Coloring with Emotion – Art for Kids

I find it vital to introduce kids to art and famous artists at a young age. Not all kids will love art or enjoy learning about art history. But exposure is key.

As parents and teachers, we can provide engaging activities centered around an art theme to introduce art and different art styles to our kids.

We read a book about Picasso (Who is Picasso) and one thing really stuck with the boys – Picasso’s blue period.  Baloo in particular thought it was interesting how Picasso used blue to signify his sadness and depression.  I wanted to show them that many colors spark emotion in us and that by using one color, we can evoke emotion easily in a painting.

Evoke emotions in art by utilizing color. Get your kids creating art and learning from the masters - like Picasso!

Art with Emotion

There are many ways to spark emotion through art. You can tell a story with your work, use light and dark to add levels of contrast, and you can use particular colors (among many other techniques).

I love evoking emotion by adding in a particular color. It’s fascinating to me how most humans regard colors as the same emotions. There are studies that show most humans associate red with anger, blue with sadness, yellow with happiness, and so on.

How to Create Your Art with Emotion

You can do this activity with any kind of artwork. Draw a still life, a landscape scene – anything you want.

We started with a simple “self-portrait” kind of activity.  Picasso is known for his abstract qualities so I wanted to do a self-portrait that reflected that.

For the record, his Blue Period was not abstract. We’re mixing his periods a bit here.

We followed the instructions for an abstract self-portrait here at Art Projects for Kids.

Start by drawing your picture in pencil.


Then trace with a black crayon or marker.  Anything to make the lines stand out.

Choose what emotion you want to evoke and pick the color that best matches that emotion.  Anger – red.  Happy – yellow or yellow/orange.  Blue – sadness.  Use your imagination!  Do your best to use only shades of that one color!

Baloo wanted to do green, so we went with envy!

Pick out multiple crayons or markers in that color scheme. The more variety you can get within one color the better.

We decided to use a LOT of green so we split up our bigger areas into even smaller areas.

We decided to cover the outside of the face as well.   I feel like the extra color really helps the emotion come out.  I think tinkering with contrasting colors would be interesting too!

And that’s how you color with emotion – just like Picasso!!

Check out these other great kids books to learn all about Picasso:

We love to incorporate books with every activity. Check out these great books on Pablo Picasso:

This post is part of a series on art history where bloggers are featuring crafts and activities from many different artists!  Make sure to check out all the other wonderful ideas!  You can see the list here!

1 thought on “Coloring with Emotion – Art for Kids”

  1. Pingback: 25 Art Projects Inspired by Famous Artists: Post-Impressionism

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