How to Lure a 15 Year Old Into an Art Project

ink drawing on dried painting

1. It’s got to be quick and simple.

2. It’s got to be magical.

(Unless you already have a teenage art lover, in which case it will be easy.)

I set Fen up yesterday with watercolor paper, paints, brushes, lots of water, a bottle of ink, and a stick. We were about to embark on a really cool project I spied on, called Wandering Ink Drawings. It’s a common technique to show kids what ink can do when it is introduced to wet watercolor, but I like their idea of using just 2 colors of paint.

We tried that idea first:

watercolor wash

Fen painted her paper with purple and green in broad, watery strokes. Purple and green is a lovely combination, and what better time than right then to sneak in a little basic color theory?

Primary colors: Red, Blue, Yellow

Secondary colors: Purple (Red + Blue), Green (Blue + Yellow), Orange (Red + Yellow)

Tertiary colors: Combinations of primary and secondary colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green

Here’s a simple color mixing game (for younger kids) to show them how different colors and shades of these colors (Primary and Secondary) are made.

Back to our creations…..


ink jar

I gave her a stick to use as her drawing utensil instead of a pen and nibs. I think it’s important to recognize that you don’t always need to use fancy equipment or materials for art-making. Sticks can compete formidably with pens, plus it’s fun for kids to walk out into the back yard on a mission to find the very best stick.


inky girl drawing

This was the first painting Fen made, and she wasn’t happy with the end result, but she had fun watching the ink bleed throughout the watery painted surface. I like the crazy eyes, personally.


rainbow watercolor ink drawing

This is her second painting. Rainbow stripes; ink dots.


ink marks on wax paper

Then the wax paper painting surface beckoned her to make cool little squiggles. At some point, she dropped ink dots onto a plain piece of paper and pressed another piece down on top of it to make a monoprint.


ink drawing on dried painting

Here’s her finished dot painting with ink lines added after the painting  was dry. You could also go back in with other media- colored pencils, pastels, regular pencils, and add more detail. Sometimes less is more, though, so she left it alone.


watercolor with ink painting

Apparently this project was alluring, because it caught the attention of her 15 year old sister, who usually has very little interest in art. Ha! Look at that color mixing! It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye.


bleeding ink spots

The ink dots are mesmerizing to watch as they spread out across the painted surface.


drawing with a stick

Fen felt the need to write with the stick due to its novelty.

Because this project is quick with great results, be prepared with several sheets of water color paper. There will definitely be multiple paintings, as well as some impromptu experimenting with the materials and surfaces. I love this about kids making art. Once they have successfully tried one thing, they look around to see what else they can mess around with.

There’s a life lesson in there somewhere, but I’m too sleepy to puzzle it out.

What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.


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  1. Such a cool effect! I can’t wait to try it! I probably need to watch my son closely though because the “something else” will be his skin. He gave himself nice Sharpie knee tattoos yesterday!

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