MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon

Students work in groups of three to create a miniature landscape triptych using stamper markers and coloured pencils. 

Required Time

40 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 4


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour contrast horizon landscape miniature repetition shape stamp triptych


Scissors Glue Coloured Pencils Construction Paper Stamper Markers White Paper 22.8 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")


MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon - Step One

Step One

  1. Work with your partners to plan your landscapes. Make sure the horizon lines will line up from one picture to the next. 
  2. Decide what details you will add to your part of the scene. 
  3. Each person in your group choose one different object as the main focus for your picture, for example, a cloud; a tree; a house.
  4. Use Crayola stamper markers to add colour and detail to your landscape.
MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use different Crayola stamper markers to create different objects, such as the blue paw prints for clouds.
MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Check with your partners to see how your horizon lines and colours are lining up.
MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use coloured pencils to make your objects stand out. 
MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Once you have each finished your piece of the triptych, place the drawings in the correct order to make a complete landscape with a flowing horizon line.
MINIATURE TRIPTYCH – Colour, Shape, Horizon - Step Six

Step Six

  1. When you are sure your group is finished, glue your triptych onto a piece of contrasting construction paper about 11 cm x 30 cm (4.5" x 12").
  2. Remember to glue the three sections in the correct order. 
  3. Stand back and view your triptych with fresh eyes.
  4. Work together to create a short story using the triptych to inspire a beginningmiddle and end of your tale. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a miniature landscape triptych using one horizon line that connects three individual drawings; 
  2. Work cooperatively with two other people to create one artwork;
  3. Use repetition of colour and shape to create contrast;
  4. Create a story with a beginning, middle and end inspired by the landscape; and
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.



Have students participate in another cooperative art activity, for example:

  1. Draw a variety of horizontal lines on paper 9 cm x 15 cm.
  2. One strip will be shared by three students. Make sure there are a variety of horizon curves so that each triptych will be unique. 
  3. Cut the papers into thirds.
  4. Randomly hand out one piece of paper per student.
  5. Have students draw their own picture using the horizon line and whatever natural and other objects they want to use. Use watercolour paints and markers to complete the pictures. A cotton-tip or end of a small pencil eraser could be used to paint dots.
  6. Once all the pictures are complete, have students find two other pictures that would work with theirs to create a unique landscape. Ask them to work with their peers to combine the pictures into a triptych.
  7. Have students explain why they chose the pictures they did.


  1. Cut white paper into strips 9 cm x 27 cm (4" x 9"). Three students will share one piece of this paper.
  2. Use a pencil to draw a different wavy horizontal line across the length of each of the strips of paper. 
  3. Cut each strip of paper into thirds resulting in three 9 cm x 9 cm (4"x 4") squares. These squares will create the triptych.
  4. Paper clip the three squares together.
  5. Place students into groups of three.
  6. Download landscape images from the Internet, for example,
    Horizon Line
    Horizon 2
    Horizon 3
  7. Gather and make available books with landscape illustrations, for example, The Snail and the Whale, by Julia Donaldson; M Is For Maple: A Canadian Alphabet, by Michael Ulmer; Canada in Colours, by Per-Henrik Gürth.


  1. Review or introduce the idea of horizon line in art.
  2. View some images and have students point out the horizon lines.
  3. Discuss and make a chart paper list of the objects that might be in a landscape, for example, trees, flowers, houses, clouds.
  4. Demonstrate how the horizon line can be drawn across the 27 cm (9") strip of paper.
  5. Divide the paper into thirds.
  6. Cut the paper and place the pieces together to show the horizon line is still intact.
  7. Explain that a picture with 3 parts that is meant to be seen as one whole is called a triptych.
  8. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a miniature landscape triptych using one horizon line that connects three individual drawings. 
  2. Work cooperatively with two other people to create one artwork.
  3. Use repetition of colour and shape to create contrast.
  4. Create a story with a beginning, middle and end inspired by your landscape.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students. For example,
    - horizon line connects all 3 drawings
    - colour and shape create contrast
    - pictures flow together to make one landscape
    - story has a clear beginning, middle and end
  3. Demonstrate how to use the stampers to create an outline of the horizon, and other objects. 
  4. Demonstrate how the coloured pencils can be used to highlight the landscape and create contrast. 
  5. Give students some time to discuss how they will connect the horizon lines and what details they will include.
  6. Ask each student to choose one object as the main focus for their picture, for example, a cloud, a tree, a house.
  7. Guide students through the stages of the lesson plan.
  8. Observe students as they work.
  9. Provide students with individual assistance and encouragement.
  10. Remind students to have a clear beginning, middle and ending for their story.


  1. Once all the triptychs are finished display them in an area for all students to see.
  2. Have students stand in their group of three, next to their triptych, and take turns telling their story. 
  3. When everyone has had their time to share ask questions such as:
    - How are the horizon lines alike?
    - How did each group use colour to show the horizon line?
    - How are the objects in the pictures different or the same in size and colour.
    - Do you see how any of the triptych sections could fit together to continue your story? 
  4. After all the triptych stories have been shared connect all triptychs to make one long strip that demonstrates how the horizon line moves throughout the landscape.


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