By Deedra Baker, Program Director

“A form gives me an idea, this idea evokes another form, and everything culminates in figures, animals, and things I had no way of foreseeing in advance.”  — Joan Miró

This hands-on make & take workshop uses creative drawing and painting techniques inspired by Joan Miró. Students will investigate figures, animals, and things through the use of the elements of design.

Joan Miró Inspiration:

Supply List:

  • Drawing Paper
  • Pencils
  • Markers

Use Joan Miro’s artwork as inspiration. Draw lines, shapes, and forms—think about fun creatures to draw. You can start by using a pencil or a black marker to draw.

Use color and black markers for your design.

Utilize the entire paper and create an interesting composition.


By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

Students will paint a landscape of their choosing using a tonal gradation method to produce a sense of distance and atmosphere in their piece.


Supply List:

• 1 Piece of Watercolor Paper
• Watercolor Paint
• Paintbrush
• Water
• Water Cup
• Paper Towels

Grab your supplies and let’s get painting!

Start by choosing the type of landscape you wish to depict. It could be a city skyline, rural hillside, or mountainous terrain. You will only be painting the outline of the landscape.

Then, choose the paint color you will use for the entire piece (Any color can work!).

Start by painting the first outline of the landscape (towards the bottom of the page) the darkest shade of this color. You may need to add black to your color to achieve a very dark shade.

Paint each new layer a slightly lighter shade than the last by using less black and adding small amounts of white paint or water (for watercolors) to each layer.

Try to get the final layer to an almost white color with only a hint of the original color you started with! Alternate sides of hills by painting some on the left and some on the right side of the page for a dynamic effect!

Gradient Landscapes!


By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

“The shapes I paint are random and flow off my brush effortlessly as if they are a language I can write proficiently, but don’t totally understand. I don’t “plan” my paintings. I allow them to evolve and speak to me as I go along.” — Reggie Laurent

Using organic shapes and lines, students will create an abstract collage inspired by Reggie Laurent’s unique style.

Reggie Laurent

Reggie Laurent Work Inspiration:

Supply List:

• 1 Piece of Black Construction Paper
• 2 to 3 Pieces of Colored Construction Paper
• Crayons
• Scissors
• Glue

Grab your supplies and let’s get creating!

Using the colored construction paper, cut various shapes out to use for your     collage. These can be rectangles, triangles, squares, circles, or organic shapes. 

Cut both big and small shapes.

Start to layout and glue the colored shapes you have cut onto the black piece of     construction paper. Leave a little bit of room to still see the black paper peeking     through in between the shapes.

Using crayons, add design details, such as stripes, cross hatching, or outlines onto the glued shapes.

With a white crayon, draw a “white thread” that goes between the shapes onto the black background.

Try to emulate Reggie Laurent’s style by not overthinking the design as you create! 

Go with the flow and see what happens!

Abstract Collage!


By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

“Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

In this playful project, inspired by Georgia O’ Keeffe’s work, students will create larger than life watercolor flowers.  Students will gain practice in watercolor shading techniques and experiment with scale in their colorful pieces.

Georgia O’Keefe Flower Inspiration: Hibiscus with Plumeria, 1939

Supply List:

• A Real Flower or Images of a Flower for Inspiration
• 1 Piece of Watercolor Paper
• Pencils
• Black Marker
• Watercolor Paint
• Paintbrush
• Water
• Water Cup
• Paper Towels

Grab your supplies and let’s get making!

Find a flower outside to use as inspiration for your piece or identify a picture of a     flower you like online.

Using a pencil, start by sketching the center of your flower and identify specific lines and forms you want to capture on your page.

With pencil, sketch the petals of your flower, allowing the edges to go off of your page (Optional) Use a black marker to outline the pencil marks.

Using watercolors, paint your flower and give it an interesting background color. 

Let the flower you choose guide the shape you draw. Most flowers will not be symmetrical or have matching petal shapes.

Watercolor Flower!


By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

“I aim to create fun, simple, peaceful images that viewers can relate to and connect with in their own personal ways. I’ve always been attracted to drawing and enjoy the immediate response I can have on a viewer.” — Marz Jr.

Using the illustrative style of artist Marz Jr. as inspiration, students will create a line drawing by choosing iconic New York City skyscrapers to depict. Students will focus on their use of line, shape, and form by cutting out skyscraper shapes and gluing them to colored paper to create a unique cityscape scene.

Marz Jr. Work Inspiration:

Supply List:

• Images of New York City Skyline for Inspiration
• 1 to 2 Pieces of White Construction Paper
• 1 Piece of Colored Construction Paper 
• Pencils
• Black Marker
• Scissors
• Glue

Grab your supplies and let’s get drawing!

Look at the New York City skyline inspiration images and choose a couple of     buildings that you would like to draw.

Using pencil, start by sketching two to three skyscraper buildings onto your colored piece of paper. Plan your composition with space for the cutout skyscraper that will be glued on later. Draw all of the windows onto your skyscraper buildings, too. 

Using a black marker, darken your skyscraper contour lines.

On a piece of white paper, draw your final skyscraper with windows, making sure that it will fit between your others when glued onto the page.

Cut and glue your white skyscraper onto the colored piece of paper.

Add any final touches to your unique cityscape! Think about using varying shapes for the windows on your skyscrapers, such as circles, triangles, or even octagons!

The Skyscraper Line Drawing!


By Owen Curtsinger, Contributing Teaching Artist

Hey y’all! Are you tired of the same old cartoon characters that you are seeing on TV? Well, today we’re going to come up with a totally new cartoon character. And the best part is I have no idea what they’re going to look like. We’re going to find out what this cartoon character looks like by combining some random words to tell us what to draw. This is what I call the random character generator.

Supply List:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Three Jars or Cups

First, we need some fuel for our random character generator. I have made three separate lists of words. The first list is all nouns. These are types of people or animals.

The second list is full of adjectives; these are words that will modify or describe a noun, like “sleepy” or “happy.”

The third list is full of verbs, or action words or phrases, like “running” or “eating pizza.”

You can make your own lists of nouns, adjectives, and verbs, or you can copy the words that I’ve made in my lists. After you’re done writing down your lists, use scissors to separately cut out each word and put it in a jar. It’s easiest if you put all the nouns in one jar, adjectives in another jar, and verbs in another.

Once you’ve cut out your words and put them in their jars, it’s time to shake up those jars and activate the random character generator!!! Without peeking, take one slip of paper from each jar. You should have one random noun, one random adjective, and one random verb.

Here’s what I got:

So my job now is to try and draw a cheerful dog eating donuts! That should be easy, because I love donuts, so I can really relate to being cheerful while eating donuts. First, let’s draw a basic skeleton with a pencil. I like to draw this skeleton because it gives me some basic building blocks of how to draw any person (or in this case dog). Later on we can flesh out the character with more details like the body, face, hair, and clothes. If you selected a verb like ‘running’ or ‘jumping’ you may want to draw your skeleton in a different pose, but the basic elements should be the same.

Now I need to add details to my skeleton to match the character that I have chosen, so I’ll start by adding a cheerful dog head. Notice that as I add details to the head, I have started to erase some of the skeleton’s lines that I don’t need anymore:

Now I’ll keep going and fill in the rest of the body with more details that are unique to my character. In this case, the random character generator didn’t give me any clues about what my character should be wearing, so I’ll get creative. Maybe this dog just finished playing basketball before he got donuts.

Have fun and be creative! The most important part of this lesson is to trust the random character generator and work with what you have without trying to peek and pick the words that you think you want to draw. You will be surprised at how much fun you can have drawing something unexpected!