Earlier this summer I wrote a blog post about how to make watercolor doodled flowers. These mandalas I created were made with a very similar technique. Both these mandalas and the flowers were made by starting with watercolor paints and then doodling on top with thin markers.
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Here are the secret steps to this technique. :)
1. Start by tracing a circle in the middle of your paper with pencil. I used a round lid. Then build off of it by drawing simple shapes repeating around the circle. Keep it loose and don't worry about them looking perfect. Trace larger circles or freehand draw circles around the outside. Again, aim for it to be somewhat symmetrical, but don't fixate on perfection! You could use a compass, but I wanted both of mine to be more loose designs.
2. Start painting around the circle, using watercolor paints. I mostly chose to repeat the same color in the same shapes around the circle, but you can do it multi-colored or however you want! One of my favorite watercolor techniques is to make a wet wash of color (like the purple in the center, below) and then while it is still wet dab or dot in other colors (the red).
3. Keep on going this way, blending and adding color to various sections. I like to layer similar colors on top of each other (like blue and violet). Have fun with it. If it's not perfect, don't worry, you will add more color with markers later.
4. Once you are satisfied with the amount of paint, use your Micron fine line pens to add line patterns and designs. Use a fine point Sharpie to outline some of the areas. Turn your paper around and around as you go. Continue adding doodles, lines and patterns. Consider using pattern sheets or Zentangle books for ideas.
5. After (or while) adding black doodles, think about how you can add more color to the picture. I love using my Sakura brush markers (they are expensive, so I don't use them with students) to color, but any markers will do!
6. You can add white dots or lines on top of the colors with a white paint marker.
7. After you are happy with the majority of your mandala, you can make additional doodles or creative "dangles". I like having little doodles hanging down.
Here is the finished watercolor mandala!Okay, that was fun, right? I'm going to show you the progress photos of another watercolor mandala I made.. using practically the same steps.
Thanks for reading! Do you like making watercolor mandalas? Share in the comments.
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1. Begin by drawing a Christmas tree shape on a piece of watercolor paper.
2. Start by painting in the sections of the tree with various shades of green. Get your brush nice and wet while painting.
3. While the paint is still wet, I like to dab in other colors that are similar (yellows, turqouises, different shades of green). The colors blend and spread in a way that is unique to watercolors.
4. When you are finished painting the tree, let it dry for several hours.
5. While it is drying, take some time to gather the items that you will use to decorate the tree. I have a stash of paper scraps that I keep handy for projects like these. Use scrapbook paper, previously painted pages, magazine cut outs or stickers. I happened to have an astronomy magazine which had some really beautiful celestial images as well as some children's magazines that had that moon image.
I also belong to a really fun Stickers of the Month club called Pipsticks, where I get a curated package of super cool stickers sent to me every month (kind of like those makeup bag of the month kit or Barkbox.) If you use this link, I get a referral credit!
6. When your tree is thoroughly dry, you can start decorating! Cut out wavy line shapes for garland or use markers to draw them on. Stick on star stickers, magazine cut outs or draw stars in the sky. Choose something festive to add to the top of your tree.
I outlined the tree sections with black Micron markers and added additional doodling to the bottom of the tree.
7. Cut out ornament shapes from your painted papers, scrapbook paper scraps and magazine pages. Put stickers on the tree for ornaments. Place a bird or animal sticker to be sitting on the tree. Outline any stickers that need defining. After I started decorating, for some reason I began using green markers to color on top of the actual tree. I didn't like it, but it was too late so I had to keep going. If I did this again, I would just leave it with the watercolor paints only.
8. Finally, in my opinion, white accents make everything better! I used my white paint marker to add dots on to the garland and tree.
Here is the finished image! When you are done, you can frame it and hang it as a Christmas decoration or you can photocopy it and use it as a Christmas card.
What do you think of this idea? Do you like collage as much as I do?
Today I am part of a TLC Book Tour for a new coloring book called Inkspirations Fruit of the Spirit. There are a few reasons I decided to be a part of this book tour. 1) I wanted to show you how we have enjoyed coloring books. 2) This is a Christian coloring book and I know I have readers that teach at Christians schools, Bible camps or with church groups. 3) I wanted to show you how I have gotten inspiration from coloring books. 4) I know there are creative ways art teachers have used coloring pages in the classroom and I wanted to share with you a couple of unique ideas.
Here is the coloring book that I was gifted to review.
First, let's talk about the art in the coloring book. The designs are very beautiful, with lots of patterns to color. Each page has Bible verses or sentiments. This would be lovely to use with your own family, a kid's group at church, vacation Bible school or maybe as a free-time option in a Christian school. (Clearly I would not use this in a public or non-religious school setting.)
I could use the elephant image below in my classroom (removing the religious words) by using it as an inspiration for an art project by challenging them to draw their own animal with doodled patterns inside.
The lettering on these pages are very fun and creative. If I taught in a religious setting, I could use these quote pictures as examples and have the students create their own lettering design of a Bible verse or song. The book shows many examples of different styles of lettering.
One of my ideas this school year is for students to design their own hot air balloons for a bulletin board about "soaring" or "taking off". This hot air balloon is a nice example with decorations and patterns on the inside.
This image reminds me of a quilt or Kente cloth pattern.
Here are my two cute kids using these coloring pages. When we color, we go all out. Colored pencils, markers, whatever we have laying around. My daughter Daria gets to use my fancy markers because I know she will be careful with them. Desmond gets the cheaper ones.
Here is Daria's page. I think she is quite talented for a 6 year old. But don't all parents? Desmond lost interest after a few scribbles.
Here is one of my finished pages:
Now some of you are probably saying, "Coloring books?? Coloring books are creativity killers!!!" (I have heard art teachers say that before.) You might think that, and you can have your own opinion and I will have mine. I don't subscribe to the belief that coloring books kill creativity. If a child uses a coloring book sometimes and draws on their own plenty too, I think that is fine. My daughter colored in coloring books a LOT when she was 2, 3 and 4. She also drew on her own constantly. She is a very creative little girl and has very good penmanship and ability to draw what she sees. She comes up with all kinds of creative drawings, so I just don't see the correlation between coloring books and un-creative kids. Obviously I don't think an art teachers should just give coloring pages to kids all the time. No way! But at home? For fun? Why not!
If you are still skeptical, I wanted to show you these awesome creative artworks put together by using coloring pages (not the ones from this book.)
Coloring Book Remix
Amy Carey Stine, an art teacher from Ashburn, VA, shared this lesson on Facebook. With her permission, I am reposting it for you. She said, "After Christmas all my seventh graders wanted to do was color in their new coloring books. If you can't beat them, join them! So, I presented to them, "Coloring Book REMIX." We studied surrealism and Prismacolor technique."
They colored in the pictures and then cut them apart to make new collage compositions! Here are her gorgeous results: