Summer Fun in Watercolor. Four techniques and beyond.

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As much as I like to boss the kids around I do not always tell them what to draw, instead I want to fuel their creativity by letting them settle on the subject from time to time. This week we are doing the summer theme in watercolor. The kids have to decide what ideas deserve to be put on paper.

There are many benefits of unguided drawing and if I think of some other I’ll post it later.

  1. The first benefit that I could think of is quite obvious. The kids learn to use their imagination instead of following the instruction or coping a teacher.
  2. When they are left with no reference picture they learn to visually analyze the surroundings and notice how things are placed around them. It could be a good introduction to a perspective concept.
  3. Decision making process does not look like a big deal here and does not scare off the timid types but still teaches them to make a choice.
  4. It lets them “own” the project from the beginning to the end. And it is a very pleasant feeling when you start and finish something that is totally yours: you did it, yay yourself.

Besides, you can learn a lot from the child’s drawings. His birthday wishes or scares, happy memories and moments that parents might not even pay attention to.

While they do the drawing you still can give them advice and help with the technique because unguided does not mean unsupervised. To my opinion, it is more like not interfering.

Before starting the drawing we tried four watercolor techniques on hopes that they could use some of them while working on their projects or later.


Blowing. You can make many things with a straw. Blowing on a watercolor drop will transform it into a spider, a sun or a tree.

Gradient wash and color bleed are handy when you wish to make a sky or draw an ocean.

Plastic wrap  is not only fun but helpful with the texture of the trees or grass, or clouds. Kids absolutely love unusual ways to do art. That explains our fascination with the blow drier which we use to dry the layers of a paint.

Salt is always a winner as well. Sprinkling it on wet watercolor wash can result in a beautiful and compelling motif.

My son did not want to draw a picture. My policy is not to force a kid, if he does not want to. I was fine with him just trying the techniques.

Since I am a big believer that the quality of the art supplies do influence the outcome I prefer sturdy paper like this one here and it never disappoints me. In fact, I use it, too. It is thick enough to withstand the rubbing or smudging and holds the shape well.

Here are the fantastically unique products of this week:

Maria, 10
Emma, 5
Anna, 5

As for the  musical accompaniment I picked out Mozart. “Why?” you might ask. It is cheerful and airy, and it always puts me in a good mood.  Besides, when in doubt what kind of music to select, choose Mozart.

Enjoy the day and have a great class.

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