Painting Koi Fish Art Project for Kids
The Koi fish at the Grant Hyatt Resort in Kauai were so beautiful that we surreptitiously fed them as you can see in the videos. I had never seen so many Koi fish swimming together with such gorgeous colors. I was inspired to turn this into an art project after seeing Deep Space Sparkle’s gorgeous 6th grade Koi fish paintings.
I wanted to capture the movement of the Koi fish, rather than fuss with trying to render it accurately. (If that is your thing, here’s a guide that uses simple shapes to get the basic drawing of the fish. It’s perfect for kids who want a realistic rendition.) I’m aiming for an abstract painting that is more about color, movement, and shape than representational.
Because I’m not an art teacher, I had to recruit my kids to give it a whirl. They protested but once the project was set up with some creative painting canvas ideas, they seemed to have fun doing it. We painted it very fast on small postcard size pieces of heavy watercolor paper. (Arches 140-pound cold press. I love that paper!). I’d suggest giving each person 3 or 4 squares of paper and doing a new painting for each video plus one for the still.
I played three videos of Koi fish. Each video has a different style of music. Try making a painting for each video using the music to inspire your art. How does music affect what and how you paint? Feel free to stop any video if you are inspired to capture that image as well. Anything goes. This is for fun!
This first video has a mellow rock and roll soundtrack.
This second video has piano music.
This last soundtrack is techno but very soothing.
Here’s a still image if the movement is too distracting. If you’d like to paint one fish more representationally, here’s a basic outline from HowToDrawGuide.com.
And this is what we turned out.
Who knew that a koi pond could have a built-in “skyscraper” or a sun-filled observation tower so that the fish could look across their landscape… or maybe they think they’re swimming in the sky? Via Neatorama.
Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors by Lian Quan Zhen
For anyone who wants to try Chinese brush painting to capture the Koi fish, this is a great book.
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Art with Kids on Pinterest.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
18 thoughts on “Abstract Art Project for Kids: Koi Fish”
Pretty! I love looking at koi fish swimming. We have that as a screensaver.
Hi Asian Mommy,
Me too! It’s mesmerizing. I’ll have to find that screen saver!
Beautiful! I love this project- and The different music to the 3 videos. What a great idea! Tell Grasshopper I love her drawing a whole bunch.
Thank you! I definitely will! She refused to paint in watercolor because she prefers acrylic but her board turned into a muddy color and she got discouraged. I’ll tell her you like her drawing AND that you went to RISD. That will make her sooo happy! She wants to go to RISD too!
I love all of these! What a great idea to work from video!!!
Thanks so much! I just loved the movement of the Koi fish. I’m trying to think of art projects that are not representational or have the option not to be representation because I think that if kids feel their art work doesn’t “look” like the thing they are trying to capture that they are bad at art and sort of give up on it. Art is for everyone and everyone can be successful at art. I think it’s like riding a bicycle — some people may have natura ability such that they can do it faster or younger, but anyone can do it if they just stick with it. Apparently, authors say the same thing about writing a book!
I love abstract artwork. I’ve let my kids do their own artwork for their rooms. They loved it. Thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday. I hope we see you again this week.
Thanks so much for hosting Tip-Toe Tuesday! Yes, I’d love to link up! How fun that your kids get to decorate their own rooms with their abstract artwork! I’d love to see it. Does it happen to be on your blog?
We love Koi Fish and we love your artwork great job!!
Hi Fish Lover,
I love Koi fish too! Thanks so much! I hope you get a chance to try the art project out!
This is a great idea and I think we will try it. We have a lovely pond in our local botanical gardens with lots of koi and that would be a great inspiration for us.
I would love to include the artwork that your kids make if you do paint Koi fish if that is ok with you!
I love the fluid art you painted versus focusing heavily on the perfect rendition of a koi fish. I have to say that I am always drawn to koi fish ponds and can spend hours there if at all possible – it’s so relaxing, isn’t it?
Thanks for sharing this on Kids Get Arty. I love how much you have in the post with the videos and books and extra art.
Thanks so much Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas! That means a lot coming from you! I really admire your blog and your thorough posts inspire me!
What a wonderful project. Your koi fish turned out so beautiful too. Love it.
Thanks for joining in with Kids Get Arty!
Thanks for hosting the Linky Maggie! I love reading your posts! That egg carton chicken egg holder is so adorable. I would have never thought of it but now I can’t get it out of my head.
I love these – they look really beautiful.
Am featuring at this week’s Empty Your Archive – thanks so much for sharing, Alice
Thanks so much Alice!! We had fun painting together and I just think Koi fish are so beautiful!