Exploding Books


Oil Pastel Monoprinting


Colour a page with thick oil pastel.  Turn the page over and press down onto a clean sheet.  Draw on the back of the page with a biro and voila!  A colourful monoprint!

Chalk and Charcoal


Using chalk and charcoal on a mid-tone background like this packaging paper from an Amazon box helps children really think about dark and light tones - make sure children are not always drawing on a blank white page!



Printing is one of the art processes that is continually overlooked and underrated in primary schools. If that’s the case in your school you NEED monoprinting in your life! There are two methods - negative and positive monoprints. Here’s how it works:

Negative Prints:
❤️Roller paint onto a laminated sheet (it totally works with a paintbrush too)
🧡Carve your pattern directly into the paint with a stick, straw, end of a paintbrush etc)
💚Put a piece of paper on top, press down, peel off - voila!
Positive Prints
💙Roller paint onto a laminated sheet and put the laminated sheet on top of your paper gently, paint side down
💛”Draw” your pattern onto the laminated sheet to press the paint onto the paper
💜Carefully peel the laminated sheet from the paper!
I’ve tried this with all kinds of paint… ready mix gives you a squishy abstract image, acrylic gives you a more defined image. It depends what you’re going for. Even better, let the children try them both and decide for themselves!

Continuous Line Drawings


Continuous line drawings are a fantastic way to get children to “loosen up” with their drawing and also make fab starting points for sketchbook work. You can even do them “blind” where you look only at the subject and not at the paper! Blind contour drawings (video 2) create incredibly abstract and exciting images that will empower even your most reluctant drawer… the only rule is that the pen must not leave the paper until the image is finished. Continuous line drawings are a brilliant way to show children that drawing is about representation not realism, which can be very encouraging for some children. I like to do these in felt pen because it avoids the temptation to use the dreaded rubber. Also, you can layer your attempts on top of each other on the same piece of paper to make some really quite striking and colourful abstract images! I’ve sped these up but they took under a minute each… so perfect as a quick, effective starter to your art lesson!

Tonal Collage


Tonal collages are a great way to explore value with children.  Get them to paint sheets with varying tones of the same colour by adding white and black in different amounts.  When the paint is dry, cut up the paper to create a collage looking at the light and dark areas of the object being drawn.  Stick it all on a contrasting background and you have a really effective exploration of colour!


Mark Making


How many different marks can your children use on a page?  Get them to practice them, name them, then have a go at using them to create a drawing!  Using washi tape to separate the sections is an intensely satisfying way of doing this!


Value Scales

Use the same mark and investigate the different tones from lightest to darkest that can be made.

Tiny Sketches


Ask children to draw tiny, quick sketches of different parts of the same thing.  Different coloured backgrounds make this into a great sketchbook page!

Exploring Tone


Asking children to shade in different colours is another way of getting them to think about tone and value in different ways.  Dividing a drawing into sections and continuing the drawing in different colours is a really effective way of doing this.


Colour Mixing


When mixing green, get children to paint directly onto leaves to try and find the right colour.  Ask them to annotate their thought process as they go.  Was that colour right?  What does it need to get it closer to the original?  What was the recipe for each colour made?


Take a photo of the pallets your children are actually going to be using and stick it on a sketchbook page.  Ask the children to mix the paint, annotating as they go.  This will be a page they refer to again and again!


A line graph can be a brilliant way to fuse maths and art.  Ask children to create one and then fill it in thinking about how much of each colour paint to add to each section of the graph.


Feather Printing


Create layers of paint on a printing plate and pop feathers on the surface.  Repeat this process to create the most beautiful art in the most unlikely of places!


Chance Collages


I cut out Autumn leaves, but you could do this with anything!  Cut out interesting shapes from different collage papers, newspapers and left over printing.  Drop them onto your page and stick them down exactly where they land!

Continuous string art


HOW TO MAKE Rainbow paper


Under the Sea Painting


Using Photosensitive Paper


Bottle cap art


Bubble Paint Ocean


OPtical illusions


Font Art


Collecting fonts is a really engaging and secure way for more reluctant artists to develop their understanding of colour and shape in familiar ways.


Introducing Cubism


PAinting Skin Colour