Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tropical Fish Pastel Resist

It must be the memories of snorkeling in Maui but I have fish on the brain...bright..flourescent..incredibly patterned fish. Here is a great project. It is my favorite use of pastel resist as it mimics the way light appears underwater.
I'm doing with this Grade 3 tomorrow, but you can easily do this with all grades varying how much detail you require.
You might want to spend some time looking at fish on google images or in the library to get a sense of the colors and variety out there...get those creative juices flowing.
Materials Required:
white paper, I used mid weight sketch paper
oil pastels
blue tempera paint
reference images

Using your reference images draw out a fairly large fish shape. Try to fill the page. In the past I have had kids draw fish, octopuses, squid, jellyfish, turtles, even a mermaid or two.
You define what parameters work for you.

Color in your fish with oil pastels. You want to choose bright colors...oranges..yellows ,etc.
The only color you don't want to use is blue. Make sure any areas the kids want to stay white are covered with white pastel.

Take your nice picture and crumple it in a ball. You want it fairly crumpled but in a gentle don't want to tear or make any holes in your paper.
Now uncrumple it and smooth out flat.

Using blue cake tempera paint over your design. The pastel will resist the paint and bead up. The crumples and wrinkles will also show up after painting. This gives your piece that underwater look.
Let dry..mount if you wish and there you have it a great art project with an "under the sea" theme.

Give it a try!
see you next time


  1. I can't wait to make a few of these! And I am a grown-up!

  2. You have been honored with a

    Come on over to my blog to claim it!

  3. Hey Pam: good luck and don't worry I've seen this technique used on lots of "grown-up" art.

    Ms.Julie: Thanks so much for the award, I really appreciate it and I am amazed that you find my blog worthy. I'm usually not too good with these awards... it's the passing on thing I need to work on.
    Thanks again!

  4. Thanks for this idea...haven't tried this since I was little so it was nice to give our playgroup kids an opportunity to play.

  5. Water color brings beauty in pictures. These things make my teaching easy.

  6. Will crayons instead of pastels work??

  7. Carla: crayons will work but you might not get those really bright (almost neon like) colors as you do with pastel. The pastel seems to cake on better.

  8. What about chalk instead of pastel? will that work as well?