recommendation this month is “Guess How Much I Love You”, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram. You can read more about why we love this book here. One of the things I love about this book is the illustrations. There is this look of genuine love between Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare.

The book’s illustrator used watercolors to create the pictures for the book. I wanted to use the same medium with my kids but also wanted to use crayons. My daughter took an art class that utilized a technique called watercolor resist. There is a video tutorial here that was put together by Art for Kids Hub for more information. This project was a lot of fun and we ended up doing it twice. On our first attempt we didn’t exactly get the results I thought we would, which I will discuss later on. 

For this art project you will need the following things:
  • Paint Brushes - Though this might already be included with the paints. My daughter also used sponges.
  • Cup of water - Because I have two young children I placed a paper towel in each cup to help minimize the watery mess, however this doesn’t allow for the brushes to be rinsed well before being used on the next color.
  • Crayons - For the second attempt we used oil pastels. If you don’t know what oil pastels are here is an awesome link to introduce you to this art medium.
  • Paper or picture to paint -  On the book’s official website they offer free printables here. I chose to use the “Colouring In Sheet” for our watercolor resist project.
  • Tablecloth, brown paper bags - anything to help keep the space underneath safe
  • Paper Towels - Or whatever you use to clean up messes
  • Baby wipes - Or whatever you use to clean up kids

For our first attempt we set-up on the floor, which worked great. I let my one year old roam free while we colored with crayons but as soon as the paint came out I strapped him down to his booster chair. I know my house needs some painting done, but I’m pretty sure he and I don’t have the same tastes or standards. My 4 year old did very well with this activity, besides mixing the colors and using too much water and drenching the paper.
We do many of our crafts in pajamas, mostly because we do them right after breakfast!

I let the kids color for about 5 minutes (basically until they got bored and needed something new). Next I set-up the watercolors, don’t forget to strap down any easily distracted, wandering children with the potential of painting the wrong things. I gave each kid a paintbrush, but only the 4 year old got a cup of water. I held onto the little guy’s water and refreshed his brush as needed with paint. During this part Little E used a ton of water and saturated her paper which caused it to rip.  




Once both of them were done with painting (the one year old lasted less than 5 minutes and the four year old lasted about 10 minutes) I hung the pictures up on the fridge to dry.

What I had hoped to happen during our watercolor resist art project was a good demonstration of the wax from the crayons repelling the watercolors away from it. The crayons did resist the watercolors, but it didn’t give the same effect that we had during art class. Some of the things I think affected the results were the amount of water used, the paper (we used regular printer paper), and all the color of crayons and watercolors used. I think this works best on a thicker paper using lighter colored crayons and darker colored watercolors but they kids still had fun!


For the second attempt we used oil pastels instead of crayons. I wasn’t going for a theme but just wanted the kids to draw and see if we could get better results with this technique. At the very end I let the big kid put some stickers on her pictures. I don’t understand kids and stickers but I know in her mind everything is better with stickers. During the second go around I didn’t take as many pictures of us doing the project.



This is my finished project. I tried to mix and match the different oils to watercolors to show their effect. This was a two sided project (per my oldest) and we discovered something interesting because of that-  do you notice in the upper right hand corner the partial heart with red around it? Those were actually from the other side of the paper. Something to think about for another art project!

In review I don’t think we did a good job demonstrating the watercolor resist, but we had fun playing with the technique. We learned that oil pastels work better than crayons, light colored pastels work best, and when doing the watercolor pick only one or two paint colors and ensure it is darker than the oil colors used. We also discovered they bleed through and might explore that later in the future.

What art projects do you like to do with your kids?

Written by: Shawna

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