We’ve been having a lovely time recently creating bold Charcoal Leaf Pictures. We sure do love getting arty with leaves! Regular readers will remember our gorgeous leaf window clings, wax resist leaf paintings and even leaf sewing too.
We often think of creating leaf art in the Autumn/Fall when we’re surrounded by fallen leaves but I love exploring leaves with kids in the Spring and Summer too. Spring lets us observe the wonder of buds emerging, swelling and opening and Summer crowns the trees in gorgeous lush foliage that’s bursting with textures and patterns. Leaf crafts really are something to be enjoyed all year round.
A wonderful way for kids to start exploring texture and pattern and appreciating the natural beauty around us is through charcoal leaf rubbing.
Supplies To Make Charcoal Leaf Pictures
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How To Create Pictures Of Leafs With Charcoal
First of all you can enjoy going out for a walk to collect all your leaves. How about taking a tree identification chart along with you so you can look at the overall tree and leaf shapes to find out what they’re called and a little more about them? You could either bring the leaves indoors or create your leaf art where you are outside.
Traditionally you’d use a heavy slightly textured paper when working with charcoal but I find that if the paper is too heavy then the wonderful textures of the leaves won’t be able to show through so I just use standard low grade paper.
Simply put the leaf, on a firm surface, under the paper and rub the charcoal over it.
Learning and Developing Skills with Charcoal Leaf Art
Charcoal leaf rubbing can be enjoyed at a basic single leaf level with very young children whereas older children can enjoy building up elaborate leaf pictures using many leaves and exploring composition, grouping, layering and contrast.
Children can experiment with holding their charcoal like a pencil or on its side. Which effect do they prefer? Which gives the clearest results?
Let the children try their leaves different ways up. Does the upper or underside of the leaf leave the clearest impression?
Children will notice that their hands get blackened a bit by the charcoal because it’s so soft. Don’t worry it’ll wash off easily. Maybe they’d like to explore rubbing the charcoal over the paper with their hands? Does it give a different effect?
Do the children notice any differences between the leaves? Do some work better than others? Can they suggest why?
Once your leaf art is finished be careful not to smudge it. You can buy special spray on fixative but it’s pricey. A cheaper option is to use some hairspray but don’t spray it around children and use it outside where it’s well ventilated.
Leaf Art Extension Activity
You might want to introduce your children to the works of Sylvain Meyer and Andy Goldsworthy, both well known for their nature based art work.
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