Rainforest Paintings

by Deborah Padrick
Coordinator of Demonstration Arts Project
Forestville School
3rd Grade

rainforest painting 1
rainforest painting 2
rainforest painting 3
Supplies: poster board 22"x28", medium-point "Sharpie" permanent pens, oil pastels, liquid watercolors, ice tray palettes and brushes, pictures and books on rainforest animals.
Note: Curriculum studies can include materials on endangered rainforest animals and habitat. A website, The Earth's Birthday Project, provided information about the rainforest and opportunities for students to purchase land in rainforest conserves. Forestville students, under the leadership of Carole Castleberry, have purchased many acres of rainforest land for conservation.
  1. Give the students poster board and pencils and have them draw the basis parts of their rainforest picture using light pencil line. Images should be drawn large. Include many animals and the surrounding plant life. Plants and branches can enter from all edges of the page and can overlap filling areas in the picture. Some basic step-by-step drawings of rainforest animals can be found here.
  2. Students can now go over the pencil lines with permanent black pen, and add in more details with the black pen while considering the overall composition and interest of the picture.
  3. Add accents of color with oil pastels. In some areas use the oil pastels heavily, but do not fill the entire picture with oil pastels because oil pastels will resist the application of liquid watercolors, used in the final step.
  4. Finally, brush on watercolor washes throughout the picture. Liquid watercolors in ice trays are easy to use. Dilution of some of the colors with water is needed to develop pastels. To keep the individual colors unmuddied, rinse brush between color changes.
rainforest painting 4
rainforest painting 5
The techniques used in this art project can be adapted to other grade levels.
Visual Arts Standards used in this 3rd grade art project:



©   Deborah Padrick   2001