Watercolor City Skylines

Project Title: Watercolor City Skylines
Description: Students will learn the order of the color wheel and create a rainbow skyline. Then they will use black paper to make a city silhouette skyline.
Author: Dayna Ensminger
Grade level or Target Age Range: Elementary Level, ages 8+

Historical Art Examples or References: Images of skylines, images of blended sunsets or sunrises
Vocabulary: Painting, watercolors, blend, color wheel, horizon, horizontal, silhouette, skyline
Materials: Watercolor paper 9×12, watercolor paint, containers for water, brushes, pencils, scissors, gluesticks, silver Sharpies or white colored pencil


1. Students will be asked to reflect on where they live- the city of Philadelphia. We will talk about sunrises, sunsets, silhouettes, and skylines. Teacher example will show a skyline in rainbow order, which is also the color wheel.

2. Students will be shown ‘wet on wet’ and ‘wet on dry’ techniques for painting.

3. Students will use watercolors to paint horizontally in rainbow order. Typically starting with red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.  They will be reminded to use water to help spread and blend the paint.

4. If they finish the rainbow order and still have the white of their paper left, they should start back again at red and continue the pattern until they reach the bottom (or close to the bottom) of their papers.

5. While background papers are drying, students will draw buildings onto black paper. They can keep their buildings connected or draw separate rectangles and squares.

6. Cut out the buildings.

7. Glue to bottom of artwork.

8. Use silver Sharpies or white pencils to create windows and doors on the black paper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *