If you can't catch them, draw them!
Let's tap back into that childhood wonder of catching lightening bugs on a warm summer evening and capture the feelings with paint and paper!
This Wonder Wednesday 123, we're making a fun watercolor slide painting that allows your painted firefly to flicker.
If you missed last week's post on what fireflies have to do with fall, be sure to click the link below in the "Seeds to Sprout" section to learn a bunch of fun facts all about how amazing fireflies are and why we're celebrating them this fall!
Reason 1: October is when you can find their glowing larva among the leaf litter.
What? Glowing larva?! I know! I've never seen them either! One of us has to find these little glow larva and share the experience!
Protect the edges
This fall, as you rake up fallen leaves, remember to leave the edges of cultivated land in peace as much as possible. Especially if it's an area beneath where you see fireflies fly in summer.
Within the fallen leaves, grass clippings, and soil is where the eggs and larva of the fireflies lie.
Now, are you ready to paint your own flickering firefly?
In a way that I can't quite put my finger on, this project reminds me of cut and paste projects I did in elementary school, but I don't have a specific memory. Either way, it's a fun project that adds a bit of interactive whimsy to a regular nature journal page.
Wonder Wednesday 123: Paint a Flickering Firefly
Watercolor or mixed media paper
Pencil & eraser
Xacto knife (or other precision utility cutting tool)
Print out of the firefly drawing pdf on cardstock - Click here to download
color pencils, markers, or any other coloring tool
If you want to trace, or use the firefly outline drawing pdf, print it out onto card stock. You will need to print 3 copies if coloring right on the printed page.
Optional - Glue this image into a journal if you like.
1. Draw the firefly from the pdf line drawing reference onto paper or into a journal. (Or prepare your pdf version.)
2. Paint your firefly - check the first post in this series (Fall Fireflies) for photo references of fireflies for the colors, search your own, or use my images as samples.
You can even use iridescent paint for the wings if you like.
3. On a separate slip of paper, Draw and Paint 2 abdomens that are the exact size and shape of your firefly.
4. Then, Paint 2 more abdomens: Paint both abdomens the colors you painted the original lantern/abdomen on your full firefly image.
A. Leave one alone. This represents the "off", resting natural color of the abdomen/lantern.
Leave white space around this abdomen.
B. Over the other, Paint a glowing translucent greenish-yellow color covering the abdomen/lantern. Expanding the glow beyond the body into a surrounding "glow zone". This represents "on", when the firefly lights up.
5. Once your painted firefly is dry, use the knife to cut out some glow zone light arcs from around the Lantern part of the firefly's abdomen.
6. Now, Carefully cut out a few segments of the firefly's Lantern.
7. Go back to your 2 separate abdomen paintings, once dry, use scissors to cut them out.
8. Cut a strip of the paper the same height as your abdomens, about as long as your page is wide.
9. Glue the abdomens onto one end of the strip (right or left side depends on your page orientation).
10. Use the blade to cut a line in the firefly painting to the side of the insect's body. This cut should be just slightly longer than the height of your strip.
11. Insert the strip through the backside of your page with the abdomens facing toward the back of the firefly illustration page.
12. With your painting facing forward, slide the strip back and forth to make your firefly flicker off...
13. And flicker on!
Where could you paint this firefly, and would you make it very large?
Share in the comments below!
Share images of your flickering firefly paintings on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout
Check out part 1 of this fall firefly series for so many amazing firefly facts!
Draw a Corpse Flower
Looking for more Halloween festive drawing fun? Learn about and draw the stinky corpse flower in this Wonder Wednesday 86 project! & luckily your drawing won't smell like this flower!
This is one of the very first Wonder Wednesday posts from the first year of Wings, Worms, and Wonder! And oldie but goody on the nature roots of Halloween 🙂