Mixed-Up Menagerie – Arting with Kids

I love to draw and my kids love to draw.  Sometimes we draw at the same time and together as a whole group.  This weekend, we couldn’t decide what we could all work on together so we decided to set ourselves a little challenge.  Think ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’ meets ‘Dr Dolittle’.

We wrote the names of scores of animals – representatives from every species – onto little slips of paper, folded these bits of paper up and popped them in a bowl.  Then each of us would select at least two slips of paper and draw the resulting hybrid animal.  We could only return a slip if the animals chosen at random were too similar.  The idea then was to draw something amusing, something that gave us all a bit of a chuckle, rather than to produce a drawing that even approached realism.

We had an absolute hoot drawing our crazy animals.  The kids drew theirs in pencil.  I also drew in pencil but then went over my lines with pitt pen and gave each drawing a quick watercolour wash to add colour.  Once each combination critter was drawn, we shared our drawings.  Much chuckling ensued.  Naming our animals through use of portmanteau resulted in yet more mirth.

Here are a selection of our hybrid beasties.








So if you want a simple, quick, easy art project to do with kids – or just for fun yourself – then I highly recommend doing this.  I know we will do this again and again.

Gesso and Beginnings

The two prompts for the second week of the Documented Life Project were to use gesso and a quotation from Mary Shelley: “The beginning is always today.”  I decided to combine the two prompts into one page just to save time.  What was immense fun this week was that my 7 year old and I worked on our pages side by side using the same techniques.

We decided to use the gesso to create a background layer.  Instead of just using it as a primer, we mixed the gesso with two or three colours of acrylic paint which created a really textural background. Once that layer was dry, we used acrylic paint in contrasting colours dabbed through stencils to create another layer.  I then added some circles and dots to my page by stamping objects into white acrylic.  My son opted not to do so and I think his was the right choice as my background ended up a bit too busy.  We then collaged using origami paper: I constructed birds and my son made bats, which turned out really cute.  Although ‘Frankenstein’ is one of my favourite novels, I decided against using the quotation from Mary Shelley.  Instead I used one by George Bernard Shaw that I liked because it seemed apt given that I am at the beginning of a year of trying new creative things: “Imagination is the beginning of creation.”  I stamped the words on.  My 7 year old decided to stamp too but instead of a quotation about beginnings he chose to stamp what he thought about his bats.

Week 2 - Gesso & Beginnings

Week 2 - Gesso & Beginnings - ETDP

Didn’t my 7 year old do a fantastic job?  I far prefer his page to my own and so do his brothers.  His chosen colour scheme turned out to be far more harmonious and pleasing than mine and his bats are just adorable.