Watercolor Illustrations -PlayGround Book Review

This week my daughter and I found a new book at our weekly Library visit that I have never seen before-Crazy right!? I was surprised too! I feel like I know most children book authors quite well. The book below is called Playground by Mies Van Hout, an amazing Dutch illustrator.  The pictures in this book, and many of her others are all  done in oil pastels and ink-very much my style:) I love monsters and watercolors! We checked it out with the rest of our books and this particular one we decided to keep for another week.  Thats when I thought it would be  great project book.  #littletreebookreview

So here are my thoughts....

This book is great for all ages.  Reading it with my daughter was easy, she loved the animals/characters, the magical watercolors, thoughtful designs and game like story line.  Its a great book to tie into a project.  With her we explored liquid watercolors and ways to play with the paint using salt, water, rubbing alcohol, blowing through straws, pom-pom and hammers.  We kept the project more process based.  I then put together all her paintings and wrote a story, by adding black sharpie to accentuate the watercolor shapes of what I saw pop out of the designs.  If it was a class project I would sit with all the students at circle time to talk about what we all saw in each others paintings and write a story together, and then the artists would design their black Sharpie designs on their page in the book.

With older students I would do the same activity on a higher writing  level and have them create their own full series, not just one page.

Wet on Wet.



Straw Blowing

Pom-Pom Splatter

Drip Painting

Using tools, Roller.

Oil Pastels

Final Drawings and Story...

Wanna take a trip?  Climb aboard my magic rocket ship!

We’ll blast off on an exploration! 5, 4 , 3, 2, 1 !  Here we go….

We will have to fly through the purple galaxy, which planet should we land on?

Wow, this planet makes me feel super small.  How are we going to find our way?

Let’s ask these ladybugs for directions.

Oh no, its starting to rain, lets run!

Look we can hide in this butterfly cave. Look there are Geodes!

We are almost through, whoa there is a swimming hole in here.  Lets’ follow that Blowfish!

Look I found a map! Which path should we take home?

We made it! Just in time for cupcakes!

See you at the Next Studio!

#littletreestudiosbookreview #toddlertinkertots





Real Animals VS Stuffed Animals

In this drawing studio, Little Artists jumped into sketching from real life using a real stuffed animal from home, and then drawing the same animal but in realistic form, from a photo. Artists planned ahead on how to incorporate their two images together into one drawing. Inspiration for this class came from the amazing San Francisco Artist Mike Mc Connell.  This class was for beginners and advanced drawers, to practice and improve your their skills.  Their final drawings were painted with watercolor on quality watercolor paper.

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See You at the Next Studio!

Animal Layered Print

  Little Artists in this studio learned how to create a complimentary color animal print using 3 inks layered on quality print paper.

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First Layer


Second Layer


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It started to get dark outside so our light in the studio effected the photos, its too bad for these prints were amazing- the colors were so bright and clear!!



Finished Work! Framed in Glass.

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See You at the Nest Studio!

Unique Perspective

In this drawing and painting studio, Little Artists learned about foreground, middle ground and background and how to draw foreshortened angles. To begin, artists met at the Mission playground on Valencia & 19th street on the first day of class to take self-portraits on the swings, upside down on the monkey bars and hanging off the climbers.  These photographs were then taken back and used for reference and measurement while drawing the portraits. Portraits were drawn in ink on thick watercolor paper and painted with watercolor paint. img_1786 img_1787 img_1788   img_1791     img_1797 img_1798      img_1804   img_1809  img_1811

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See You at the Next Studio!

Chuck Close Animals

Little Artists during in this studio  learned about Chuck Close, an artist who creates large-scale gridded portraits of people by applying one careful stroke after another in multiple colors. This year Little Artists drew an animal of choice for their Chuck Close inspired paintings. The animals were drawn and gridded before painting the layered acrylic shapes. img_2388 img_2389 img_2390 img_2391 img_2392 img_2393 img_2394 img_2431   img_2434 img_2435 img_2436   img_2439 img_2440 img_2442 img_2443 img_2444 img_2448 img_2441


See You at the Next Studio!

Woodland Animals

Little Artists in this studio were shown how  to create an owl or a fox cut piece by piece out of a vintage plant book to make a collage.  Cutting shapes from patterns and  and then painting with an acrylic paint wash before glueing together onto canvas.  The final work was painted with details and distressed with patterned painted background.img_2309 img_2310 img_2311img_2312 img_2313img_2407 img_2408img_2409 img_2410img_2411 img_2412  


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See You at the Next Studio!

Crazy Eye Animals

Little Artists in this studio learned ‘how to’ draw and paint a Crazy Eye animal of choice.  Working step by step, and then transferring it onto thick painted paper they painting them with bright acrylic paint.  

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See You at the Next Studio!

Block Print Koi Kites

Little Artists drew a 'scale' shape that was transferred onto a rubber square and carved out.  The scale was printed onto the koi kites.  The printed scale was then layered in further detail colors to accent the scale.  Tails were added from scraps of kite fabric and sewn into the final windsock. See our instagram for videos of the kites!  littletreestudiossf  

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See You at the Next Studio!

Perspective Bird Prints

Little Artists in this Drawing and Painting Studio learned how to carve and print. Designing 6 individual bird prints on a grid. Starting with the printed colored body -a dot on quality paper and then layering their hand drawn bird stamp (each different) in black ink over the color 'dot' bodies.

Final work was framed in glass.

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See You at the Next Studio!

Unique Perspective Portraits

In this drawing and painting studio, Little Artists learned  about foreground, middle ground and background and how to draw foreshortening angles. To begin we met at the playground to take self-portraits, either on the swings, upside down on the monkey bars or hanging of the climbers. IMG_8053 IMG_8059 IMG_8064 IMG_8068 IMG_8069 IMG_8074 IMG_8084

This photograph of a foreshortening pose was used for reference and measurement while drawing our portraits.


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Portraits were drawn in ink and painted with watercolor paint. Final work was  framed in glass frames.


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So Cool!

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See You at the Next Studio!

Chuck Close Self Portraits

Little Artists will learned about Chuck Close, who works from a gridded photograph, building his images by applying one careful stroke after another in multi-colors or grayscale.  Each Little Artist in our after school art series and spring break art camp  drew their self-portrait from a photograph taken in studio.  They then gridded and painted with acrylic paint in stages filling in each square with dots, jelly bean shapes or organic swirls.  The completed work was framed in glass frames. The work done by our after school series painters is being shown in a neighborhood art show at Tug Tug on Guerrerro St and 22nd on Saturday April 11th 3-6pm.  Come by and check it out, we'll have food, drink and art activities.

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See You at the Next Studio!

Bubble Gum Portraits

This Drawing and Painting studio puts an amusing spin on painting our self-portrait! We drew and painted ourselves blowing a bubblegum bubble! Little Artists learned about painting with acrylic paint, aligning their facial features correctly while keeping an eye on proportion and adding the small details to make it look real.   When the work was dry artists pushed a pink balloon into their mouths for the bubblegum bubble.

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Visit our Gallery Show Saturday, April 11th @Tug Tug on Guerrero and 22nd street for art activities, food and wine/juice.

See You at the Next Studio!

February Spring Break Art Camp

In this studio, Little Artists were inspired by Jenny Murphy and her mixed media work. Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 5.12.46 PM

With a square wood plank for their canvas artists drew a simple shape and then wrap a black string  around the primed wood creating a checkered pattern. Looking at the positive and negative  they will painted the checkered patterns in warm and cool colors of choice. Final pieces were given a lacquer finish by teachers.

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In this studio, Little Artists will be inspired by the artist, Tracey Ann Finley.

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Starting with a primed square wood plank and a crushed can for their canvas artists created an animal of choice from the shape they saw in the crushed can. -The possibilities were endless!  Artists used acrylic paint and learned about layering and using complimentary colors and patterns to give their final work all the attention it needed to stand out! The final pieces were lacquered by teachers.

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We Love sharing and talking about our final art!!

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In this studio, Little Artists learned how fun it is making everything mini! Just like the artist, Margaret McGuire artists created their very own mini monsters, mini clothes and mini matchbox bed.   Artists used their plans to draw patterns for their monsters.


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See You at the Next Studio!


Painted Family Portrait

Historically, family portrait paintings have primarily memorialized the rich and powerful kings and queens. But NOT ANYMORE! We commissioned Little Artist to paint a portrait of their families in this drawing and painting studio. IMG_6870 IMG_6871   IMG_6867 IMG_6866 IMG_6865  IMG_6863    IMG_6796

Using a fine tip black ink pen each family member was drawn from the waist up and painted with a palette of colorful watercolor paints  on fine quality paper.

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We will discussed placement of facial features, how to draw clothing with patterns and body overlap as well as how to use highlights and shadows in our paintings.

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Final work was framed in glass :)







See You at the Next Studio!

Profile Memory Silhouettes on Canvas

Little Artists created a canvas silhouette of themselves in this Painting Studio. IMG_6748 IMG_6749IMG_6751

Photos taken in the studio were used to cut a plastic stencil which was taped to a  primed canvas and spray painted with the artists color of choice.

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Dry profiles were then given back to each child to write in their personal handwriting (if possible) all their favorite things.  i.e. what they want to be when they grow up, food, color, age, movie, snack, song, movie, sports.

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Some of our work turned into tributes to wonderful Grandfathers :)

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See You at the Next Studio!

:) Best San Francisco Art Classes for Kids!

Space Camp 2014

During this Spring Break Camp we created SPACE ART! Outer Space Portraits: Learned about foreshortening and how things close up are larger than objects further away. We used oil pastels, colored pencils and watercolor.

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"Can you hear me major Tom?"




"Space Globe Trotters"


"Look Mom,  I'm in Space"


Space Looms: Little Artists designed and carved space clay looms.  After painting the clay looms the center was woven with colorful string to represent a sun, plant or moon.

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Space Globes: The famous snow globe just got better! We created SPACE GLOBES! Little Artists sculpted Sculpey oven bake clay into astronauts, spaceships, and aliens which was adhered to the bottom of their globes lid. Then smaller floating planets, stars and even suns were added with the glitter.

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Rockets were made in the construction area during free time.





We learned about Moon Rovers and how important their jobs are and created our very own to get the job done.  We even added the EXTRAS!-Glow paint and snack packs.

Moon Rover Plan #1 Finds water and Rocks.

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Moon Rover Plan #2 Uses satellites to find aliens and trap them under a basket for research.

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Moon Rover Plan #3 Turbo Roller.  Fast and smart.

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Moon Rover Plan #4 Hunts for snacks and pick them up with the claw grabbers.

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Group Work: "SEACRHER UNIT 5 " Little Artists collaborated together to make a space canvas.  Using acrylic paint, Moge Podge,  tissue paper and twine.IMG_2688

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We added Christmas twinkle lights to the back of the canvas to make the stars, Little Tree sign, sun and spaceship light up.



See You at the Next Studio!