Images and text by Sarita Rajiv
I've got a fun art project that would make a fantastic personalised gift for little boys and girls. I’m a big fan of personalised gifts and whenever I have the time (and get struck by a particularly good idea!) I prefer to make a gift as opposed to buying one. And it turns out that when it comes to kids gifts, there are lots of fun ideas to try out.
A couple of months ago, we were invited to the birthday celebrations of my daughter’s friends – a four-year old boy. Since I knew a few things about this little fella, I decided to make a special painting featuring his current favourite soft toy — a crow he calls Kaka:-) I had a lot of fun making this. Here’s the tutorial if you’d like to try your hand at this DIY art project.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A pencil and eraser
- Canvas board
- Acrylic colours and paint brushes
- Acrylic pens (optional)
- Spray varnish (you should get this at any arts/craft store)
Before you start painting on the canvas, draw a rough sketch of what you have in mind on a piece of paper. I always do this as it gives me a perspective of the dimensions and what works or what doesn’t. At this stage, it’s easy to alter the sketch till you get what you have in mind.
Next, take the canvas and coat it with one layer of white paint. As the canvas was big, I used a sponge — the kind you use in kitchens, just use a new one — instead of using a brush. Since this is just the base layer and you’re not doing any shading here, using the sponge covers more area and gets the job done faster.
Then take blue paint and using gentle brush strokes, cover the entire canvas. I used a darker shade of blue at the top, making it lighter as I went down. I also allowed some parts of the white paint underneath to show through. This gives the effect of a beautiful sky in shades of blue.
When the paint is dry (important!), draw a faint pencil outline of the image you want to paint. You can always erase any mistakes and start afresh. You can skip this step if you’re confident of painting directly. Here’s what my painting looked at this stage.
Now here’s the fun part. Start filling in colours into the drawing. I always do at least two layers of paint to get the shades right. You can play around with the colours creating two or more shades of the same colour for depth. For instance, I used a basic brown as the first shade for the tree. For the next layer, I added a bit of black paint to the brown paint giving some areas a darker shade. This technique will give your painting more depth.
I then wrote out a quote to go with the image. “Spread your wings and fly!” I love this quote, it’s so inspirational. I used an acrylic paint pen to write this. You can always write it using a thin paint brush as well. Here’s what the painting looked like after the first layer of paint.
And here’s the final product after a second layer of paint, some shading and highlighting the outlines. Can you see the difference? See the leaves for instance or even the crow. Once the paint dries off completely, spray a paint varnish (spraying it from a can is easier and less messier than doing it with a brush ). The coat of varnish keeps the colours strong and gives your painting a longer life. That’s it, we’re done. Not too complicated right?
You can customise this art project to include any animals, birds or even creatures of the sea. The possibilities are endless. Little boys and girls love having art work of their favourite animals, toys or cartoon characters. All you need to know is what the kid receiving the gift likes and you’ll have one wonderful gift that would be perfect for a little girl or little boy's room.
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