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Underwater Sea Turtles

Second grade students are learning to draw using organic and geometric shapes. They are also using cool colors (shades of blue, green, and violet) to create a mixed media crayon resist. Cool colors are often found in nature. They have a relaxing, soothing quality when used together in art and design.


  • Students used source images and oval templates to help get an idea for the shapes and textures to create their turtle drawing on watercolor paper. The drawings were outlined in black permanent marker.
  • I asked them to create a design on the turtle shell by using geometric shapes like squares, pentagons, hexagons, or triangles. They colored in the turtle’s shell and body using cool colored crayons.
  • On the second day of the project, the students received blue, green, and violet tissue paper that I asked them to tear into small pieces (about 2-3 inch squares).
  • The students used a brush and a cup of water to soak the paper and covered it with the tissue paper squares (while wearing gloves to keep it from staining our hands!)
  • After the entire paper (even the turtle) is covered in paper, they used a wet brush to soak the paper so it would bleed onto their drawings.
  • Finally, they peeled off all the wet tissue paper and discarded it, leaving the colors behind. It was a fun and easy way to create a colorful background on the paper.


  • watercolor paper
  • crayons
  • black permanent markers
  • water and brushes
  • plastic or latex-free vinyl gloves
  • tissue paper (test it first to see if it bleeds)

3 Responses to “Underwater Sea Turtles”

  1. Very cute pictures of sea turtles!

  2. Sara Stevens says:

    Hey! Just one question.. did you wet the paper first and then put dry tissue paper all over and then wet the tissue paper once it was all covered?

    • Margaret Bearden says:

      They wet the paper first so the paper would stick down. Some of them painted over them with water as they went, and some students added water over top at the end. I used heavyweight watercolor paper that would hold up to all the water. Of course there were a few students that didn’t wet their paper enough, and had to add more paper and water later. A few went a little crazy with the water and tore their paper. But overall, it worked well with great results. Don’t forget to use gloves-the cafeteria let me have some-or it will stain their hands.