Watercolour Paper and Markers. Process Art for kids

Sep 17, 2015

We love experimenting around with various creative materials and seeing the different results that can be produced using these different materials and processes

In today's arty activity, the steps involved are simple enough for children of all ages, but can vary dramatically in results depending on their design. The results that we obtained ended up looking quite beautiful, but it was the experimenting with different designs, colours and the dramatic change that occurred when water was added, that really made this a stand-out activity.

Ages: 2+
See the bottom for Handy Tips

  • Watercolour paper
  • Markers (water based, washable markers work best. You may want to test them first)
  • Water (can use in a spray bottle or with a brush) 

The process is quite simple and can be done by kids of all ages. To start, draw any design on your watercolour paper using your markers.
Then add water! This is where the real magic appears as the colours spread and split around the paper.
We learnt that being super elaborate wasn't really needed.
 And about which colours created the best results.
They loved how vibrant the colours went after the water was added and observed how much they ended up looking like paint.
 It was also fun to play around with the amount of water to add,
And how you could manipulate the coloured water on your page for different results.
To control exactly where you want the water and colour to go, they found a thin paintbrush was good.
The squirt bottle was the preferred method though.

Handy Tips:

Extend this activity by:
  • allowing children to experiment with the watercolour paper, markers and water to come up with the best results,
  • encouraging children to play around with various colours to find those that produce the most vibrant or interesting colours,
  • having children predict the results before they begin,
  • encouraging children to write about the processes that their art goes through,
  • having children learn more about the properties of watercolour paper and how it differs to regular paper,
  • researching what is happening to the ink from the markers,
  • turning the finished pieces into a work of art by either combining them or mounting them on coloured paper

For experimenting it could be a good idea to cut smaller pieces of watercolour paper so that children can try lots of different ideas. (If your children are anything like mine, they will want to try many different designs and as watercolour paper isn't super cheap, you can make it go further by cutting into smaller pieces)

- Get them thinking. Does this same activity work on regular paper? Have children give it a go and discuss the results. Was the result as effective? What differences between the two papers did you notice? Why do you think that happened?

Creating works of art that are aesthetically pleasing can give children a real sense of pride and accomplishment. Pop a series of pictures made using this method in a frame and all of a sudden you have a fabulous original artwork worthy of display. Cutting their designs into little squares and then reassembling together can make a fabulous display.

Talk with your child about what they are doing while they are creating. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it. While children are being creative and focused,  it can also be a great time to talk about sensitive issues and their feelings.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "absorption", "design", "spread", "drip" etc. This will help with their language development and increase their vocabulary.

- Still feeling creative? Here are some of our other arty ideas for kids. You can see more in our Arts and Crafts category in the sidebar on the right-hand side.

Happy creating,
Debs :)

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