We have not used sharpies with watercolour paints before and I recently had one of those moments where you wondered why it took so long to try this combination. My son often wants to add little details to his watercolour pictures – he loves drawing extra claws or teeth onto any dinosaur or animal that he has painted - but our other felt-tip pens tend to bleed so they are not great to mix with watercolours (unless of course you want to get that bleeding effect, which can be stunning). And I must admit our sharpies are not left lying around just because they are so hard to get out of anything (clothes and furniture)! So quite by accident after completing a picture he reached for the felt tip pen that I was using to try and draw with and it happened to be a sharpie and voila, finally he could add the detail that he wanted without creating a mess. It was perfect because he could draw with the sharpies and then paint over, or paint and then draw over and either way the sharpies did not bleed. So we decided to try our new combination again to make sure it was not an accident.
We started by using our sharpies in a spider picture (my son loves spiders). He drew a simple web design with our sharpie (it helps to divide the page into the quarters and then draw diagonal lines before drawing in the inner spider lines – he found this out after multiple other attempts).
Drawing his spider web
The finished spider web drawn with sharpies
After drawing his web (well, multiple webs!) he started creating colourful web designs using his watercolour paints.
Painting his first spider web
And another painted spider web
And he could paint right over the sharpie lines without any issue.
Here's another one - a multicoloured spider web
Once he had finished his painting, he drew in his own spider over the watercolour paints. There was no bleeding. The sharpies really work well with the watercolours. If you prefer, you could also use this spider template to create your spider.
Drawing a spider on this web
And drawing a spider on this web!
He didn't even have to leave his painting to dry. As soon as he finished painting he immediately drew in the spiders.
Here is one of his finished spider web pictures
The kids loved the idea so we played around some more with the sharpies and our watercolours.
My daughter opted for a scarecrow - inspired by this scarecrow colouring page.
Drawing a scarecrow with sharpies
I like the idea of letting the kids drew with the sharpies without using a pencil first. It does mean that they will sometimes want to throw their drawings away. But the positive side is because they are drawing directly with pens they tend to think carefully about which lines they are going to draw and actually often end up with some excellent pictures.
Painting over the sharpie scarecrow with watercolour paints
This is a guest post from Shelly. Shelly is a home educating parent of two children aged 8 and 10. She blogs at ofamily learning together where she shares ideas on the different learning activities that they do including lots of hand-on maths, arts and crafts and anything else that is part of their home educating lifestyle.
You can find more guest posts by Shelly, and a list of all our guest posts, here.