Easy Mixed Media Art Idea for Middle and High School

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Hey artists and art teachers! Welcome back to our creative corner. Today, I’m super excited to share an awesome lesson tailored perfectly for middle or high school artists – our cool Mixed Media Watercolor and Marker Art Project.

This mixed media negative space watercolor and marker art lesson is the ideal fit for middle or high school art classes. Learning to see and be aware of negative space is a fundamental skill that takes practice in learning how to draw. This middle or high school art idea offers a fun and expressive way to get used to looking at both the positive and negative space when drawing and painting.

This project has been a hit with my middle school and high school students, and I can’t wait to chat with you about how I kick off this lesson. I’ll share with you about what clicked and, of course, disclose the tweaks I’ve made along the way, all rooted in real classroom experiences.

By diving into these easy steps, you and your students are in for a creative ride, mixing marker and watercolor tricks into a masterpiece. So, let’s jump in and let those artistic vibes flow in our Mixed Media Watercolor and Marker Art Project!

Step 1: Tape the Border of the Watercolor Paper

Taping the border for this mixed media art idea

Begin by creating a crisp canvas border. To achieve this, start by applying masking tape to the edges. This not only ensures a clean border but also sets the stage for a professional-looking final piece. To simplify tape removal, employ the “lint trick” – sticking the tape to clothes to collect lint. This little hack makes peeling off the tape a breeze without leaving any unwanted residue behind.

Step 2: Splash Watercolor for the Background

Now, onto painting the background with watercolor! We’re talking large brushes and analogous colors – those buddies close to each other on the color wheel. Encourage them to mix similar colors delicately, introducing lots of water into the equation to craft the perfect background for their art project. This is the time to stress the importance of not over-controlling the paint. Let the colors take the lead, allowing them to blend naturally and create those mesmerizing transitions.

Sure, you might notice some students hesitating, cautiously testing the waters. But a quick pep talk and a gentle reminder to let the colors bleed and blend usually work like magic.

Step 3: Sketch the Reference Image

Choosing the right images for this negative space drawing is key. Keep it simple; avoid overly detailed visuals, especially when starting. Silhouettes work great! Don’t stress about finding the perfect images – I’ve got you covered in the complete Negative Space Middle School Art Lesson.

Guide your students in the art of drawing using an X-grid, emphasizing the importance of capturing both positive and negative spaces accurately. For a deeper dive into this easy grid drawing technique, refer to this video or explore further details in this comprehensive Easy Beginner High School Art Lesson blog post.

Now, transfer this silhouette sketch onto good paper using graphite for precision and clarity. (You can read more on that in my Easy Negative Space Drawing blog post!)

Step 4: Marker Over Your Silhouette Drawing

Bring your sketch to life using markers (Sharpie, Crayola or your preferred choice of maker) or optionally, oil pastels. Allow students the freedom to decide whether to emphasize the background or the image itself, fostering individual creativity.

Step 5: Finishing Touches for your Mixed Media Art!

For the grand finale, peel off the tape to unveil your masterpiece. Embrace the stunning results, imperfections and all. If desired, add a border for a personal touch and a polished finish.

You can find this complete “Negative Space Drawing” lesson with reference images, slideshow, video demonstrations, practice worksheets, handouts, rubrics and more in my resource shop!

What’s included?  In this complete resource you get:

✅An editable 54 slide Canva slideshow with step-by-step guidance

✅5 video demonstrations showing each step of the art lesson

✅20 reference images to draw from.

✅An instructional handout with QR code students can scan to see videos and slideshow

✅A practice worksheet

✅Teachers insrtuctions

✅A rubric for easy grading

Negative Space Watercolor - Middle School Art - High School Visual Art Project

Ready to continue your creative adventure? 🎨


Investing in your artistic journey is an investment in yourself. This lesson is designed to empower you with knowledge, boost your confidence, and enhance your creative expression.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to refine your skills and create captivating artworks that stand out. Hop on this artistic adventure today!

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