Wednesday, February 24, 2016

3D Japanese Koi Watercolor Art Project


I love doing Koi Watercolor paintings!  The blue and orange look so great together and there is no way for the student to feel unsuccessful - there is no right or wrong way to paint the fish!
I had seen several versions of this project on Pinterest but couldn't find the pattern for the fish so I made my own.  Here is a Jpeg version and the instructions to make them.  
Mine are printed on 8.5 X 11" paper.
I traced and cut out the shapes using watercolor paper.
I folded the front of the fish in half to make it easier to cut the slits for the face and the whiskers.
You will need to cut a slit in the top back of the fish for the fin to poke through.  You can just carefully cut a thin slice along the fold or use an X Acto knife.

The back fin is put in the cut along the back.

Now staple the two pieces together as shown.

Bend the front of the fish where the slits in the side are and then glue in place - I used a tiny dab of hot glue.

Fold the front fins so the fish can lay flat.

Fold the tail in the back so that it almost lays flat and put a curve in the tail before the staple.  
These look so much like they're swimming off the paper.

There are several varieties of Koi, but most have orange, yellow, red, blue and black.  I just added splotches of color and did wet into wet with those colors.
I'm going to show my students this chart for ideas:

You can play around with the eyes to give them a little more personality.

The water is simply two shades of blue done Wet into Wet and then sprinkled with salt. 
 I thought it would be fun to do a rectangle instead of a square for this version.

These can be made out of any kind of paper or even felt.  Patterned paper could be a fun option too!
The students will enjoy these beautiful maintenance free new pets!
Student Work:


  1. Love this. Very clever. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this too! Thank you for sharing all your work!!!

  3. What a great idea! I am going to create my own template for this art project which is for a Japan Unit Study I am writing, Ill add your site to my resources. Thank you -Deanna @ Discover Unit Studies


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