Mixed: A Colorful Art Lesson on Expression and Emotions!

Mixed: A Colorful Art Lesson on Expression and Emotions!

Looking for a fun, easy and engaging art lesson for students in grades k-5 that teaches students about color mixing but with a focus on SEL? well then you are definitely going to want to save this lesson because it's the perfect arts integrated lesson! 

A few years ago when I was creating art lesson for my "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Mr Rogers/ Community art show theme, I created this lesson basd off the adorable book called Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung. 

Here is the complete lesson tutorial of how to create this colorful and adorable art lesson!

Mixed A colorful story

1. Read the story Mixed by Arree Chung. This is the perfect book to introduce color theory or primary colors being mixed to create secondary colors, tertiary colors and more. 


2. After reading the story, take a moment to focus on and ask questions about how some of the characters were feeling throughout the book. Ask questions like, what makes you say that? Or how did you come to that conclusion? Even though the author illustrated these characters very simply, he was still able to use little tips and tricks to capture and express emotions. Take a few moments to talk about and notice how Arree was able to show that the reds (for example) were mad. How did he show that? Look at their eye brows, their mouth shape, etc. Practice saying an emotion (happy, sad, embarrassed, surprised, excited, confused, etc) and have your students show that expression with their face. If you would really like to take this up a notch, place table mirrors (typically used for self portraits) in front of students so they can see how their face changes with each expression and feeling. 

Art with Mrs. E Mixed Art lesson

3. Painting Time! Using watercolor trays (I love Crayola's educational watercolors) and /or  tempera cakes (my favorite are the Jack Richeson fluorescent tempera cakes). Have students paint circles in different colors, starting by bouncing around the paper so that the paint doesn't bleed while the paint is still wet. Then, as paint dries (it typically dries pretty quick) slowly start to slightly overlap the circles. Because the paint is pretty transparent, student will start to see new colors formed by layering one color over another. Now you now only have primary and secondary colors, but entirely new colors in the areas that the paints are overlapped. 

Art with Mrs. E Mixed Art Lesson
4. Once the painted circles are dry, it's a great time to talk about/ show students how artists/ illustrators/ cartoonists capture emotions and expressions in something even as simple as a smiley face! Students then referenced my Emotions & Expressions drawing guide as an idea sheet to drawing the faces of their colorful people. Of course I encouraged students to look in their mirror and create as many silly expressions as they would like to build their confidence to draw their own ideas!  Students used sharpie/ permanent marker to draw their faces on top of the painted circles to turn each one into a person each with a different and fun expression. 

Art with Mrs. E Mixed Art Lesson

The personalities that each of these pieces took on was so fun to see as my students worked and with the simple, carefree nature of creating faces so simplified, with the help of my drawing guide, my kiddos were able to build confidence in their artistic abilities while staying endlessly engaged!

Art with Mrs. E Mixed Art Lesson

This is a great lesson to leave as a sub plan, a quick and easy project to start or end the year, and for any classroom teacher (or parent) wanting to integrate some art into their curriculum!

Have fun and keep creating! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

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1 comment

  • This is so pretty and fun! I can see using it with our SEL program Second Step at the beginning of the year. We practice recognizing emotions based on body language and facial expressions.


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