Fun children’s art project using paint sticks
Use the book, The Color Monster, by Anna Leans as inspiration for this easy monster craft for young children. The illustrations in this book help open up a whole discussion of feelings and emotions about different children’s experiences.
Don’t worry though, this project is not as serious as it sounds. These fun and easy monster drawings do more than just create monster paintings. Children easily gain a better understanding of how artists use color to express emotion during this lesson. Having a bad day? Draw a color monster. Remember art is about the process!
The book used in this lesson>>> The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
Other Color Monster Books
What age is this art lesson for?
This project works really well with 5 and 6-year-olds. Some of the examples you will see in this post are from 1st graders. However, we know all elementary-aged children love monster art projects (so really this could work for any age).
Read more>>>Easy Flower Art Lesson For 1st Graders
Need a filler project for older kids? This project is still definitely fun for them and you can encourage extra details and skills. In previous years when I had an extra class of older kids, this lesson was perfect for us. The kids honestly love being creative and acting like a “Pixar” animator.
Questions to help with discussion of illustrations and emotions
- What is the monster feeling? How did you know from the illustrations?
- Can artists or people think different colors go with different feelings?
- If you were one color right now, what would you be? Why?
Tips for how to get kids to draw large monsters
This drawing is great because there really is no wrong way to do it! Most kids will feel successful and proud of their silly (or serious) artworks. It also allows them to be a little silly and what kid doesn’t love that?
Even though there is no wrong way to do this, the drawings work better if kids fill the whole page. In order to help get students to draw a large monster, start with the eyes. Encourage children to add their own details or number of eyes to make their monster unique.
What are paint sticks?
Paint sticks are a newer supply that we have started using with children. They are tempera paint in stick form that dry quickly. The kids say they are like paint glue sticks and we think that is a pretty accurate description.
They definitely are a fun experience for children. You are able to cover a large area very quickly with a solid color. Some kids will absolutely love this supply. And others will wish they could have a little more control.
Tips for using paint sticks with young children
- Model proper use and even show how to pull them out of the box.
- Only use one and a time. If not you will open yourself up to get all the packs mixed up.
- If you have enough sets, share with the person next to you.
- Show how “one click will do you” like a glue stick
- Tell kids you don’t want to have paint boogers (kids love it when you can relate Art to boogers). We say “boogers” anytime there is too much or extra of something (paper boogers when they rub the brush back and forth when painting, clay boogers when they draw too hard, etc.)
- They can click a little more if they want to use the side of the paint stick top on an angle. This will help them do more detailed work.
- They should go slow and steady.
- Demonstrate how they can overlap and blend colors if you want.
How to make a color monster art project
Step 1: Read the book, The Color Monster. Use the questions above or your own questions to help facilitate a discussion on how artists use color to express feelings.
Step 2: Start drawing a monster. Draw the eyes first.
Step 3: Add a line for the head. Draw a zoomed-in version or large monster on the white drawing paper. Children can choose paper orientation.
Step 4: Add details to the monster such as horns, mouth, nose, hair and texture. Encourage kids to show a feeling.
Step 5: Outline with a large permanent marker.
Step 6: Use paint sticks to add the main color to their monster. Encourage students to keep the eyes and teeth white. This allows there to be contrast between the monster and facial features.
Step 7: Work on the background using the paint sticks. The main requirement should be that you will make the background different than the monster.
Questions to help them understand the art principle of contrast
- What would happen if you made the monster and the background the same color?
- Would you see your monster?
Step 8: Allow kids time to finish their creative feelings monsters.
Don’t have paint sticks for your color monster art lesson?
And if you don’t have paint sticks, check out how you could do this project using a glue watercolor resist technique. We haven’t tried it yet, but a monster drawing in glue with paint could be really cool!
Need another fun activity to get children talking?
Make Oobleck slime with them and have fun together.
Free printable instructions here!
- Read the book, The Color Monster. Use the questions above or your own questions to help facilitate a discussion on how artists use color to express feelings.
- Start drawing monsters. Draw the eyes first.
- Add a line for the head. Draw a zoomed-in version or large monster on the white drawing paper. Children can choose paper orientation.
- Add details to the monster such as horns, mouth, nose, hair and texture. Encourage kids to show a feeling.
- Outline drawings with a large chisel tip permanent marker.
- Use paint sticks to add the main color to their monster. Tell students to keep the eyes and teeth white.
- Work on the background using the paint sticks. The main requirement should be that you will make the background different than the monster.
- Allow kids time to finish their creative feelings monsters.
Encourage each monster drawing to be unique and different. You will be amazed at how creative your students or kids can be!
Looking for another monster art project? Create pinch pot clay monsters out of real or air dry clay.