INSPIRED BY TODD PARR – Colour, Geometric Shapes, Pattern

Students examine the geometric shapes in Todd Parr's illustrations and use his work as inspiration for their own marker drawings of people.

Required Time

30 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 2


Language Arts
Visual Arts



Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Broad Line Markers - Black Crayola Fine Line Markers

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INSPIRED BY TODD PARR – Colour, Geometric Shapes, Pattern - Step One

Step One

  1. Look at Todd Parr's pictures.
    - What geometric shapes does he use?
    - What kinds of colours does he use?
    - What do you notice about all his pictures?
  2. Draw a person the way Todd Parr does.
  3. Draw the outline of your person with a black marker.
  4. Start with a circle for the head.
  5. Use other geometric shapes for the rest of the body.
    - rectangles
    - trapezoids
    - squares
INSPIRED BY TODD PARR – Colour, Geometric Shapes, Pattern - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Add a pattern to the clothes.
INSPIRED BY TODD PARR – Colour, Geometric Shapes, Pattern - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use fine line markers to colour your person.
INSPIRED BY TODD PARR – Colour, Geometric Shapes, Pattern - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Compare your drawing with one of Todd Parr's.
  2. How are they the same?
  3. How are they different?
  4. How many shapes did you use?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a drawing in the style of Todd Parr;
  • identify and use geometric shapes;
  • create a pattern;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • explain the rule for their pattern.



Have students:

  • draw and cut out construction paper geometric shapes;
  • use the cut-out geometric shapes to create a picture of different objects;
  • explain how they made their picture.


  1. Download and display the Colour and Shape posters  available on this website.
  2. Gather and make available picture books about patterns, for example, Pattern Fish, by Trudy Harris; Pattern Bugs, by Trudy Harris; Math Counts: Pattern, by Henry Arthur Pluckrose; A-B-A-B-A―a Book of Pattern Play, by Brian P. Cleary, and Brian Gable; and Teddy Bear Patterns, by Barbara Barbieri McGrath.
  3. Review or teach simple patterns and how to identify them – A-B, A-A-B.
  4. Gather and make available books by Todd Parr, for example, It's Okay To Be Different; The Family Book; The Thankful Book; It's Okay to Make Mistakes; and The Kindness Book.
  5. Prior to this lesson have students explore geometric shapes using the Exploring Geometric Shapes worksheet. (Downloads - GeometricShapes.pdf)


  1. Conduct a read-aloud using one of the Todd Parr books, for example It's Okay To Be Different.
  2. View and discuss the illustrations of people. 
    - What geometric shapes does he use?
    - What kinds of colours does he use?
    - What do you notice about all his pictures?
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Draw a person the way Todd Parr does.
  2. Use different geometric shapes to make your drawing.
  3. Include a pattern on part of the clothes.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Explain the rule for your pattern.

The Process

  1. Make sure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - drawn a person the way Todd Parr does
    - used geometric shapes in my drawing
    - created a pattern on the clothes
    - explained the rule for my pattern
    - used bold colours 
    - outlined the person with black marker
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide the students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud using a different Todd Parr book such as the Kindness Book to discuss and observe his use of shapes to illustrate the story.
  2. Have students share their completed drawings with a partner. Ask them to share:
    What they like about the drawings.
    - Two things that are the same about their drawings. 
    - Two things that are different about their drawings. 
    - What they like best about their drawings
  3. Have the partners create a short story using both drawings as the main characters.
  4. Remind them that every story has a beginningmiddle and end.
  5. Invite several pairs to share their stories with the class.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their drawings – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds drawing to the side, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - ToddParr_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students in grades 1 and 2 write a reflection that includes things such as:
    - How they made their drawing.
    - How their drawing is similar to Todd Parr's drawings.
    - What they like best about their drawing.