ALL THOSE CRAZY LEAVES – Composition, Shape, Colour

Students use tracers to create a leaf design, colour it with erasable coloured pencils and then use the eraser to create line designs in the various shapes. 

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 8


Visual Arts



Crayola Erasable Coloured Pencils - 24 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Laminated Leaves

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ALL THOSE CRAZY LEAVES – Composition, Shape, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Trace around the outer edge of a leaf.
  2. Place a different leaf on top of part of the tracing and trace around it. 
ALL THOSE CRAZY LEAVES – Composition, Shape, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Continue to overlap leaves and trace them until you have filled the page with shapes.
  2. Choose a combination of warm and cool colours to colour in the shapes.
  3. Every time you use a colour, use it at least 3 more times in different parts of the design before changing colour.  
ALL THOSE CRAZY LEAVES – Composition, Shape, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Be sure you have put a good, solid coat of colour in each shape.  
  2. Give it a second coat if the colour is not intense.
  3. Use the eraser at the end of each pencil to erase different line patterns in each of the shapes.
ALL THOSE CRAZY LEAVES – Composition, Shape, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Look at your design with fresh eyes.
  2. What design elements do you see that move your eye in and around the picture plane?
  3. Give your design a title. 
  4. What makes this a good title for your design?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • repeat and overlap shapes to create a balanced design;
  • recognize and use warm and cool colours;
  • use colour and line to create unity and harmony in a design; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • write haikus inspired by their designs;
  • assemble, either digitally or in hard copy, all the poems and images into a class book;
  • share their class book with another class or in the library.


  1. Gather a variety of dried leaves and laminate them, or cut out cardboard leaf shapes to use as tracers.
  2. Create a partially completed design.
  3. Provide some time for students to experiment with the erasable coloured pencils in their sketchbooks or on paper


  1. Show students a partially completed example.
  2. Point out how the colours and patterns are repeated in different parts of the design.
  3. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Create a design using leaf shapes.
  2. Repeat and overlap the shapes to create a balanced design.
  3. Use warm and cool colours to fill in the shapes and create contrast and interest.
  4. Unify the design by repeating colours throughout the composition.
  5. Create line designs in the solid shapes to add variety to the design.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - used a variety of lines
    - repeated colours in different parts of the design
    - used warm and cool colours
    - created patterns by repeating lines 
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
    - Demonstrate how to begin, placing one leaf shape on the paper and tracing around it.
    - When students have worked for about 5 minutes ask them to stop and examine their design.
    - Check to see that the shapes are moving throughout the space in an interesting way.
    - When some students are ready to start colouring, stop the class and remind everyone that when they start to colour they should use both warm and cool colours.
    - Tell students to repeat the same colour at least 3 times as they fill in the shapes.
    - Let the colours move the eye throughout the composition.
    - When most students have finished colouring in their shapes demonstrate how to make erased line patterns in a shape.
    - Remind students to let the patterns lead the eye through the composition in the same way as the colour did.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  6. ​When everyone has finished their work ask them to examine their finished design thoughtfully. Let the design speak to them. What does it remind them of? How does it look when viewed from each direction? What title is perfect for it? Why?


  1. Display all the finished work as a ‘body of work’.
  2. Place the titles beside each work.
  3. Ask students to gather in front of the display and look at the works thoughtfully.
  4. Ask them to find 3 things they find interesting about any of them.
  5. During the discussion include references to:
    informal patterns that may appear creating rhythm
    contrast - how it has been used to balance the design
    movement - how colour and lines get the eye to travel through the whole space
    feelings the works evoke
    how they had to figure out some way to organize the shapes, then figure out where to put the colours so that it would be interesting, and provide little surprises to the viewer. Creating art means you have to figure out how to use things like shapes, lines, and colour and put them in some kind of order or composition.
    the style of art - abstract


  1. Observe students as they work.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – CrazyLeaves_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the Self-Assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – CrazyLeaves_self-assessment.pdf)