This week, our Smock Rock students at TLB Music are creating watercolor seahorse collages inspired by the art of Eric Carle! In particular, the beautiful artwork from his book, Mister Seahorse. While we craft, we’re listening to ocean-themed music including “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”, Aquarium from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals and The Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden”!
sturdy sheet of white paper with seahorse outline printed on it
blank sturdy sheet of white paper for background (can use watercolor paper for both if you’d like)
crayons: orange, blue, green, magenta, white and black
watercolor paint, paint brushes,water
glue stick, glue, scissors
*all supplies used are listed at bottom of post!
copy of Eric Carle’s Mister Seahorse
Teacher Prep: print seahorse outline on white paper (download outline below)
Before starting the craft, flip through the book. Has anyone read this book? How do you you think Eric Carle created his art? Eric Carle uses watercolor and painted paper collages to create his distinctive style! Ask children to help you identify colors, shapes, animals and anything else that interests them.
Let’s start by using crayons to draw details that will show through our watercolor paint. To begin, let’s draw orange stripes on our seahorse’s dorsal fin! Can kids say “dorsal fin”? This fin helps the seahorse stabilize and propel in the water.
Step 1 (orange stripes on fin): Using orange crayon, draw stripes on the seahorse’s dorsal fin.
Next, let’s draw spots in various colors on the seahorse’s body. Use one color at a time, asking children to find each color crayon as you go: blue, green, magenta and white. Explain that even though we can’t see the white dots now, they will show up with watercolor!
Step 2 (dots with crayons): Using blue, green, magenta and white crayons, make polka dots on the body.
Now we’re going to use watercolors to paint our seahorse! Using Eric Carle’s illustration as a guide, let’s paint color by color. First orange (on his belly!), then yellow, green, blue, magenta (or pink) and purple. Before painting each color, take a moment to look at Eric Carle’s seahorse and discuss where we see the color. Thoroughly rinse brushes in between.
Step 3 (watercolor paint): Paint with orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta and purple then set aside to dry.
While our seahorse is drying, let’s paint a background. Look at the cover of Mister Seahorse and notice how Eric Carle created a simple background using yellow and blue watercolor on white.
Step 4 (paint background): Using yellow and blue watercolor, paint simple wavy lines for the background.
Step 5 (draw eye): Use a black crayon to draw a small circle for the eye on your seahorse.
*While papers are drying, spend a few minutes reading some of the book and/or teach some fun facts about seahorses.
-Did you now that male seahorses give birth!? The female seahorse lays her eggs into a pouch on the male seahorse’s belly and he takes care of the seahorse eggs until they’re born!
-When 2 seahorses fall in love, they dance, swimming together. Sometimes up to 8 hours!
-A baby seahorse is called a “fry” and a group of seahorses, a “herd”. -Seahorses have no teeth!
Step 6 (cut out seahorse): With the help of an adult, cut seahorse out.
Step 7 (glue seahorse on background): Using a gluestick, paste your seahorse to your background.
The last step is to cut and paste small paper details on the seahorse’s neck and back like in Eric Carle’s art.
Step 8 (cut & glue details on neck): Using your painted paper scraps, cut small triangles or rectangle shapes. Use glue to attach to your seahorse’s neck and back like Mister Seahorse!
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