Chalk pastels are vibrant, dusty sticks of super blendable color- which makes them perfect for young artists! This unique technique combines dried glue outlines that give a little structure to bold and bright chalk pastels colors!
Drawing with glue….
Almost all kids are familiar with the process of putting a pencil to paper and drawing. But drawing over those pencil lines with glue, or maybe even skipping the pencil altogether, can get really exciting! Glue drawing adds a third dimension to drawing with a pencil. This pastel art technique can be easy or intense and can be easily adapted to any age or skill level.
The glue is not always predictable. Sometimes surprises happen when the glue is drying. That’s part of the fun. The glue outlines are solid foundation for the chalk pastels to come in and make their impression. Interesting results are practically guaranteed.
Before I pass out bottles of glue I talk about which muscles they will use to control their glue while they are drawing. When a child draws or colors they really only need to move their hand, not their entire arm. When squeezing that glue bottle they will use fine motor skills to squeeze the bottle and large motor skills to keep their arm moving across their paper, following their pencil lines. That is a lot for a kid to think about it! Thank goodness it’s fun! Watching that white glue line stretch & wiggle across the paper is good stuff, especially because it’s something you’re usually not supposed to do!
Experiment with chalk pastels…
I recommend doing a trial run in which your kiddos have neither much time or materials invested. This part is so fun. Drizzle plain old Elmer’s glue onto any size black construction paper. Drizzle and practice that big arm movement and not dragging the tip of the glue on the paper. I usually love buying Elmer’s in gallon jugs because it’s such a great deal but for this project it’s really helpful to have that squeeze bottle!
Encourage kids to see what happens as their glue drizzles settle and dry a bit. Glue spreads. Point out that any lines that are close together may become one bigger shape. That’s totally okay but a good thing for them to remember on any future projects using this chalk pastel technique.
It’s like watching glue dry….
The glue will take a good day to dry depending on the humidity level and the gusto with which the glue was applied. When the glue is dry the black paper will show through the dried glue leaving super cool black outlines, The glue must be completely, completely dry!
Add chalk pastels one color at a time and then adding a second color. Use a fingertip to gently blend colors and move them into nooks and crannies created by the glue. The idea is to cover all of the black paper with colorful chalk pastels using the dried glue as a “fence” to keep the color where you want it and prevent ending up with muddy colors!
Portraits in chalk pastels….
This chalk pastel and glue technique lends itself well to any variety of drawing projects. I did this self portrait project with younger elementary age kids. We discuss what a self portrait is and make their own self portraits consisting of very large, simple shapes. (Check out this post for a more detailed, step-by-step self portrait lesson!) The hope is that the kids have shapes large enough that all the details won’t fill in and become solid areas of glue. Sometimes that happens, no matter how we try to prevent it. I try to prepare the kids that glue drawing isn’t a perfect art. Surprises happen and we roll with them.
Working on black construction paper ensures all those bold black outlines when the glue dries. Any colors that get added with chalk pastels will show up beautifully and the black outline serves to unify the whole thing. But that’s just preference. I have seen glue drawing done on many colors of paper and they are always striking!
I pass out old cardboard for the kids to put under their paper as they work and leave it there while the glue is drying. The glue has a habit of running to the side and could cement itself to the table. (Don’t ask me how I know this!)
Bring on the color….
By next week’s class the glue is dry, the lines are shiny, and the drawings with glue are ready for some color from those chalk pastels! Chalk pastel art is messy (which means extra fun, right?) but its vibrant color is what calls my name! That bold color is totally worth a tiny mess.
Creating detail with chalk pastels can be tough, especially for little hands. But saturating a previously outlined area with color can be the perfect place to learn about blending pastel chalk colors and even to touch on the idea of analogous colors. (Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel and blend together easily.)
I used these Mungyo Non Toxic Square Chalk, Soft Pastels. They come in a pack of 64 so there are plenty of great colors to choose from. All those choices allow the kids to have some really sophisticated color combinations without having to work too hard at blending. And with 64 in a package I can get away with only using two packages for my class of 12 kiddos. I encourage kids to fill in all the black paper. The only black left should be the black glue lines.
Chalk pastel success…..
This chalk pastels and glue technique is such a winner for a couple of reasons.
1.No matter if the glue runs or the subject matter is drawn a little off the combo of bold glue lines and vibrant chalk pastels makes for a super graphic finished product. They’re just so pretty to look at.
2. Glue lines allow for a bit of a fence. Small, enclosed spaces allow kids to experiment with mixing a color or two and prevent muddy colors.
3. Drawing with glue is just plain fun. It feels against the rules.
4. This chalk pastel art technique can be applied to pretty much any subject matter, Check out these seasonal applications in this Draw a Leaf with Glue and Chalk Lesson and this Snowflake with Chalk Pastels and Glue. These lessons will get you stop you in your tracks results. So pretty.These lessons also offer up chances to include other concepts like warm and cool colors, neutral colors, and the concept of contrast,
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