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How To Make A Mixed Media Tulip Collage inspired by Robert Kushner

Artists of Any Age Can Make This Cool Art!

Let's RECYCLE some old metallic paper scraps to make this super cool Mixed Media tulip inspired by Robert Kushner!


About the Artist: Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner is a contemporary American artist from California. Contemporary means he's still in the studio making art today! The paintings that Robert Kusnher does are REALLY big, sometimes 20 feet tall. His style of painting is floral, but very decorative. He uses a lot of patterns in the backgrounds of his paintings, and a lot of times he uses gold leafing on his paintings. Gold leaf is super thin sheets of actual real gold! (If you have gold leafing, you can use that on your painting today!) To learn more about Robert Kushner and see some of the art he does today, check out his website.


What You'll Need

  • ⬜️ Watercolor Paper (or poster board/card stock paper)

  • ♻️ Old scraps of metallic and colored paper, or strips of magazine pages

  • 🎨 Acrylic Paints

  • 🖌 Paintbrushes

  • ✏️ Pencil

  • 🌬 Glue Stick

  • ✂️ Scissors

  • 📏 Ruler

  • ❕Paper Towels

  • 💦 Water Jar

  • 🌀Masking Tape


First, let's use masking tape around the edges of our paper so that way, at the end of our project, we can take the tape off and our art will have a border, like a frame. Beautiful!


Step 1: Cut Your Strips

Start by making sure your paper's orientation is portrait, or up-and-down. Since a tulip is tall, we want our drawing today to be tall, too. First, gather your strips of wrapping paper, metallic paper, scraps, magazine pages, and more. Using your ruler and pencil, draw your strips to be about the width of the ruler (about 1 inch) wide and cut them into long, tall strips.


Step 2: Collage Your Background

Now that you've got lots and lots of strips, it's time to collage! Take your glue stick and glue your paper on one side. Now take one of your strips of paper that you cut, and glue it to your white paper. If you taped your watercolor paper, try not to glue on top of the masking tape because you don't want it to come off later. Make sure you press down hard so that your strip sticks! Keep collaging down one row and trim the end if you need to.


PRO TIP: make sure your edges are pasted down REALLY well! We're going to paint over this collage later, so if your edges are pasted down, it'll make painting a lot easier and smoother.


Keep going down each column and collaging until your whole paper is covered with vertical strips of paper. Try to cover up your whole paper so no white is showing through. And, make your art your own! Alternate using different colors, patterns, and more on each strip in your collage. Alternating using a lot of different patterns will make it look like Robert Kushner's style.


Step 3: Draw Your Tulip

Now that your background is all done, it's time to paint our tulip on top! First, we're going to draw the tulip so that way we know where to paint next. Using your pencil, let's start drawing. Start in the middle of your drawing and draw a smile curve, slightly tilted. From there, draw two puffs that start at the edge of the smile and point at the top. On the left, add another point, and draw a long curve around the outside of your first petal connecting the arrow to the bottom of the petal. That's your left petal. Now, let's do the same thing on the right, drawing a point that connects with a curve down to the bottom of the flower.


That's the main part of the flower. Now add another petal on the right or left side- your choice! Just make sure it connects to the bottom of the flower. Add one more point that's a petal behind your petals you just drew.


Step 4: Draw Your Stem and Leaves

Now, let's draw the stem. Draw a smile curve at the bottom of your tulip- this is what attaches your stem to the bottom of the flower. Then, draw two long lines that go halfway down to the bottom. This is the stem!


Now, we can draw the leaves! The leaves on tulips are long and curve a little. In this drawing, we'll draw four leaves. Start at the bottom and draw upward with a slide to the right of your drawing. Once you've got the top, draw an arrow at the tip. Take the side and follow the slides down to draw your leaf!


PRO TIP: you can pause Kim's video anytime, so if you need help with this shape, try rewinding and watching her demonstration again.


For the second leaf, draw a rainbow curve going to the right. Draw a line that connects the tip of the leaf and draw a diagonal straight to the middle of the rainbow curve. Then, draw two lines under the left side of the rainbow curve. Now the leaf looks folded over, like a tulip leaf!


For the third leaf, start on the left side of the tulip. Draw a long curved line toward where the stem would end. Then, like the first leaf, draw an arrow head and connect the arrow heads with parallel curved lines to the bottom of the leaf.


For the fourth leaf, draw three lines that start at the bottom of the stem and curve up behind the leaf we just drew. Ta da! You have all four leaves. If you need to connect your stem to your leaves, finish your line.

Step 5: Paint Your Tulip White

Now it's time to paint! Gather your paints in your palette. First, get a lot of white paint, because we're going to paint the entire flower white. Then, pick a green for the leaves and stem outline, and a color for your tulip outline. Once you've got your paints, paper towels, water jar, and paintbrushes ready, you're ready to paint your tulip.


Using your small acrylic paintbrush, color your ENTIRE tulip with white. If you pull your paintbrush while you paint, you won't have any goopy edges. Make sure you can still see your pencil lines, because later we'll do outlines with your colors. Keep painting until you get all of your leaves and flower petals colored white. If you need a second coat of white, when it's dry you can go over with a second coat if you want.

Step 6: Paint Tulip Outlines

Now that you've got your tulip white, let's start painting the outline of our flower! Start with the area that's most dry (your leaves, if you're following Kim's example). Using the tip of your paintbrush and your green paint, paint the lines that you drew earlier. Be very careful and make your lines super smooth - if you barely touch your paper with your paintbrush, it'll be a super skinny line. Make sure you outline all of the lines you drew for your stem and leaves in green!


Once all of your leaves are done, you can use the color you chose for your flower and start painting the outlines of the petals. Just like we did before, make sure you barely touch your paintbrush to the paper to make sure your lines are crisp and thin.


Step 7: Paint Tulip Details

Once your outlines are all painted on your tulip, let's add some details. If you look at flower petals, they have wrinkles in them, so we can paint those details in this, too. Starting at the base of your flower petals, draw a wrinkly line on each petal. In your big front petal, draw three wrinkly lines. These should go up maybe 1/4 of the petal height. Make sure these lines are super skinny! You can add a wrinkle or two on the top parts of the petals if you want extra detail.


The Final Product!

And Remember... Keep Making Cool Art!

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