DRAWING WITH OIL PASTELS – Composition, Space

Students learn about composition and how to create the illusion of depth. They use oil pastel techniques to create a beautiful, expressive drawing.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

background contrast diminishing perspective emphasis foreground middle ground space

Materials

Oil Pastels Artist Proof from a previous lesson

Steps

DRAWING WITH OIL PASTELS – Composition, Space - Step One

Step One

Use one of your artist proof prints, or work from your photograph to draw the animal. Imagine the setting for your drawing. 

DRAWING WITH OIL PASTELS – Composition, Space - Step Two

Step Two

Add details in the foreground, middle ground and background. Remember to make people in the crowd get gradually smaller the further back they go.

DRAWING WITH OIL PASTELS – Composition, Space - Step Three

Step Three

Blend light and dark colours to give the illusion of depth. Make sure you imagine the light coming from the same direction as you add highlights.

In this picture construction paper was used to show steps in the background.

DRAWING WITH OIL PASTELS – Composition, Space - Step Four

Step Four

Apply colour in a variety of ways.

Look at the finished drawing from a bit of a distance to see it with fresh eyes. In this picture the construction paper details don't seem to work with the rest of the drawing.

DRAWING WITH OIL PASTELS – Composition, Space - Step Five

Step Five

Removing the paper and colouring the steps using oil pastel was a good solution.

Remember that it is okay to change things as you go along until you are satisfied with the final work.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a narrative drawing of an imaginary scene using oil pastel techniques;
  2. Use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis;
  3. Use diminishing perspective in a crowd scene to create the illusion of depth;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

  1. Photograph the drawings and have students create a digital class book that uses their drawings to illustrate each section. 
  2. Have students write in the voice of their animal describing life before this scene, and life as it is now.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson have students experiment with oil pastel techniques in their sketchbooks. (See Oil Pastel Techniques lesson plan.)
    Oil Pastel Techniques

  2. Download images from the internet, or find images in books or magazines of a variety of crowds.
    Crowd
    Busy Crowd
    Brueghel Crowd
    Tug of War
    Manet Crowd

  3. Have students create an edition of prints following the 'A World Without' printmaking lesson. Make sure they save some of their artist proofs.
    A World Without
    OR
    Have students find a photograph of an animal they want to draw.

Introduction

  1. Have students look at a variety of crowd pictures to find some common characteristics.
  2. Make a list of characteristics of most crowd scenes, e.g., focus on things such as colour, size, overlapping, detail.
  3. Discuss the composition of the pictures, the placement of objects to create areas of emphasis, and the use of diminishing perspective to create the illusion of depth.
  4. Introduce the challenge

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a narrative drawing of an imaginary scene using oil pastel techniques.
  2. Use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis.
  3. Use diminishing perspective in a crowd scene to create the illusion of depth.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Have students select one of the artist proofs they have left over from the 'A World Without' printmaking unit.
    A World Without
  2. Or have them work through the drawing process in the lesson 'Portrait of a Pet' found on this website to draw their animal on a piece of coloured construction paper.
    Portrait of a Pet
  3. Ask them to imagine the setting for their scene. What possible locations that include a crowd, could their animal be in?
  4. Remind them that this picture is meant to be a narrative. It has to tell a story.
  5. Encourage them to think of the kinds of details they will need to add to the composition to make an effective story.
  6. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  7. Encourage students to find source material to provide inspiration for their scene, pictures of a circus, for example.
  8. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  9. Observe students as they work. 
  10. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the drawings are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
    Look closely at the drawings.
    - Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
  2. During the discussion include references to:
    - Placement - how it has been used to create areas of emphasis
    - Diminishing perspective - how size and colour create the illusion of depth
    - Technique – how different techniques have been used to create the sense of space

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  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. (Download - NARRATIVE_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - NARRATIVE_self-assessment.pdf)