We Are the Birds

Kids of all ages can create these cute little birds in the style of James Rizzi’s We Are The Birds!  

We learned about the artwork of James Rizzi, an artist who lived in New York City and is known for his simple black lines and bold colors.


First, we made the outline of the birds with a black oil pastel.  This was a directed line drawing, but each bird turned out unique!  Next we used watercolors to add some bright colors.

This was a great project that could be adapted for kids from K-5.

What Lifts You?

Kelsey Montague is a street artist who creates A W E S O M E  and interactive art.   Kids love it!  Check her out on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kelseymontagueart/?hl=en

I decided to do a 5th grade group mural inspired by Kelsey’s art, and it turned out so beautiful and colorful!  We displayed it at our Art Walk so that people could take a picture in front of it.

We started out by looking at Kelsey’s artwork.  (Seriously, go follow her on Instagram. . ) We talked about zentangle and the use of patterns and lines to create variety.  Then the fun began!

Each 5th grader was given a strip of paper (6×18).  I assigned tables to paint tints and shades of a variety of colors.  Each student then painted the middle of their paper with the color, then mixed the color with white for one end, and black for the other.  The goal was to make an ombre effect.

After letting the paint dry, each student used a tracer to cut out a feather.  (You could easily have the kids make their own feather, but I made several unique feather tracers for them to make them all about the same size.  I told the kids to make sure the tips of the feather were the dark part.

Next we rounded up as many white colored pencils as we could find.  White colored pencils are the most under-utilized color, so we were able to round up a lot of them.

 Each student used white pencil to draw zentangle designs on their feather.  We found that this worked best on the darker colors (of course), and yellow didn’t really show the pencil. Oh well! We drew patterns on the yellow anyway!

Next was the hard part. . . Arranging the feathers to look like giant wings.  I did this by hanging black butcher paper and using spray adhesive to attach the feathers.  The spray adhesive didn’t work as well as I hoped, so I had to use tape and/or glue to get them to stick.  If you are hanging the mural onto a wall that can be stapled on, definitely use staples!

And finally the mural was ready to go!  In addition to hanging it at the school for the Art Walk, I took a picture of each 5th grader with it to make a collage for the fifth grade teachers.

This project was definitely a lot of work, but it was all easy work. 🙂  And the results were worth it!