Art projects for kids are some of my favorite activities to do with both my kids. Our most recent art lesson, creating bright animal paintings, was inspired by American artist, George Rodrigue.
Have you ever seen images from George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog Series? It’s a series of paintings centered around a blue colored dog in a variety of settings. Kids are naturally drawn to the bright blue dog image.
We are fortunate to have a George Rodrigue art gallery where we live, so Lucy and Theo are quite familiar with Blue Dog. We walk passed him often when we’re in town!
With the recent passing of such an inspirational artist, we were inspired to create our own artwork inspired by Blue Dog (and George Rodrigue). (This post contains affiliate links. Thank you so much for your support.)
Colorful Animal Paintings Inspired by Blue Dog
We started our art lesson by reading the book, Why is Blue Dog Blue? by George Rodrigue. In this book full of blue dog illustrations, George Rodrigue emphasizes how wonderful your own imagination can be. He encourages children to paint things in any color they’d like. Maybe you choose a color because of a feeling you have or maybe because of what you’re thinking about when you paint. He reminds us, “Artists don’t have to paint things the way they really are.”
This quote really resonated with Lucy. She tends to be a rule follower so hearing the artist say it’s okay to do what you imagine really seemed to free her. She was immediately coming up with all kinds of ideas! “Mom, wouldn’t a zebra that was lots of different colors be surprising to people? What if it was pink?!” And so our art project began.
- Paints and brushes (We used Biocolor paints because I love how versatile they are and how they don’t have an odor. You could also use tempera paints.)
- Black oil pastel or crayon
1. Start by thinking of an animal you’d like to paint. Lucy chose a zebra, and I chose a ladybug.
2. Sketch your animal in pencil.
3. Trace your sketch with a black oil pastel or crayon.
4. Paint your animal any color you’d like. Let your imagination run wild! Lucy wanted her zebra to be pink. I though a purple and orange ladybug would be fun!
5. Optional: Paint over your black oil pastel with black paint. This will more closely resemble Rodrigue’s technique, however, it’s definitely not necessary.
6. Often the background on Blue Dog paintings are bright and colorful. Take a second piece of paper and paint a fun background for your animal.
7. Once both sheets of paper are dry, cut out your animal painting and glue it onto your background.
8. Display your artwork!
Tips for Toddlers
Don’t leave your toddlers out of the art project! Theo worked right along with us as we sketched and painted. He said he was drawing a school bus!
George Rodrigue Information and Resources
- George Rodrigue Studios
- Illustrated Timeline for George Rodrigue
- Related Children’s Book: Are You Blue Dog’s Friend?
Other Art Projects for Kids