For Parents: In this post, I’ll show you the pig-themed birthday party in case you’d like to do something similar with your own children at their next birthday party.
For Teachers: Teachers could easily use this lesson with their students — especially with the variety of options I provide. Teachers could use this lesson in the following ways.
- Stand-alone art lesson: For a fine art Friday lesson (or any day of the week).
- Art integration (Art + ELA): To coincide with the book Charlotte’s Web or The Three Little Pigs
- Art integration (Art + Science): To accompany a lesson on farm animals.
- To have it available for early finishers to draw and then paint (most likely with watercolor).
- This lesson’s handout and drawing activity portion would be great for an independent center or station in your classroom.
- Super sub plan!
…and so many other things. I have no doubt you’ll come up with a neat way to use my lesson with your students.
I would love to see your students’ work if you decide to create this project with them. Feel free to tag me (@artwithjennyk or #artwithjennyk) on social media so I can see what they make! You’ll find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
How to Paint a Pig Step by Step: First, Draw the Pig!
It’s hard to paint a pig if we haven’t first drawn it. To get started, your children/students will draw their pigs using my step-by-step handout. I recommend letting them practice drawing before you give them the final paper or canvas if time allows.
If you are using watercolor and paper, your students can draw their pigs using a pencil.
If you are using acrylic on canvas, you can give your students a very light color to use for the underpainting, and they can create their pigs with paint on the canvas as a “drawing.”
Since this post is about how to paint a pig step by step, I won’t go into the details of drawing the pigs in this post. However, I have done that in another blog post. If you need those instructions, you’ll find them HERE.
Once your children can draw a pig, they can use various mediums to paint it. I’ll explain canvas and watercolor painting since both techniques require different instructions.
How to Paint a Pig Step-by-Step using Watercolor Paints
This part is optional, but I recommend having your children darken their outlines with a permanent marker so that their final painting will stand out. If you do this step, it’s important that your outline is in permanent marker and not a water-soluble marker. Water-soluble markers will run when you start adding in the watercolors.
You could choose to use liquid watercolors and pour out individual colors for your children or watercolor trays. When I use watercolor trays with younger children, I remove the black and brown tabs (when possible). This helps the water stay bright and clean for longer. This is less of a concern with older children who can rinse their water when needed.
Most children will probably want to paint their pig pink and then discover that there isn’t any pink in their tray. Don’t panic! This is the perfect time to teach them that they can create lighter colors using more water with their paint. A very watery red will appear light enough to be pink on the paper.
They can also always darken areas by adding a second layer of paint over an area where the paint is already dry. Layering colors on top of each other creates that classic watercolor look that we all love so much!
Encourage your children to experiment with the various shades of pinks they can make using more or less water.
How to Paint a Pig Step-by-Step using Acrylic on Canvas
Before pouring out acrylic paint, I always remind children to be careful because it will not come out of their clothing. An apron or smock is advised.
With that important warning out of the way, it’s time to prepare your palette of paints. For a classroom, I’d recommend that each student gets a palette of paint with a set number of colors—say 5 colors—and a cup of water. Instruct them to paint from the lightest color to the darkest to keep the rinse water clean longer.
Making pink is a lot of fun. I gave my students a large amount of white and some red. I showed them how to first make pink. Then I taught them how they could use that shade of pink (adding more white) to create an even lighter pink. I let my students play on their palettes with shades of pinks.
After finishing with the underpainting outline, children will paint the pig using blocks of colors. It is also helpful when using acrylics to start by painting with lighter colors and then moving to darker colors for the same reason: it keeps everything bright and clean, just like with watercolor paints.
Then they can move on to painting the background. When working with younger kids, you may want to explain that the “background” is the blank space left “behind” the pig rather than the back side of the canvas.
Also, tell your students it’s okay to paint over the tail when they do the backgrounds because when it dries, they can just paint the tail right back on.
Working on the pig first and then the background in this order leaves time for the pig to dry so that details can be added on top. This is the part where children get really creative. I am always blown away by the ideas they come up with!
Looking for more fun painting ideas?
I have a blog post with 12 different painting ideas — one for each month of the year. Start in January and try one a month — or just pick one that you like and give it a try. You’ll find that post HERE.
Thank you for reading and making art with your students!