CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques

Students use a variety of watercolour techniques to create a city scene that can be used as the backdrop in an animated story.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 5 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Visual Arts
Media Literacy
Director's Cut

Vocabulary

balance colour contrast line repetition space watercolour paint wet on wet technique

Materials

Water Containers Table Salt Paper Towels Watercolour Paints Crayola Marker and Watercolour Paper Black Fine Line Marker

Steps

CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step One

Step One

  1. Find images of city settings to use as inspiration for your work. 
  2. Make a plan drawing of your city setting. 
  3. Remember to include details in your drawing that fit with your story. 
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use the plan drawing as a guide to draw a good version.
  2. Make changes that seem appropriate and add lots of detail.
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Before starting to paint drop a small amount of water into each colour.
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Wet an area of the composition with clear water.
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Paint into the wet paper with some colour.
    - this is the wet on wet technique
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Continue to fill in areas of the picture using wet on wet technique.
  2. Sprinkle some salt into wet areas.
  3. Play with the colours and water to get a variety of effects.
  4. Allow the paper to dry.
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use a fine line marker to outline the details.
CITY SETTING – Experimental Watercolour Techniques - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use your scene as the backdrop for an animated video.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a city scene that is the setting for a story;
  2. Use a variety of watercolour techniques to add variety to their work;
  3. Use line to create the illusion of depth and visual rhythm;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

Have students:

  1. Use their scenes in an animated video.
  2. Use this technique to create a travel brochure that includes descriptions of the location and local attractions.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson have students:
    - Write an imaginary story that takes place in a city. Guide them to identify the details of the setting for their story.
    - Experiment with watercolour techniques on small pieces of paper. 
  2. Gather and display a variety of picture books for inspiration, for example, Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light; Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo; Art, by Patrick McDonnell; and Art & Max, by David Wiesner.
  3. Download a variety of city images from the Internet, for example,
    Toronto
    Quebec City
    Tampa
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong Street
  4. Gather plastic placemats - one for each student.
  5. Gather the required art materials and place them in baskets for easy distribution.

Introduction

  1. ​Examine several of the illustrations in the picture books and discuss how the pictures contribute to the story. Notice the use of contrast, line and detail.
  2. View several images of cities and discuss how colour creates a specific mood.
  3. Draw attention to the repeating shapes and lines in each image and discuss how this contributes to the overall feeling of being in a city.
  4. Make a list of characteristics of cities.  
  5. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a city scene that is the setting for a story.
  2. Use a variety of watercolour techniques to add variety to your work.
  3. Use line to create the illusion of depth and visual rhythm.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - composed a city scene
    - included details that go with my story
    - used line to show visual rhythm
    - used line to create the illusion of depth
    - used a variety of watercolour techniques
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Remind them to create a setting that reflects the details in their story.
  6. Encourage students to share and expand on each others' ideas as they explore the watercolours.  
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Tell each other how their picture sets the scene for their story.
    - Talk about what was difficult and what was easy for them.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the paintings – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – CITY_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – City_self-assessment.pdf)