Fun Valentine’s Day Art Project: Watercolor and Colored Pencil Candy Hearts

YouTube video

Hello, artists and art teachers! Welcome back to our creative corner. Today, I’m thrilled to introduce a perfect Valentine’s Day art project – Watercolor and Colored Pencil: Candy Hearts. This engaging lesson not only offers a captivating exploration of artistic techniques but also serves as a cool and creative endeavor for the upcoming season of love.

Crafted with middle and high school students in mind, this tutorial seamlessly blends the dynamic charm of watercolor with the precision of colored pencils, allowing you to create visually stunning candy heart compositions. As an art teacher, I’ve witnessed the excitement this project brings to my students, making it an ideal choice for a Valentine’s-themed artistic adventure.

Throughout this blog post, I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process, sharing insights and adjustments that have proven effective in my own classroom. So, whether you’re an art teacher on the hunt for that perfect Valentine’s Day project or a student wanting to create a heartfelt masterpiece, this lesson is your golden ticket. It’s a delightful fusion of watercolor and colored pencil techniques, sprinkled with the charm of candy heart inspiration. Are you ready to dive in and infuse your Valentine’s season with a burst of artistic flair?

Step 1: Layering Watercolor and Colored Pencil to Create Values

Begin by familiarizing yourself with layering techniques. Whether you’re using markers or watercolors as your base, layering is a game-changer. I often recommend watercolor under colored pencil for beginners, as it speeds up the process.

Take a moment to practice on a scrap piece of paper, keeping your colors lighter than the reference image. Experiment with creating shadows by incorporating complementary colors. For example, if your candy heart is warm, introduce a touch of a cool color in the shadows. In my video, I went for yellow and brought in its complement, purple, for shadows. It’s a simple move that adds a nice touch of depth and realism.

Step 2: Adding Layers of Watercolor and Letting Paint Dry

Now let’s apply the watercolor to our actual piece. So, when applying those watercolors, think layers. I always stress the importance of letting each layer dry before moving on to avoid. It requires patience, but believe me, it’s worth it. Now, my pro-tip is to test your colors continuously. Refer back to the reference image, check how your hues align, and adjust as needed. Remember, it’s perfectly fine to keep your colors a tad lighter at this stage; we can always deepen them later.

Step 3: Adding Color for the Background

A little trick I like to share with my students is considering taping out a border. This step adds a subtle but impactful element to your artwork. Once you’ve taped out your border, it’s time to introduce a super-light wash with watercolor. This adds a touch of interest to the drawing, providing a delicate background that enhances the overall visual appeal.

When it comes to mixing shadowy colors, pay close attention to values. This is where the artistry really comes into play. Think of values as the lightness or darkness of a color. By focusing on creating shadows with varied values, you bring depth and dimension to your drawing. Take a moment to observe your reference image closely, ensuring your shadow tones align with the natural play of light and shadow.

After applying your shadowy colors, let everything dry thoroughly. Patience is key once again. Once it’s all dry, the big reveal happens – remove the tape. This unveils a clean, defined border that not only adds a professional touch but also acts as a visual anchor for your artwork. It’s these thoughtful details that elevate your creation from good to exceptional. So, team, tape, wash, mix, dry, and reveal

Step 4: Layering Colored Pencil Over Watercolor

Now that our watercolor base has dried, it’s time for the colored pencils to shine. Here’s a piece of advice I always emphasize with my students: start by comparing your values to a pre-prepared scale. This simple comparison helps ensure that your shadows and highlights align with the intended tones, adding a layer of realism to your artwork.

Okay, so before you dive straight into your main artwork, consider this a gentle reminder to practice layering on a separate sheet. This not only refines your technique but also boosts your confidence before making those strokes on your canvas.

Now, when it comes to tackling shadowy areas, think cooler and darker colors. It’s a subtle art move that adds depth and dimension to your drawing. Remember, shadows aren’t just black or gray; always refer to the color wheel and what is the opposite color of what you are going for.

If you’ve experimented with markers underneath during your colored pencil practice (and I highly recommend it! You can read more in-depth here), you’ll have a better sense of the colors to layer. It’s like having a sneak peek into the color dynamics that work best for your specific piece. 

Step 5: Colored Pencil Technique: Light Pressure and Layers

Now, as we move into the fine-tuning phase, precision is key. When working with colored pencils, ensure your pencil has a sharp point, and use light pressure. The trick here is not to press hard but to let the colors effortlessly work their charm. Focus on edges, particularly where cast shadows meet the object. It’s like putting the final brushstroke on the canvas to define the contours.

Here’s a practical tip – vary your pressures as you work. Experiment with creating gradients and subtle transitions to add depth to your artwork. Also, consider the reflective quality of the surface. Think of it as the finishing touch – the candy’s color might subtly influence the cast shadow. Keep an eye on these nuances as you refine your piece.

Encourage exploration with backgrounds. Let your students play with how light reflects and how colors interact with different surfaces. This step allows for a bit of artistic freedom, enabling them to discover the unique character of their artwork. So, take your time, employ a light touch, and pay attention to these details.

What's included in the Candy Hearts Lesson

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

What’s included in this Valentine’s day art project?  In this complete resource you get:

✅5 Instructional Handouts (PDF) with Links to Slideshow

✅Teacher’s Instructions

✅Student Slideshow

✅A video demonstration of the lesson

✅Blank Practice Value Scales in 4 Different Formats

✅Gridded and Non-Gridded Reference Images

✅Black and White Value Scale References

✅ Rubric

Spread Love with Art: Valentine's Day Candy Heart Drawing Lesson for Middle and High School
Colored Pencil High School Art Lesson Plan for Valentine’s Day

Ready to continue your creative adventure? 🎨


Looking for a quicker Valentine’s Day activity? Check out my Valentine’s Mystery Grid lessons for a fun and engaging one-day 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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