Living with Art – Art Journal

Previously I shared that I would be doing art classes over the summer with some young ladies (find out more here) and also my regular older students.  For the first week I planned to started with watercolors and created an art journal that they will be able to draw and paint in all summer.

You could use any watercolors or journal.  I got the Prima Classic watercolors for them.  I like that they are small and easy to travel with and they are nice happy colors.  For the journal we are using the Strathmore 90 lb. watercolor visual journal.  It is 5.5″ x 8″ so it  also easy to carry around.  I also started them with a pencil, a mister bottle, a #7 round brush and a small container of salt.


There is something therapeutic about just touching and preparing your art supplies. To start class we unwrapped our watercolors, numbered them and painted our color reference card.


I had them draw a color wheel in the front of their book.  We painted the Red, Blue and Yellow from the colors in their paint box.  For the Orange, Purple and Green I had them mix the colors and paint them in their book.  Not because we didn’t have the colors in their set, but I wanted to show them how they can mix their colors to create new colors.


I had them draw a square and then paint it with water and then come back and paint in the square to show them how to contain the color to an area.  We also painted a square and sprinkled it with salt so they could see the pattern the salt created as it dried.  I then let them free draw and paint in thier book.


I had taken a class from Juliette Crane where she started all of her characters by drawing the same basic shape – a circle for the head with a rectangle that is wider at the bottom for the body.  Then, by adding different features, like arms and feet, she would create her characters.  I had the students start with this little exercise to draw a few characters and then paint them.  It gave them somewhere to start with their drawing. I then let them draw and paint whatever they wanted.

I also gave them the option of painting the covers of their journal.  To do this we lightly sanded the cover, painted with a coat of gesso, and then painted with bottle acrylics.

Here they are with their covers:


Here is the cover that Sara my older student painted:


Here are pictures of their favorite page:


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And these are my older students favorite page in their books:


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With my older kids I let them play with watercolor pencils and crayons, and liquid watercolors. I also enjoyed playing with the products and here is a picture of my doodles.



When they were done we put washi tape on the edges of the pages they created. They loved doing this.   I asked them to bring their book back each week and as they painted the pages they could add the washi tape.

A couple days after class I got a picture of my older students playing with their watercolors at the Hershey Rose Garden.  That blessed my day.


On the first day of class when one of your students jumps out of the car and does cartwheels across your lawn to the front door, you know it is worth every minute you invest in their lives.

I encourage you to share the joy of art.

A big painting hug to you,



Link to products I used ( I am not compensated for suggesting these products):

Prima Classic Watercolors

Strathmore Visual 90 lb. Watercolor Journal


13 thoughts on “Living with Art – Art Journal”

  1. I think that I will use the idea with the book for our great granddaughters. They have asked me to give them art lessons.

    1. I love Judy that they are interested in art. You could just do the art journal all summer giving them drawing and painting tips as they go along. I will be sharing each week the projects that we are doing so you can pick or choose if you would like to do any of the others.

  2. I am going to remember that since it is only a few days away. 🙂 but please don’t hurt yourself or the lawn, you know how Al loves his lawn. Thank you for making me laugh.

    Ps. Don’t you wish we could do that so easily.

  3. I love this!!! You are such a sparkling gift Jane! So, if I do this with the girls, what do you do with wet pages? Just flip them and keep going?

    1. Thank you Susan, I have a hair dryer so they can dry their pages. They seem to enjoy the whole process including the drying of the pages. Also adding the washi tape to the pages gives them a little more time to dry. The younger students love adding the washi tape to the pages. I think that is a part of art – liking pretty things.

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