A fun art activity, recreating the cover of 'Flood' by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley in watercolours and pencil. This activity is suitable for use in the home or classroom, and contains several easy but valuable lessons about medium and texture. Students will be asked to look at the cover and think about how they might recreate this image using art materials and techniques. As a teacher, you can then lead them through the creation of an artwork based on this image, using the exercise as a talking point for technique. Try capturing the kids attention by talking about floods, drawing out their understanding of floods and their the similarity to the flooding techniques used on this paper.
We want to recreate the dog the bottom left quadrant of the paper. Have your students consider the size and scale of the dog. Break the dog into three simple shapes, a square for the head, triangle for the neck and rectangle for the body and demonstrate how to sketch with a light graphite pencil.
Ask your students to evaluate how the three basic shapes combine to make a dog. Ask them to consider where the nose, ears, legs and tail will be positioned on the dog, and have them draw them in.
Wet a large flat brush with water and use it to flood the paper where the sky (the top of the page) and the river (a thin strip across the middle of the page) will lie. Now load the brush with blue watercolour and sweep it across the wet areas. This technique is known as ‘wet in wet’ painting. Ask your students to consider the image, taking note of what is in front and what is behind.
Using the same ‘wet in wet’ technique as Step 4, flood and colour the negative space between these blue areas with a light green colour.
Add some yellow ochre across the body of the dog, leaving his head mostly white if possible as well as the very bottom of the page. Stand the image up vertically and let the colours drip down the page
Use a dark green watercolour to add some marks at the top to give the impression of foliage. Stand the paper up again vertically and let it drip.
Use the round brush to add some more colour (choose between blue ochre or green), to fill in white space around the dog or the white space behind him.
Use the black colourush pencil to redefine the dog. Encourage your students to notice the way the black makes the dog seem to ‘pop’ forward. Using a red pencil, draw in his collar, and use a brown pencil to add some colour to his body using linear marks. Taking up the black pencil again, add in an upright beam some lines for floorboards, so that the dog is now standing on a veranda looking out:
Wash over the dogs body and floor in the dark olive green and add a vertical streak to represent the trunk of a tree parallel to the upright beam of the veranda. With a fine wet brush, wash over the dog’s body and floor in the dark green you mixed earlier. Dip a toothbrush into the green and using your thumb flick the paint onto the image across the top layer. The dryer the paper the better this will work..
Add a small amount of white watercolour into a fresh well in your palette, with just a touch of water. This will give it the consistency of gouache paint. Use this slightly thicker paint to add some white detail with the smallest brush. Encourage your students to notice the way this makes the dog seem to come forward from the background to the foreground.
Download this info as a takeaway PDF
The picture is nearly done, but this is a great time to encourage your students to appraise the picture. What’s going on in the picture? What, if anything can be done to improve it? Using Colourush pencils, have your students redefine any areas of the dog that may have been lost.