Here in Ohio it’s almost fall. That’s when a spectacular display of color takes over for a week or two. I love connecting the beauty of nature to the arts- it’s so easy! Nature just offers so many color,s textures, and details to appreciate. This easy leaf art for kids uses free printable leaf templates and chalk pastels to create deceivingly complex layers of colorful leaves!
Positive and negative leaf shapes…..
This project is all about leaf shapes, or more accurately the shape around the leaf shape. Did you catch that? Today’s projects actually uses stencils (below) to create a colorful space around the leaf shape. Your kiddos are actually adding color the negative space around the shape of the leaf. The positive space, the leaf shape itself, actually remains the color of the paper.
If your students are unfamiliar with the concepts of positive and negative space this project is a great introduction. Positive space is the object itself. Negative space is what remains.
Typically we draw an object, or the “positive space” within an artwork and the negative space is neglected. Today’s leaf art is all about adding color to the negative space, which in turn defines the positive space!
This free printable book is about all of the elements of art but has a page just about positive and negative shapes! And this notan leaf art project is another simple way to illustrate positive and negative space using nature as inspiration!
Printable leaf templates…
This easy leaf art starts with a free printable template with four different leaf shapes. I had a vision of doing this with real leaves but it just wasn’t as practical. The leaves tore easily, didn’t want to lay flat, and the pastel didn’t want to slide off onto the paper. You can’t beat the detail in real leaves so feel free to try using them but beware of frustration!
If you’d like to grab my free printable page of leaf templates use the form below to become a Kitchen Tabla Classroom subscriber. Then go check your email and confirm that you meant to sign up. Upon confirming your subscription you’ll get a subscriber only password that will give you instant access to the Resource Library. There you’ll see a thumbnail image of the leaf templates. Click that thumbnail and the PDF will pop right up!
You’ll also begin seeing weekly emails from me with my newest fun projects and printable resources!
Already a Kitchen Table subscriber….
If you’re already a KTC subscriber there’s no need to subscribe again just to grab these leaf templates. Just use your subscriber password to log in and download away! Forgot your password? No worries- I’ve got you covered. I include a link to the Resource Library as well as the password at the end of every email!
Add chalk color to each leaf…
Begin by cutting each leaf template out. These are going to be used as stencil to create the color around.
Grab a scrap of paper and put it under a cut out leaf. Choose a chalk pastel and color around the edges. This doesn’t need to be neat or perfect- just a ring of color will work, Light colors of chalk pastel make subtle silhouettes but I actually really love starting with light colors and building up layers that get darker as they go.
I use these Mungyo chalk pastels. They’re student grade prices but have amazing bright colors and are super smooth to use! I love using materials that are not too precious for kids to really enjoy using!
Create a leaf silhouette…
Place your colored leaf template, clean side down, on a new piece of paper. Hold the leaf in place with hand while holding a piece of paper towel or toilet paper in the other hand.
Starting toward the center of the leaf and brush out onto the paper. Rubbing back and forth will cause the leaf template to get bunchy and wrinkled. Only brush one direction- from the center of the leaf out onto the paper! This may take a little practice. You may even want to give your kiddos a practice run so they can try this out for themselves!
Layer on the leaves with more colors….
I like doing this project building from the lighter, more subtle colors, to darker, and more vibrant colors. This is just personal preference. Feel free to mix it up and allow your kids to experiment and see what they prefer!
Continue coloring around leaf shapes, laying them on paper, and brushing the color outward. Overlap leaf shapes and let some leaves run off the paper for a more interesting composition.
You can reuse the templates over and over by just adding more color. Want a new color? Layer it on and watch the colors mix together.
More fall art ideas….
I love fall! Connecting the natural beauty around us to the visual arts is so easy this time of year. I’t like nature is putting on it’s own art show for us! These art projects all use nature’s bounty to as inspiration!
Use leaves and watercolor to make these crazy detailed leaf prints!
Whip up a batch of air dry clay from household ingredients and make this sweet leaf bowl!
Add one simple twist to make an old fashioned leaf rubbing magic!
If you enjoyed this easy leaf art for kids I hope you’ll share it!
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