Saturday, October 24, 2020

Zen Doodle Project School Year 2020-2021


It’s time for Art Lit!

Zen Doodle Project  

Inspired by Illustrators

If you do not have the materials for this project at home, use what you do have. Just get creative!


Zen Doodle Art Lit Project Inspiration

An illustrator is an artist who draws or creates pictures for magazines, books, advertising, etc.


Some examples are:

 Day and Night by M.C Esher

The Tale of Squire Nutkin by Beatrix Potter

Wild Rumpus by Mauric Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are)

Examples of Zen Doodles by Paula Dickerhoff:

Who Says the Owl

Add caption


Materials Needed:



Black marker

Optional items: colored pencils, markers, crayons


Project, step by step directions:

Step 1 

Practice different doodle patterns.

On a piece of blank paper, practice some of the base doodle shapes and patterns. (See directions below.)

a)      Raindrop

b)      Rainbow

c)      Circles, squares, triangles

d)      Spirals

e)      Wavy Lines, Zig Zag Lines

f)       Hashing lines


Draw a raindrop shape.

Start at the tip, follow the shape, and draw another, larger raindrop around the first one.

Keep repeating until you are happy with the size.


Draw a small, upside down U shape.

Draw a larger U shape, following the same shape as the first one.

Keep repeating until you are happy with the size.

Circles, squares, triangles

Draw a circle, square, or triangle.

Draw a smaller circle, square, or triangle inside the larger one.

Keep repeating until you are happy with the size.


Draw a circle that does not fully touch, start to curve in, toward the center.

Try a square or triangle. 

Wavy lines and Zig Zag Lines

To fill a cell or space, use your pencil/pen to draw a wavy line.

Try thick lines, thin lines, drawing the wavy lines close together or farther apart.

Hashing lines

Draw four short lines, one over the other to make a square.

Draw four short lines, next to each other to make a square.

Repeat, drawing the blocks of lines close to each other.

Step 2. Choose your subject.  

On a new piece of paper, use a pencil to lightly draw a large, simple subject; fish, butterfly, flower, heart, bird, trace your hand (Or, an adult’s hand! It will be larger).  

Step 3

Trace the shape with a marker, pen or Sharpie. 

Step 4

Draw lines to create cells or shapes.

Step 5

Choose any of the Zen Doodle patterns from your practice page to fill in the open shapes.

Step 6

Keep going until all of the cells are filled. Then, make some lines thicker, add dots or extra lines, add a smile.

You can use markers, colored pencils or crayon if you want to color your Zen Doodle!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Wassily Kandinsky

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program 

Wassily Kandinsky Bio 

Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian artist who lived from 1866 to 1944. He went to art school when he was young, then studied law and became a successful lawyer. He didn’t start to be an artist until he was 30 years old. Show figure 1, self portrait.

Blue Painting

 Some people think of Kandinsky as the first Abstract artist. Abstract art is art that does not look like something does in the real world. The colors may be different, or the shape of something may be changed. If art is completely abstract, it doesn’t really look like anything you can identify. It might be a group of shapes put together in a harmonious pattern. It can be anything. Kandinsky’s early work is still representational, which means it is showing, or representing, something that you can look at and identify. The longer he worked, the more abstract his work became, until his later art was mostly interesting compositions of colorful shapes.
                                         Odessa Port 1898                                            

 Couple Riding, 1906

Show figure 2 These are some early paintings by Kandinsky. He uses bright colors, and he doesn’t use too much realistic detail, but the figures still look quite realistic.

 Church of St. Ursula 1908      

 Street in Murnau, 1908

 Murnau Train and Castle, 1909

Winter Landscape, 1909

Show figure 3 These are paintings that Kandinsky made as he was starting to make his work more abstract. You can still see what the painting is - you can recognize the buildings and trees - but the shapes and colors are not realistic anymore.

 Several Circles, 1926

 On White II, 1923

 Soft Hard, 1927

 Composition 10, 1939

Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913

Show figure 4 These are some of Kandinsky’s later works that show how his paintings became completely abstract. When you look at one of them for awhile you might start to see that it looks like something to you – like maybe the colored circles look like planets – but that is just what is in the mind of a person who is looking at it. Everyone might see something different. There isn’t anything in the picture that you can point at and say, “It’s a tree”, or “It’s a person.”

Kandinsky developed a lot of ideas about how shapes relate to each other, and how colors are like notes in music. Each artist has a very different vision of how composition works, and in art, there is never really a “right” and a “wrong” way of doing it. So when you create your own abstract designs, the balance of the composition just has to feel right to you.

Today we will be making colorful abstract monoprints. Usually when an artist makes prints, they make several copies of the same print, but a Monoprint is a print that the artist only makes one of.

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program
Wassily Kandinsky Monoprint Project

This project will be easier if there is a second adult to help.  All the kids will have to take turns inking and printing their artwork, and there needs to be help and supervision. The ink is water based and washes off hands with water.  But it may get messy.

Getting ready

Check the Art Lit cart for the supplies you will need.  The presentation folders and the tools should all be kept on the carts.  You will need to take a stack of paper sheets and a bag of foam sheets from the counter.  

These are the supplies you will need:

Presentation folder and art samples
Box of small jars of printing ink (12 colors, 2 of each color)
24 paint brushes
Bucket and sponges for clean up (please use paper towels from the room you are in.)
1 printing press with a felt pad (please keep it in the box when not in use)
Bag of ballpoint pens
2 plastic trash bags to use as table covers
A pencil to write names on prints

Take from the supply cart (the third cart – it stays put)  in the storage room: 
1 plastic bag of foam sheets
1 stack of paper (around 90 sheets)

If you are going to a classroom, take an old drying rack.    If dry prints are left on the drying rack, please put them into a folder.  The person before you should have set a folder with their teacher’s name by their class’s work so we can tell where it goes.

In the classroom, set up 2 tables or sets of desks as the area for inking.  Each inking area should have one jar each of the 12 colors, and a paint brush in each.  If you set them on a plastic trash bag it may help control the mess a little.  Ideally, 4 to 6 kids should be able to use each inking area at once, sharing the inks.  Set up the press in a spot close by.   Put the stack of paper and the pencil by the press.
Each student starts out with just a ballpoint pen.  Don’t hand out the foam until you have talked to the kids and they are ready for it. (The foam is easy to break, and we do not have extra for fiddly hands.)

The Project

(Things you might want to say to the kids are in purple.)  Try to think of questions to ask the kids as you go along.   Present Kandinsky’s work to the kids, then show them the samples of our project.  Put the page of abstract Kandinsky work on the docucam.

Today we are going to make relief prints.   “Relief” means a surface that has a design cut into it.  We are going to use thin sheets of foam as our printing plates.  You will draw your design on the foam with ballpoint pens, and the pens will press a line into the foam.  The places you draw lines will come out white, because the printing ink doesn’t go into the lines, and the places you don’t make marks on will come out with color.  The picture will also come out in reverse.
After you have drawn your picture, you will come over to the inking area to color them.  After your picture is colored, you will bring it to the printing press to make it into a picture.

Step 1 – Drawing the design  

 Hand out the foam sheets.  

The foam is not very strong, so don’t bend it or tear it, because it will break.  You could still print a torn one, but it will be better if it’s in one piece.  We are going to think about the abstract designs Kandinsky liked to paint.  Try to make a picture that is abstract.  You need to draw carefully, because your lines need to indent into the foam to make a print, but if you press too hard it can tear.

Step 2 – Coloring the foam print plate   

When the kids have their pictures indented into their foam sheets, bring groups of them to color their designs at the inking tables.  

Make sure to tell them: 

The printing ink is very sticky, so you need to scrape the brush off on the edge of the ink jar.  You only want a very thin layer of ink on your print.  Globs will not work and will make a mess on your print.     ALSO  -  make sure you put the brush back in the same container it came from.  Take turns with the colors and don’t put a brush back in a different color!  We don’t want the colors to get dirty and muddy from other colors getting into them.
Please try to supervise so we don’t waste ink, and so the colors don’t get too muddied.  The classes that do the project after you are depending on you.

Step 3 – Printing the colored plate on the press - 


Please supervise and don’t let the press be too close to the edge of a table.  Last year one press was bent somehow – probably from being knocked onto the floor – and it is harder to use now.  Also notice that the paper has to be positioned along one edge of the press to be under the part that presses down. 

When the picture is inked, bring it to the press.  Put a piece of paper onto the press, then carefully lay your inked picture upside down on the paper.  Try to get it centered.  Don’t move it around once it is on the paper, or you will get a smudged print.  Now lay the felt pad on top of the foam sheet, and press the print.  Watch out for your fingers.  Press the handle down firmly, but not too hard.  You don’t have to put all your weight on it.  We don’t want to break the press. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Paul Klee

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy 


Paul Klee Bio

Paul Klee (pronounced “clay”) was born in Switzerland in 1879, and he lived until 1940.  He made artworks in many media, and had a very individual, playful style.  Paul Klee had a natural talent for drawing, and over his life as an artist, he mastered how to use black and white tones, and also became an expert in color theory, which is how to combine colors.  He usually made small works of art, and they often show a very fragile quality that some people see as child-like.   
(Show Exhibit 1 page)

                              Tale a la Hoffmann, 1921                   
"In Engelshut" (In the Angel's Care) 1931        

Senesio, 1922

Klee’s work is always considered modern, but people have not been able to fit it neatly into one certain style or another.   He generally worked on his own, away from other artists of the time, and interpreted new art trends in his own way. He was inventive in his methods and technique. Klee worked in many different media, and often combined them into one work. He used fabrics, cardboard, metal foils, wallpaper, and newsprint, combined with pastel, watercolor, oil paint, ink and tempera.
Paul Klee was not a terribly good student in school, and liked to draw in his school books.  But he was always a great reader, and loved art and music.  He was a very talented violinist, and he played violin in an orchestra until his art career got too busy for him to continue.  His parents had wanted him to become a musician, but he got more interested in visual art and by age 16 showed a great talent for drawing.  He went to art school in Switzerland, then went on to study art in Italy.  He had trouble using color, and felt like painting was too hard for him, so the first part of his art career he had more success with black and white drawings, etchings, and graphic illustrations.  He came to be known for his sense of humor, and his playful drawings and paintings. (Show Exhibit 2 and 4 pages.)  Paul Klee liked to do drawings and paintings of fanciful animals, and here are some of those works. 
Bird Garden

The Friendship

Fish Magic

Detail Pig


Aged Phoenix

In 1914 Klee visited North Africa and was very impressed by the bright light and colors there.  It was a real breakthrough for him as an artist, and he said, “Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever... Color and I are one. I am a painter.”  After that, Klee began to paint many works with colored rectangles in them, which art scholars compare to musical notes.  Klee combined his colored rectangles in harmonious ways, much as a composer creates harmony by arranging musical notes.  (Show Exhibit 3 page.)
May Picture
Red / Green Architecture

The vase, 1938 - Paul Klee
Die Vase, 1938

Insula Dulcamara, 1938
Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus, a famous art and design school in Germany, for ten years. 
Today we will be making watercolor drawings of animals in the style of Paul Klee.

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program

Paul Klee – Watercolor Drawings of Animals

Getting ready
The tools should be waiting on the Art Lit carts, in the storage closet of the Maker Space room.  You can either reserve the Maker Space room to use during your lesson, or you can take a cart to the classroom.  (If you take a cart to a classroom, you need to take an old drying rack with you too.)   Some supplies will need to be taken from the storage room and added to the cart.  These are the supplies you will need:
These should be on the cart:
Project folder
Black colored pencils
Paint brushes, Water jars, Plastic palettes
Liquid watercolor paints in squeeze bottles
Plastic placemats
Bucket with sponge for cleaning up spills
(If the squeeze bottles of watercolor get low, they can be refilled with the bottles of paint on the shelf that is to the left of the storage area door.  BUT THEY NEED TO BE DILUTED!  Use 4 parts water to each part watercolor paint.)

This will be on the third cart in the closet, for you to take for your class:
1 stack of watercolor paper (It’s good, expensive paper, so don’t waste it, and bring back leftovers.)

Give each kid a placemat, a black colored pencil, a sheet of watercolor paper, and a paintbrush.  Hand out paper towels from the classroom if possible, one per kid.  Fill jars with water and put them out for every 2-4 kids.  Whatever works.   Pre-fill the palettes with watercolor paint before the lesson, but don’t hand them out yet, unless you have older students who can handle it.  Don’t fill them too high or they’ll spill easily.  They can be shared by at least two kids.  If kids need more of a certain color while they are working, please give them more.

The Project
(Things you might want to say to the kids are in purple.)  Try to think of questions to ask the kids as you go along.   Present Paul Klee’s work to the kids, then show them the samples of our project.    Put Exhibits 2 and 4 on the overhead projector and leave them up for the kids to see as they work.
Today we are going to create drawings of animals with pencil and watercolor.  We are going to try to think about the style Paul Klee used to draw his animals.  He often used black outlines, then filled in his backgrounds and characters with color.
First thing to do – put your name and your teacher’s name on the back of your paper in pencil.
Before you start painting, think about what sort of animals you want to draw, and what the animals will be doing in the scene.  Where are they?  What is around them?   Start by drawing the picture with black pencil.  We’ll use paint to color and fill in areas after the drawing is done.  Once the paper is wet, the pencils won’t work very well, so try to do all the pencil before you start the painting. 
Remember to give your characters a background.  Paul Klee often used colored geometric shapes as his background.  Think about what you want to do. 
When kids are ready for paint, hand out the palettes of paint.  Supervise, clean up spills, and get more paint as needed.
Give the kids a 5-minute warning to finish up their pictures.

Afterwards / Clean up
Put paintings into a drying rack.  (If dry paintings are already there, empty the rack into a folder.)  Collect the pencils.  Collect the brushes and wash them.  Dump unused watercolor into the sink and rinse the palettes clean.  Rinse the water jars. Wipe tables and placemats with the sponge. 
Put any leftover watercolor paper in the box of paper to re-use on the third cart in the closet.

Thank you!   Laura Cox                                                                                                     January 2020