John Nieto is a contemporary Native American artist who paints animals with vibrant colors and bold lines. My students were especially drawn to the use of non-realistic colors.
My students used a similar style to paint animals, reptiles, fish, and insects.
After looking a Nieto’s art, students drew the animal of their choice in pencil on white construction paper. To achieve the bold, black line work, we used the “Slick” black fabric paint to go over pencil lines.
When the fabric paint dried, students painted the animal with tempera paints – using some realistic colors combined with unexpected, totally unrealistic color choices. Think violet ladybug.
After this paint dried, students carefully cut the animal out of the white paper, leaving the black outlines.
Students choose a pre-painted background paper that I spray-painted directly on construction paper, creating tonal gradations (ombre effects) in many color combinations. After the animals were glued down, students added a collage element that showed a part of the background, such as seaweed for a fish or a rock for a lizard.
(This lesson was inspired by a lesson in a School Arts magazine – I think – from several years ago).