Twig Pictures are a fun way to bring the outdoors in. They add just a touch of nature to these fun watercolor pencil illustrations!
I’m a big nature-girl at heart, having spent a large part of my childhood playing in the woods, fields, and hills of Alabama. During a recent walk with my daughter, we collected a BUNCH of twigs.
I get really, REALLY excited when something like this ordinary pile of twigs turns into something extraordinary and beautiful like this:
This Twig Picture was so pretty I couldn’t even wait for the glue to dry to snap a photo! I love how this Project Artist used the twigs to create texture for her basket of flowers.
My favorite thing about this Twig Picture project is how it allows for open-ended creativity and problem solving—two reasons I’m a firm believer in art education!
Here’s how you can make this Project Artwork at home:
Project Ages: All ages!
Project Timeframe: 30 minutes or more, depending on your artist’s level of interest.
- twigs-look for smaller, thin sticks that can be easily broken into pieces
- paper- something a little heavier weight like card stock, Bristol, or this watercolor paper from Dick Blick. A 9 X 12 size is good.
- glue–Elmer’s glue-NOT glue stick
- watercolor pencils– I like Prismacolor, but Crayola’s are nice enough too, as are these from OOLY
- cup of water
Optional: fine or ultra-fine Sharpies for outlining
Cover your work area with paper or old tablecloth. Set out some paper towels, wet wipes and all the supplies.
Step 1: Brainstorm!
First, spend some time getting some great ideas!
You will start the project by showing some branchy twigs and asking your Project Artists what the twigs remind them of. Deer Antlers? Snowman arms? Alphabet letters?
Next, point out that the twigs are mostly STRAIGHT, ANGLED lines, not rounded or curved. They would be good for making a picture of things with straight lines like a fence or a city skyline, but NOT so good for making a picture of rounded things like planets, ocean waves, or clouds.
Finally, ask your Project Artists what things they can think of to draw where they could use the twigs as PART of their illustration. They don’t have to use the sticks for everything in their picture.
This is my favorite part of the project! It is so much fun to hear what creative ideas the kiddos come up with!
My daughter really wanted to draw a unicorn (because unicorns are ALWAYS a good idea around our house!) So her challenge was trying to figure out what clever ways she could add the twigs later.
It’s really important your Project Artist gets a solid idea in their mind before they start. It can morph and evolve along the way, but you want them to kind of think through some problem solving for just a couple of minutes before diving in!
Step 2: Draw Your Picture!
First, draw the part of your picture that doesn’t need the twigs yet. We used watercolor pencils. You will use them just like regular colored pencils until STEP 3. Some Project Artists chose to outline their drawing with Sharpie permanent markers first.
This little girl knew she was going to use her twigs as flower stems, so she drew and colored her blossoms first.
Step 3: Add Water!
Next, dip your paintbrush into your cup of water and paint over the areas you colored in Step 2. Your coloring will magically turn into paint!
Use a hairdryer or wait until your picture is dry before moving on to Step 4.
Step 4: Glue Your Sticks in Place!
Finally, using liquid glue, “draw” thick lines where you will be placing your sticks.
Sticks may be broken into smaller pieces if your Project Artist is needing to create more specific shapes or lines for their Twig Pictures.
Keeping the glue thick and “blobby” will ensure no sticks fall off later. Make sure you keep the pictures flat until the glue dries completely.
And that’s it!
Here are some more great Twig Pictures:
If you love making art with found materials from nature check out these other great posts!
What fun things have you and your young artists done with twigs? Send me a comment and let me know!