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Starting with a page of brilliant oil pastel color allows for some color mixing fun.  Reverse oil pastel drawing with a focus on line exploration makes a pencil drawing go from simple to “Pop!”

Take me back….

There are a few art activities that just make me feel like I’m about ten years old again.  Most of these have nothing to do with the rule laden art classes of school or the fancy kid’s classes that were pretty much nonexistent thirty years ago. I’m thinking of making snowflakes from coffee filters, leaf rubbings, and folding up silly origami shapes

These were things I could do all by myself with no extra “stuff” or intense instruction.    

This oil pastel drawing falls under that category.  A few simple changes make this classic art activity even more fun.

What you need….

The beauty of a project like this is you don’t need much.  I remember doing this with crayons.  Oil pastels produce a much more vibrant design when you’re finished.  They are softer and easier to color a larger space than crayons are. These Sakura student quality oil pastels cost about the same price as a cup of coffee and are super vibrant.

Use what you have.

Other than the oil pastels all you need is white paper.  Lightweight drawing paper is all you need here.  Even copy weight paper will do.Starting with a page of brilliant oil pastel color allows for some color mixing fun.  Reverse oil pastel drawing with a focus on line exploration makes a pencil drawing go from simple to "Pop!"

Lay down the color…..

I recommend starting small here so your little artist doesn’t suffer from hand fatigue and give up. 

You want to lay down enough color to completely cover your paper, whatever size you choose.  Cutting an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper in half (making it 5.5″ x 8.5″) would be a good starting point.  

Encourage kids to blend color by coloring one over another.  Working with a heavy layer of oil pastel will make colors blend as if they were paint!Starting with a page of brilliant oil pastel color allows for some color mixing fun.  Reverse oil pastel drawing with a focus on line exploration makes a pencil drawing go from simple to "Pop!"

Line study….

Lay a plain white paper on top of the colored paper.  It should be the same size.  You want that paper to stay in the same place so if your artists are on the younger side a piece of tape or two to hold the two pieces together will relieve some frustration.  

I chose to use the idea of a line study.  Head over to this free printable book about the element of line for a kid friendly intro to the idea of different line qualities.  

Using a pencil draw some lines vertically up and down the paper; dividing it into stripes of various widths.  Kids will fill each section with repeating lines or patterns using a specific type of line.  

No mistakes….

One thing I love about this process is that erasing is just not possible.  By applying pressure with the pencil color will transfer the from the oil pastel coloring underneath to the plain white paper.  When your pencil drawing is finished, flip it over, and voila- a rainbow drawing!

Once you draw that color is already transferred.  Whether you use an eraser or not, the line has been drawn.  

I hate using erasers with kids so this works for my style of teaching.  Make a mistake?  Try to make it into something.  Art doesn’t have to be perfect.

Starting with a page of brilliant oil pastel color allows for some color mixing fun.  Reverse oil pastel drawing with a focus on line exploration makes a pencil drawing go from simple to "Pop!"

Oil pastel drawing…

The more lines that are drawn with the pencil the more color will be transferred on the back. (Which is actually the front.)  Encourage kids to use  variety of thick, thin, wavy , round, etc lines.  Each space should house a new variety of line with it’s own unique quality.  

Don’t be afraid to scribble over lines two or three times to make them thicker.  More lines equals more color! 

The best part…

Throw a clean piece of paper over that oil pastel covered paper and do it again.  

Starting with a page of brilliant oil pastel color allows for some color mixing fun.  Reverse oil pastel drawing with a focus on line exploration makes a pencil drawing go from simple to "Pop!"

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