Friday Art Fun! da Vinci-Inspired Sketchbooks

Introduce your child to a famous artist of the Renaissance, while making a fun personalized journal. For the cover, we created crayon resist paintings using a technique that made them look a little like worn parchment. On the inside, we added a bookplate with "mirror-writing".

What You Need

Composition Notebook or (other blank journal)
White paper
Black crayon
Watercolor paints & brush
Mirror-Writing Bookplates (download here)
Books or Websites about Leonardo da Vinci

The Lesson

Introduce Leonardo da Vinci and his art. I almost always start with a book. My favorite for this project is "Leonardo da Vinci Dreams, Schemes, and Flying Machines" by Heinz Kuhne. It's a part of  Prestel's Adventures in Art series. (It's available in the Children's Non-fiction section of our local library. Maybe you can find it near you too!)

Da Vinci was a Renaissance painter who painted one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa. He also painted a fresco painting called The Last Supper, which is almost as famous. Leonardo da Vinci was not just a painter. He was also a scientist, researcher and inventor. His many journals detail his ideas about architecture, engineering and nature. There are many inventions in his notebooks that were "re-invented" many years later. Even his versions of "flying-machines."

An interesting fact about da Vinci: he wrote in reverse in his notebooks. It kept his ideas more private, but he was also left-handed and it kept him from smearing his writing!

Making Your Journal

Cut a piece of white paper to fit the front of your journal. Draw a picture with black crayon. Once the picture is complete, crumple the paper into a ball and immerse in water until wet through. Carefully open the paper and lay flat. (It works well to complete this step on a vinyl placemat.) Complete the picture with watercolor paints. Let dry. (Laying the paper on a wire drying-rack can speed things up a bit if you're impatient.)

When the painting is dry, glue to the front of your composition book. Add your "Mirror-Writing" bookplate to the inside front cover. (If desired, line the inside of the cover with pretty paper before adding your Bookplate.) The pdf-download is sized for a sheet of 6 3.25x4" shipping labels, but you can easily print it on regular paper. Just cut out one bookplate and use glue to adhere inside.

Now you have a personalized journal for observation, invention or drawing. Happy journaling!
Thanks for stopping by!


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