Watercolor Ocean Art Inspired by Here We Are

Oliver Jeffers’ new book, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, is available today. Penguin Young Readers and Philomel Books sent us a copy for review. We were inspired to create watercolor ocean art. It’s a process driven art project that’s great for all ages. (All 3 of my kids loved it.) I get commissions for purchases made through the affiliate links in this post. 

Create watercolor ocean art inspired by Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers.

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth is a brand new picture book by Oliver Jeffers. Jeffers wrote the story for his son as he noticed he was introducing him to everything around them. The story begins with our place in the solar system and an introduction to our planet Earth. We learn about the land and water that makes up Earth as well as all of the people that inhabit it. Like many of Jeffers books, there’s a subtle environmental undertone with a reminder to take care of our planet and be kind to everyone living on it.

Check out the book trailer below to get a feel for the book.

Watercolor Ocean Art

The illustrations in Here We Are are just gorgeous. Jeffers has a way of transporting you to each scene. Since Jeffers used watercolors for his book, I wanted to do the same for our ocean art. I set out some liquid watercolors for my three kids (ages ~8, 3.5, and 19 months). We used blue, magenta, and a mixture of the two. (I left out yellow, so we wouldn’t get brown ocean from the younger two.)

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Aiden took care to choose his colors and purposefully craft his ocean background. Lily used all three colors and soaked her watercolor paper. She ended up with a lovely dark purple. Elon wanted to use a green crayon along with the watercolors. He eventually covered the paper with color.

Next, we sprinkled salt onto the three watercolor pictures. I let each child decide how much to sprinkle on. I held the salt in my hand for toddler Elon and let him sprinkle it onto his paper. It’s not a good idea to let kids eat salt because too much can be harmful. Be sure to supervise this step.

After the watercolor art dried, we ended up with three lovely ocean backgrounds.

Lily’s dark purple background turned into this cool ocean scene with a lot of movement. She had a big puddle of watercolor in the middle of the paper, so adding salt everywhere gave it this cool effect.

Combine watercolors and salt to create a lovely ocean background.

Aiden’s salt application was different and he didn’t have nearly as much watercolor on his page. The result was this cool ocean scene. Aiden says the white spots made by the salt look like coral.

Combine watercolors and salt to create a lovely ocean background.

To finish Elon’s picture, he used stickers. Adding fish and sharks randomly to the page made for a great piece of toddler art.

Use a simple watercolor art technique to create ocean art with toddlers.

Aiden drew a few ocean animals and a boat to complete his picture. He also wanted some sticker sharks on his painting.

Create watercolor ocean art inspired by Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers.

Lily had me draw a few different things for her. She colored them, glued them down, and added glitter to her ocean art. A penguin sticker finished off her creation.

Create watercolor ocean art inspired by Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers.

I just love the way these turned out. The kids are pleased as well. Elon keeps coming back to his saying “fish, fish, fish” in his cute little toddler way.

More Watercolor Art

If you love the watercolor and salt technique or are looking for another toddler art project idea, check out our penguin painting for toddlers.

Toddlers and preschoolers will love painting penguins with this combination of fun art techniques.

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