Five in a Row Art in Five Minutes

The last couple of weeks we’ve been enjoying Lentil in our Five in a Row studies. So, when Nana stopped by for a visit, we asked if there was some sort of art activity she might be able to show us. We consulted the Five in a Row book and discussed how the illustrations were not pencil but charcoal. We didn’t have any charcoal, so we turned to the familiar chalk pastel. A black chalk pastel stick.

As suggested in Five in a Row, Volume 1, we focused on shadows and facial expressions. Nana showed us very simply…

…how to first draw an oval for a face. Two round dots turned the same direction for eyes.

Some half circles on each side of the head for ears. Then nice straight lines for hair – be sure to add Lentil’s cow lick! Then, decide which direction the sun is shining in your picture. Your shadows should be on the opposite side of Lentil’s face.

Shading and Shadows

Take your already smudged finger and just gently create some shadows.

Facial Expressions

We also talked about all the different expressions throughout the book. There was Colonel Carter, disappointed when the band wasn’t able to welcome him. There was Old Sneep – always frowning and grumbly. Lentil’s surprised face! Then there were all the happy faces of the townspeople when Colonel Carter said he would build a new hospital.

Our finished chalk pastel Lentil pictures

The actual art time only took about five minutes!

More art fun with children’s books:


  • A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (over 47 lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials. A simple set is very affordable. Nana also teaches acrylic lessons.
  • The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.

Which expression will you make?



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    Even though my kids are too old for FIAR, I am adding some of the books and projects to my younger two’s activities as a supplement because it gives them a welcome break. Picture books are great, even for older kids. The art projects you have been offering lately will fit perfectly with this plan. You and Nana always seem to come to the rescue at the perfect time. {hugs}

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