PICTURE A STORY – Colour Mixing, Line, Detail

Students use a permanent marker and acrylic paint on vinyl to create a picture that tells a story.

Required Time

40 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour line primary colours tint


Crayola Acrylic Paint Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Permanent Markers Crayola Glue Sticks Vinyl - 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm (12" x 12") - 1 per student Water Containers Plastic Container Lids for Palettes Paper Towels White Bristol Board - 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm - 1 per student

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PICTURE A STORY – Colour Mixing, Line, Detail - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw your picture with permanent markers.
  2. Add lots of details.
  3. Let the details tell the story.
PICTURE A STORY – Colour Mixing, Line, Detail - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Place the vinyl with the marker side down.
  2. Use acrylic paint on the back of the vinyl to add colour.
  3. Paint the shapes you have drawn with lots of different colours.
  4. Mix colours together to make new colours, for example:
    - add white to any colour to make it lighter
    - add blue to yellow to make green
    - add red to blue to make purple
    - add yellow to red to make orange
    - add white to orange to make peach
PICTURE A STORY – Colour Mixing, Line, Detail - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Fill your picture with lots of colours.
PICTURE A STORY – Colour Mixing, Line, Detail - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Turn the vinyl over to see your finished picture.
  2. Place it on a piece of white Bristol board.
  3. Glue the edges to keep it in place.
  4. use your picture to tell your story, for example:
      It was a rainy day. Then the sun came out.
      The Easter bunny hid lots of eggs.
      I found the eggs in the tall grass.


Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a picture that tells a story using marker and acrylic paint;
  • use line and colour to add details that help tell their story;
  • use primary colours to mix new colours;
  • work independently and self-regulate;
  • share their ideas with peers; 
  • demonstrate a sense of accomplishment.


Have students:

  • explore colour mixing with washable paint using the Exploring Washable Paint lesson plan available on this website;
  • think up fancy names for the colours and textures they created with their paints;
  • share their ideas with each other.


  1. Gather, and make available a variety of wordless picture books, for example, Journey, by Aaron Becker; Sidewalk Flowers, by JonArno Lawson, and Sydney Smith; I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness, by Kerascoët; A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka; and Bee & Me, by Alison Jay. 
  2. Set up a painting centre with paint brushes; permanent markers; pieces of vinyl 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm; Bristol board 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm; acrylic paint; glue sticks; plastic lids about 16 cm in diameter; water containers; and paper towels. (NOTE: Clear vinyl can be purchased as table cloths, and by the metre in fabric stores such as Fabricland, or you could use overhead transparencies.)
  3. Provide time for students to make up their own stories about things that interest them. 


  1. Conduct a read aloud with a story such as Bee & Me, by Alison Jay.
  2. Discuss how the pictures are able to tell the story without any words.
  3. Ask students to think about what details they would need to include to tell their own story with pictures.
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use your own ideas to make a picture that tells a story.
  2. Add lots of details to help tell your story.
  3. Mix lots of new colours.
  4. Share your ideas with others.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that students understand the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I:
    - use my own ideas to make my picture
    - mix lots of new colours
    - add details to my picture
    - explain how I made my picture
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Gather students to view and discuss their art. Ask students to share:
    - their stories
    - how the details help tell the story
    - what they like best about their pictures
  2. Display all the pictures in the classroom.
  3. Encourage students to view the pictures and notice how they are the same, and how they are different.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds picture 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 - PictureStory_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - PictureStory_self-assessment)