Watercolor Nature Drawings


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These drawings were a quick and easy way to get something up on our middle school bulletin boards early in the school year!

Students began by creating several observational drawing of nature objects such as leaves, flowers, acorns, pinecones, etc. At the middle school level, drawing from observation can be very challenging for some kids. We drew from reference books and pictures, rather than actual objects. For the flowers, students looked at color photos in bulb catalogs. Using images that were already 2D helped the kids draw realistically and guaranteed better success for all.

After selecting their favorite drawing, the students traced it onto watercolor paper with pencil repeatedly to make a simple composition. They were required to touch at least one edge and to create an off-center arrangement.

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We then went over the composition with a water-based black pen:


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Next, we added small touches of color with a water-based marker:


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Now for the fun part: Using WATER ONLY  and a paint brush, students went into their drawings and dissolved the lines carefully. They had to work slowly so as to not obliterate the image completely! This is a fun technique that simulates the look of watercolors, without the mess. After the drawing was dry, students could go back and touch up lines that got too dissolved, if necessary.


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Lastly, we used water to pre-wet all the background, (negative space,) areas, trying to leave a small, dry border around the images. We misted the background with liquid colors in spray bottles. The spray blended in wet areas, and created a speckled effect on dry areas. The students were filled with anxiety at the thought of the spray covering their flower/leaves/acorns, but I tried to assure them that the loose and unpredictable nature of the misted color was part of the spontaneous and organic charm of the lesson!

Motto: “Let it go!”

Students at the misting station:


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Done and drying:


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Bright and beautiful hallways!


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