Doodlebug Club: Smooshed Monster Paintings

monster mash up

This week at Doodlebug Club we made Smooshed Monster Paintings.  (No, I didn’t subject the wee ones to Rorshach Tests).  And boy, can those guys squirt some paint!

Smooshed Monster Paintings in 5 8 10 easy steps

1.  Fold a sheet of white paper (thick – the watercolor kind) in half and unfold them again.

2.  You’ve already prepared three colors of washable paint in squirt bottles (like you might find in a cake decorating aisle), right?  Yeah.  Do that first.  Word to the wise: limit the ammunition (only fill the bottles maybe 1/3 of the way full – it’s plenty, unless you’ve got, like 25 Doodlebugs.  And if you do, good luck with that!)

3.  Paper and paint ready to go, grab your Doodlebug and have him or her invert the squeeze bottle over one half of the folded paper.  Using one of your hands, hold the bottle for your artist, directing it around the paper as they squeeze.  Using your other hand, move the paper back and forth so that the paint doesn’t glob all in one spot.  With another hand, make sure the artist isn’t reaching for another bottle of paint with his or her other hand.  With another hand, make sure other Doodlebugs are remaining attentive in their seats and are not also reaching for the squeeze bottles.  (Counting? Yeah, you need four hands for this.  Per kid).

4.  Repeat #3 with second color.

5.  Repeat #3 with third (and final *whew* color).

6.  Once all paint is more or less in place on the half of the sheet of paper, ignoring all the other places paint now resides (might be a good idea to wipe off your eyeglasses, if applicable), instruct your artist to fold the other half of the page onto the half with the paint.

7.  This part is tricky (Aha! At step 7 we get to a tricky part!)  Taking the hand of your eager little Picasso, use gentle smoothing motions across the page, smooshing the monster face into being.  Whacking the page is also quite fun, but you’ll be cleaning paint out of Junior’s eyelashes for a month.  Stick to the slow and smooth method.  Make up some story about how monsters are shy and we must encourage them gently to show us their faces. Worked for me.

8.  Once the paint is sufficiently smooshed, instruct your artist to grasp one corner of the folded sheet and pull open slowly to reveal the monster face.

9.  Add pre-cut monster eyeballs, nose, mouth, teeth, etc.  They’ll stick to the paint – no need for gluesticks (except for gluing the teeth on the mouth, if that applies to any particular monster, and you might want to do that beforehand, around step #2-ish.). Before we started our painting, I took the kids “shopping” (to the other side of the table) for monster face parts – they picked out all the necessities for their monster face and had them at the ready when their monster made his/her appearance.

10. Repeat with each Doodlebug artist.

This one is really hands on.  Believe me.  Squirt bottles of paint without one-on-one? Riiiiight.  Nevertheless, these Smooshed Monster Paintings turned out pretty well.  See for yourself:

monster mash up 4This guy got creative, making his monster face vertical instead of horizontal.  Some dental issues, obviously, and perhaps a bit of a goiter, but it is a monster after all.

monster mash up 2I think this one has a rather sympathetic expression.  He just needs a friend.

monster mash up 3This one actually does look a little gruesome, I think.

monster mash up 1

This was one of my examples.  One of the perks of teaching preschoolers, eh?

DSC_0439Okay, so I made two of them.  It was fun and I did spend half of Lincoln , which *A* and I watched the other night, cutting out and gluing eyeballs together.

Now, if Smooshed Monsters weren’t enough, we finished our art class by reading the book that was sort of the inspiration for the project: Ed Emberley’s Go Away Big Green Monster!  This book was created to help kids chase away their fear of monsters.  As each page turns, what starts out as two yellow eyes slowly adds features and turns into a big green monster.  But the reader has the power – continuing to turn the pages makes the monster disappear, feature by feature, with the final line: “Go away, big green monster! And don’t come back!  Until I say so.”

big green monster book

This was the first time I’d read this book.  It was pretty good, and nice and simple.  I actually read it twice because it everyone was paying such close attention to it.  It kind of reminded me of another of my favorite books as a kid – Grover’s The Monster at the End of this Book, which my Dad and/or sister read to me half a million times, I’m sure.

monster at the end of this bookGrover is told that there’s a monster at the end of the book and tries to do everything he can to keep you from turning the pages – he’s terrified of monsters, you see.

monster at the end of this book 3

monster at the end of this book 2

His antics are pretty funny.  And then finally, on the last page, after all these frantic attempts at preventing you from turning pages:

monster at the end of this book 4

Aw, Grover.  He was always my favorite.  This one’s already on The Littlest Brooks-Livingston’s shelf (of course).

As for the Smooshed Monsters – it wasn’t too bad – just held the potential for adventures in paint, is all.  Not sure why I thought squirt bottles of paint would be the best way to go with an all-boy crowd…

doodlebugWhat is Doodlebug Club?
I work at an art and history museum, and one of the best parts of my job is working with kids.    I teach a weekly preschool art class called Doodlebug Club, where I get to try out all sorts of ideas that will become some of the fun things that we will do with our Littlest Brooks-Livingston.  I’ve never had any real art training, but I think it’s a lot of fun, and to me, it’s very important to make art more approachable than it ever seemed when I was a kid.If you’d like to read about more of the projects we’ve done in Doodlebug Club, click here.  Check out my Doodlebug Club Pinterest board here.


4 thoughts on “Doodlebug Club: Smooshed Monster Paintings

  1. Hmmm…smooshing paint with all boys… are brave..
    The monsters turned out really well. I haven’t done any of that type of painting in awhile but one good thing to use it for is to teach symmetry. Of course this would be for kids like my second graders.


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