Lesson Plan: Charley Harper & Van Gogh Mash Up

Lesson Plan: Charley Harper & Van Gogh Mash Up

Hey, friends! I’m excited to share this fun lesson that I’ve started with my sweet second grade kiddos. I decided to introduce them to Charley Harper (a fave of mine) and a little guided drawing. THEY LOVED IT! They were so excited about their wee raccoons that I decided to create a lesson from their drawings. Feel free to use this lesson in your art teacherin’ and creating world...all I ask is that you give me a shout out when you share on your favorite social media. This helps folks find their way back here to enjoy the lesson as well.


  • Faber-Castell Oil Pastels - Full disclosure: I work with Faber-Castell frequently and create lessons for them using their supplies. That being said, I do enjoy their oil pastels for a couple of big reasons: they are sturdy. Unlike many other oil pastels I use, they don’t break as often. They don’t roll! I love that we aren’t constantly chasing after them rolling off the tables. AND they are big...some oil pastels are very small and hard to hold for my students. Not to mention, they wear through them quickly. For all those reasons...and the fact that the colors are fabulous...I would definitely recommend these oil pastels.

  • Brown Watercolor Paint - This is for the light wash used on the raccoon.

  • Texture Rubbing Plates or Burlap - Don’t have texture plates? Burlap makes for a great rubbing surface!

  • Construction Paper - I love Tru-Ray because the paper doesn’t fade and seems stronger than most.

  • Tempera Paint

  • Tempera Cakes - My new favorite discovery: painting with tempera cakes on construction paper. Like, what?! The colors stay true and I just love it!

Lesson Plan Video:

Lesson Breakdown in 30-Minute Increments:

Day 1: Drawing the raccoon together. After enjoying some fun Nat Geo videos about raccoons, of course!

Day 2: Light wash over raccoon and paint scrapping for the tree.

Day 3: Creating the sky background. Rubbing and painting with tempera cakes.

Day 4: Assembling our collage!

One of my sweet students did tell me at the end of art class that her raccoon was “not my best work”. Bless. The beauty of having a recorded video is that the kids can follow along and make another one the next art class! When drawing together, I very rarely let them start over...it’s an important time to teach about a Beautiful Oops! And for them to let go of the notion that their artwork must be perfect. I always tell them that the following art class, if they are still unhappy, they can try again. Often times, they keep their original creation.

Download printable lesson plan here


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