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Vincent Van Gogh-Style Art Project for Kids {tutorial}

Van Gogh-Inspired Art Project (Facebook image)

If you poke around the internet, you’ll find that there are a lot of art projects for kids about Vincent Van Gogh — but almost all of them revolve around replicating Starry NightStarry Night is certainly iconic — as are Van Gogh’s many sunflowers — but I wanted to create a project that emphasized the artist’s unique style, rather than his subject matter.

What Sets Van Gogh Apart

Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh
image from www.vangoghgallery.com

The paintings of Vincent Van Gogh have a lot in common with other Impressionist paintings, such as those by Monet.  But they also have a special quality of their own.  While Monet’s paintings — and most other Impressionist paintings — have a delicacy about them, Van Gogh’s have almost a “chunky” quality.

When you examine many of Van Gogh’s paintings (such as Starry Night), you’ll find that they almost look like pointillism.  But instead of using tiny dots, Van Gogh used chunky lines.  Some are straight; others are curved.  There was little effort made to blend the lines together; rather, the viewer’s eye was expected to do the blending — exactly as is the case with pointillism.

Van Gogh-Style Art Project

Van Gogh was, of course, a painter, but to keep this project kid-friendly (or, perhaps more accurately, parent-friendly), we’re going to stick with dry media.  If you have and would like to experiment with oil pastels, they would work nicely for this project.  The simplest approach is to just use plain old crayons.  The unsharpened ends of the crayons work best.

unsharpened ends of crayons for Van Gogh-inspired art project

Supplies Needed:

  • blank paper
  • pencil
  • crayons or oil pastels
  • (opt.) template

Crayola Ultimate Crayon Collection - 152 CountCrayola Ultimate Crayon Collection – 152 CountCrayola Ultimate Crayon Collection - 152 CountPentel Arts Oil Pastels, 50 Color SetPentel Arts Oil Pastels, 50 Color SetPentel Arts Oil Pastels, 50 Color Set

Step 1

The first thing you’ll want to do is lightly sketch the outline of whatever you plan to draw with a pencil.  (I drew mine more heavily than I otherwise would have, so it would show up in the picture.)  I’m not much of an artist, so I just stuck with a simple flower, but you can draw whatever you want.

sketch for example art -- Van Gogh-style project

If you prefer to try to replicate one of Van Gogh’s actual paintings, you could trace over a coloring page or template*, or just put the coloring page behind your art paper if it shows through well enough.

Step 2

Decide on your colors, and choose groups of colors for each area of the image.  For instance, I used four different yellows/oranges for the center of my flower, four or five purples for the petals, and three greens for the background.

Step 3

Begin filling each section with lines.  They don’t have to be regular, but should follow the contours of whatever you’re trying to fill in.

If you use your colors well, you should be able to accomplish some shading by concentrating more heavily on the darker colors in the darker areas and more on the lighter colors in lighter areas, while still including a mix.  I’m not sure if you can really tell that I did this, given my relative lack of skill/experience with using color this way.

closeup of example - Van Gogh-style art project

Skilled artists should be able to achieve a lot of subtlety and detail.  Younger students may have less finesse.  Either one is okay.

Step 4

Erase the pencil lines.  You don’t have to be nitpicky over this.  If there are places the crayons goes over the pencil lines, you can leave them.  But erasing any stray pencil lines can tidy the image up a bit.  (With younger students, you could just leave them altogether.)

completed example of Van Gogh-style art project

Final Thoughts

Remember this is art, and the purpose is exploration!  Feel free to change it up.  Use unexpected colors or deviate from the instructions.  Use a different medium.  Paint over the finished drawing with a watercolor wash.  Instead of erasing the pencil lines, trace over them with marker.  Whatever you want to do.  Make your art yours, whether that means sticking close to the project’s instructions, or going off-script.

Most of all, have fun!

Vincent Van Gogh-Inspired Art Project for Kids (pinnable image)

*This is one of the best simple outlines I’ve seen.  But this site also has tutorials for cannabis, etc., so use your judgment.

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Vincent Van Gogh-Style Art Project for Kids {tutorial} is a post from: Titus 2 Homemaker


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