Colorful Chameleons

colorful watercolor chameleons


Kids love chameleons! They change color almost like magic. Our second graders just finished a very successful watercolor chameleon project.


Day 1: Draw your chameleon

We watched the ‘Super Chameleon’ video on YouTube. The kids were amazed to see the chameleon change colors over and over. Then we took a close look at the chameleon books from our school’s media center. Next it was on to a directed draw. I modeled the basic contour of the chameleon’s head, body, tail and legs. Kids started in pencil, then outlined in Sharpie. They were free to use Sharpie to add their own details (stripes, patterns, dots, spikes) based on their reference photos.

chameleon drawing


Day 2: Color your chameleon

Kids used watercolor pencils dipped in water to color in the chameleons. The watercolor pencils were great for coloring in all the stripes and little spaces. The colors turned out really vibrant! The final step was to paint the background a single color using pan watercolors.

I encouraged everyone to stick to an analogous color scheme for their chameleons. Some kids did, some didn’t, but they all turned out beautiful.  After all, a chameleon can be any color.

blue and green chameleons

three watercolor chameleons

We tried a similar chameleon project last year using Crayola markers: click here to see more results.

Overall this was a popular, super successful project with minimal prep and clean up. It was my first watercolor pencil project, but it won’t be my last.


Here are two of the books we used for our lesson 

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2 thoughts on “Colorful Chameleons

  1. I’ve never tried watercolor pencils. Love the project idea and will have to try it soon! I also linked back to the previous version with the markers. I’m always looking for new ways to use up old markers…great tip! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Charmaine
      I was really pleased with the vibrancy and ease of use of the watercolor pencils. My only other tip is to let them dry over night and sharpen the next day. There are other ways to use them, so I’ll definitely be experimenting this year.
      Glad you liked the project. Your kids will too – they all love chameleons!

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