Teachers: Use Handmade Paper for * Kites!

A wonderful project would be to have your students create miniature decorative kites using a piece or two of handmade paper. Inspire your class with examples of Japanese kite designs. Students can either copy these traditional images or create their own imaginary animal or dragon.

Usually when I teach drawing, I present a vocabulary of geometric shapes on the board, challenging students to break down what they are seeing or imagining into simple circles, ovals, squares, rectangles and triangles, then draw those shapes. Sometimes the shapes overlap...sometimes a more complex shape is created by several simple ones. Make sure that students draw large or the effect will not be as successful!

Have your students completely paint the image with watercolor, but do warn them that the color will bleed through (unless you have sized your fiber). Make sure that they do not try to lift the painted paper until it is very dry because it is possible to rip the sheet. Do not let them use black or to try to paint the details, informing them that eyes and whiskers, will be drawn on with marker later.

After drying, designs can be highlighted by outlining with a marker. Inexpensive ribbons can be attached to the bottom for decoration.

Examples painted by Catherine Nash

Toy kites purchased in Japan

All Rights Reserved — use of images/text by written permission of the artist only © Nash/Renfrow Productions