MEDIA UNDERWATER SCENE – Foreground, Middle Ground, Space

Students use coloured pencils to create an underwater scene that gives the illusion of depth and can be used as a backdrop in a stop motion animation.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Science
Visual Arts
Media Literacy
Director's Cut

Vocabulary

foreground middle ground organic shapes space

Materials

Drawing Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Coloured Pencils Pencils Erasers

Steps

MEDIA UNDERWATER SCENE – Foreground, Middle Ground, Space - Step One

Step One

  1. Lightly draw 3 horizontal guide lines across the paper to divide it into thirds.

 

MEDIA UNDERWATER SCENE – Foreground, Middle Ground, Space - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Draw a wavy line that goes along and just under the bottom guide line.
  2. Lightly draw some organic shapes for rocks and plants in this bottom section - the foreground
  3. Place them so they move your eye in and around the space.
MEDIA UNDERWATER SCENE – Foreground, Middle Ground, Space - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Draw a wavy line that goes along and just over and under the middle guide line.
  2. Draw a wavy line about 3 cm above the foreground line.
  3. Erase the guide lines.
  4. Draw a few organic shapes for rocks and plants in this section - the middle ground.
  5. Place them so they move your eye in and around the space.
  6. Draw small circles for bubbles to suggest movement.
MEDIA UNDERWATER SCENE – Foreground, Middle Ground, Space - Step Four

Step Four

SIMPLE UNDERWATER SCENE

  1. Use coloured pencils to colour the picture.
  2. Colour the foreground with the brightest colours, e.g., oranges, yellows, greens and browns to show the bottom of the sea.
  3. Use 1 or 2 colours in each section.
  4. Gradually change your drawing pressure to make the colour go from dark to light to give the illusion of depth.
  5. Let the colour of the water get lighter and lighter as you get closer to the top of the paper.

MEDIA UNDERWATER SCENE – Foreground, Middle Ground, Space - Step Five

Step Five

DETAILED UNDERWATER SCENE

  1. Draw lots of organic shapes for rocks, plants and textures. 
  2. Place them so they move your eye in and around the space.
  3. Draw small circles for bubbles to suggest movement.
  4. Colour the foreground with the brightest colours, e.g., oranges, yellows, greens and browns to show the bottom of the sea.
  5. Layer several colours in each section.
  6. Use different colours of blue for the water.
  7. Gradually change your drawing pressure to make the colour go from dark to light to give the illusion of depth.
  8. Use an eraser to remove some of the colour to show light passing through the water and highlights on the sand.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use coloured pencils to create an underwater scene that is the setting for a story;
  • divide the picture plane into foreground and middle ground;
  • use colour and placement of objects to create the illusion of depth;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

Extensions

Have students:

  • use their scenes in a stop motion animation;
  • use what they have learned about colour and space to create a large mural that draws attention to their films; 
  • organize a film festival to share their work with other students in the school.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson have students:
    - Write an imaginary story that takes place under the sea. Guide them to identify the details of the setting for their story.
  2. Prior to this lesson introduce or review the concept of dividing the picture plane into foreground and middle ground. 
  3. Download and display the Space poster available on this website.
  4. Download an underwater scene from the Internet, for example, The Middle.

Introduction

  1. View and discuss an underwater image, for example, The Middle.
  2. Identify the foreground and middle ground and take note of the changes in colour as things recede.
  3. Guide students to see the division of space and things that create the illusion of depth, for example,
    - objects higher on the picture plane appear to be further away than those in the middle ground and foreground
    - objects in the distance appear to be smaller than those in the middle ground and foreground
    - colours in the distance appear to be paler and duller than those in the middle ground and foreground
    - details and colours in the foreground are brighter and sharper than those in the middle ground and background
    - cast shadows make objects seem 3-dimensional
  4. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Use coloured pencils to create an underwater scene that is the setting for a story.
  2. Divide the picture plane into foreground and middle ground.
  3. Use colour and placement of objects to create the illusion of depth.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity. 
  5. Support your with evidence found in the artworks.

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 an underwater scene with foreground and middle ground 
    - used size of objects to show depth
    - used placement of objects to show depth
    - used colour to show depth
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why.
    Talk about:
    - how the works are similar yet different
    - how colour affects the sense of space
    - how placement and size of objects in the picture plane tricks the eye
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students 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 artworks – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – UnderwaterScene_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – UnderwaterScene_self-assessment.pdf)