Ultimately, I think I find emulation projects to be more positive than negative because at least the child is learning about an artist and a specific style. . . And, well, I let them deviate in pretty much any way they want.
We did Matisse Goldfish Bowls in 1st grade this year. Our steps were thus:
1. Discuss art and artist
2. sketch as a class in crayon
3. color key elements in crayon (no fish yet)
4. paint key elements in tempera paint (no fish yet)
5. paint background with black tempera paint (no fish yet)
6. Draw fish on yellow paper and color with orange and red crayons.
7. cut out fish
8. glue fish into fishbowl
9. add orange glitter glue with paintbrushes for iridescent fish scale look
10. use oil pastel to make detail areas pop!
11. finished pieces are 12 in x 18 in