April 29, 2011

New Circus Elephants

Here they are!

A while ago, some conversation broke out over these watercolor elephants we do using washable black markers.  Some of you have tried them...and I have loved seeing the results.  Thanks for sharing.

After seeing the beautiful works by Paintedpaper, it inspired me to incorporate more color around them- thus, turning them into circus elephants!    

The great things:
  • This is not a long project.
  • The kids actually yell WOW!!!! when the marker turns into watercolor paint and "bleeds" into the elephant.
  • The color effects are priceless.  It naturally tints and shades if you do it correctly.
  • It is a great lesson on drawing animals: leg positioning, character, details and proportion.
Interested???      Consider these helpful ideas.
Getting the picture started can overwhelm a first grader.  I do not believe in making so many marks on a paper that a kids work becomes my own; however, showing them the first "idea" of where a trunk line could be gets them off to a great start and builds their confidence to continue.  I find the if we all begin with this correctly, everything else falls in line nicely for them.
We measure with our hand to leave enough room for his plump tushy-buns!  Also, make the legs at least 2 fingers fat (or eraser fat).  Add gumdrop toe nails...wrinkles at the knees and other key places.

Here are a few other circus elephants to see.


  1. I absolutely LOVE this lesson! I just did the elephant festival lesson from Deep Space Sparkle myself. I used this same technique with watered down markers on some presidential portraits (posted on my blog) and the results were AMAZING! And it was sooo easy!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren Taylor
    School at St. George Place

  2. Hi there... You've been walloped by the wand of the Art Fairy! I loved this tutorial so much that it made the Weekly Top Twenty at the Art Fairy. Stop by an pick up a button if you get a chance.

  3. My older students really ran with your elephant lesson! Thanks for an inspiring idea.

  4. Amazing results from 1st grade! What kind of paper did you use for the elephant?

  5. Did you dip the marker tips into water and then draw with them or did you draw with the marker and then use paintbrushes with water to paint over the marker lines?

  6. Pretty elephant! thanks for tutorials. Kisses from Greece.