EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper

Students experiment with multiple ways to blend, smudge, layer, scratch and mix colours using oil pastels on coloured construction paper. 

Required Time

40 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 10

Subject

Art Techniques
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

blend cool colours crosshatch layer oil pastel scumble sgraffito stipple warm colours

Materials

Construction Paper – 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9” X 12”) Toothpicks Paper Towel Oil Pastels

Steps

EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step One

Step One

  1. Choose one colour paper for the background.
  2. Tear small shapes of each of the other colours and glue them onto your background paper.
  3. Make sure some of the background colour is visible.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use all the colours in your oil pastel box in one way or another.
  2. Experiment with ways to apply colour and texture. 
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Three

Step Three

Applying Pressure

  1. Draw with the oil pastel and deliberately change the pressure to get different effects.
  2. Wiggle your wrist as you change the pressure.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Four

Step Four

Blending

  1. Choose two or more colours.
  2. Colour a section with the darkest colour.
  3. Colour on top of the first layer with the next lightest colour.
  4. Press hard to mix the colours … 
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Five

Step Five

… or use your finger to blend the colours together.

EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Six

Step Six

Scumbling

  1. Use the tip of the oil pastel.
  2. Draw lightly with a loose, rounded, scribbling motion.
  3. Scumble directly on the paper or lay down a base coat colour first and then scumble over it.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Seven

Step Seven

Laying Flat Colour

  1. Remove the wrapper from the oil pastel.
  2. Lay the pastel flat on the paper and move it across the surface. Change the pressure to get different effects. 
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Eight

Step Eight

Making Marks

  1. Use the tip of the oil pastel.
  2. Explore ways to make different marks. Try dots, straight, curved, hatched and scribbled marks. 
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Nine

Step Nine

Stencil

  1. Use a cut out shape or leaf as a stencil.
  2. Hold the stencil firmly in place.
  3. Colour over the edge of the stencil onto the paper, or colour on the shape and smear the pastel onto the paper with your finger.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Remove the stencil.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

Cross-Hatching

  1. Draw a series of thin lines beside each other.
  2. Draw a new set of lines on an angle over top of the first set of lines.
  3. Use the same colour for each set of lines or change colours for a different effect. 
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

Stippling

  1. Draw a series of dots beside each other.
  2. Vary the spaces between the dots to change the intensity of the colour.
  3. Draw different coloured dots among the first set to shift from one colour to the next.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

Rubbing

  1. Place paper over a textured surface.
  2. Rub with the flat side of an oil pastel.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Fourteen

Step Fourteen

Sgraffito (Scratching into the oil pastel)

  1. Apply thick layers of oil pastel.
  2. Use a toothpick or other pointed tool to scratch into the layers of oil pastel.
  3. Create a variety of patterns.
EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Fifteen

Step Fifteen

Fill the empty spaces with more colour and texture until the entire page is coloured in.

EXPLORING OIL PASTEL – Coloured Paper - Step Sixteen

Step Sixteen

Add the finished experiment sheet to your sketchbook.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create interesting effects using oil pastels in at least 10 different ways;
  2. Build on their own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas;
  3. Explain their process;
  4. Express opinions about the works; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

  1. Display large sheets of construction paper on a bulletin board and have students add to them over a few weeks until they are filled with interesting and varied oil pastel techniques.
  2. Have students label various parts of the drawings with interesting names and titles like signposts throughout the works. Ask them to explain how they came up with the names/titles.

Prepare

  1. Place students in groups so they can share the oil pastels.
  2. Spread newspaper on tables for easy clean up.
  3. Provide paper towel and toothpicks for each student/group.
  4. Make a sample.

Introduction

  1. Explain what oil pastels are – drawing tools like a crayon and chalk pastel combined. The pigment is mixed with an oil and wax binder that doesn't dry in the air. Eventually they do harden, but it takes a long time so pictures made with oil pastels always seem a bit oily to touch. Oil pastels can be used in a lot of different ways.
  2. Ask how many students have used oil pastels before, and how they have used them. 
  3. If students have experience with oil pastels ask them to demonstrate a technique they have learned.
  4. Explain that today's class is for experimenting with the oil pastels so students will have an idea how to get the most out of them. It's a time to play with ideas and see what happens.
  5. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create interesting effects using oil pastels in at least 10 different ways.
  2. Push yourself to generate new ideas.
  3. Fill the entire page with colour and techniques.
  4. Explain your process.
  5. Express opinions about your own and others' works. 
  6. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Show your sample and explain the challenge. 
  2. Demonstrate each of the techniques in this lesson plan, OR use the Steps portion of the lesson plan as a guide for students to refer to as they work through their experiments.
  3. Encourage them to work with colour combinations and textures to get unique effects. 

Sharing

  1. Have students work in pairs or small groups. Ask them to:
    Compare the experiments and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    Consider how doing these experiments might help them if they were creating a picture

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work. Ask questions about process and discoveries. 

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