Oil Pastel Birds in Nests

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Mixed medium art pieces are some of my favorites to make with children! The process of adding a piece of nature, with our twiggy  nests, especially excites my young students. These little momma birds tending to their babies are just the thing for mothers day! Not only do your kiddos get some nice drawing practice, but this is also a great way to introduce oil pastels to the little guys… Not to mention, we had a blast venturing outside to collect twigs!

What you need: 

Oil Pastels

Black Paper

Pencils

Erasers

Elmer’s Glue

Twigs

Photos of birds on nests

Let’s Get Started!

Step One:

Using a pencil, draw your bird.

I place dozens of various pictures of birds in nests on a table. I love to give my students options as I think it makes them even more invested in their artwork.

Begin by drawing the top of the birds head. Remember we are drawing what we see in the picture, not what we think a bird looks like… After the head, draw the birds back, then slowly add more and more details, constantly looking back from the photo to your drawing. No need to draw the nest, as we are making that out of twigs. Some students ask to draw a background… I never say ‘No’ to a child wanting to add anything to their artwork. Afterall, they are the artists in training, any added creativity is encouraged!

Step Two:

Break out the oil pastels!

Oil pastels are wonderful. I tell my students to begin by picking out all of the colors they see in their bird. Even the slight tinges of colors that one would’nt expect, those usually are what make our drawing look super realistic!

The keys to drawing with oil pastels are push hard- we want thick color, blend with other colors by layering, look for subtle changes in color and add shadows and highlights where needed. Don’t forget the most important part- the white sparkle in the eye! Look for the tiniest details and add them in, such as the highlight on the beak and individual feathers. The more details you add, the more realistic your drawing!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Step Three: 

Collect and apply twigs! Get outside, let the kids run and grab a handful of dry twigs. Once back inside, begin by gluing some right along the bird. I find that it is best to lay down one twig at a time. Place a twig where you want it, move it slightly and trace along it with glue, then put back in place on the glue. Some kids are tempted to line them up, which we decided looks a tad unrealistic. For an authentic looking nest, overlap and layer twigs, being sure to only add a dab of glue where the two touch.

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Once your nest is done, marvel at your work! And happy Mothers Day to all you awesome moms out there!

Have Fun!

Student Examples:

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!

Whoa Panda is a fun, creativity-driven, art lesson website created lovingly by an experienced Elementary Art Teacher. For hundreds of unique new lessons, visit WhoaPanda.com!