POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume

Students work in small groups to choose 2 models for their group. They select costumes for the models to wear and then ask them to pose in a way that can be interpreted as a story. The rest of the group draws the figures using oil pastels and then adds details with a story from their own imagination in mind. The artwork is finished using resist technique and students share their stories. 

Required Time

150 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


background colour detail figure foreground line middle ground


Crayola Oil Pastels - 16 Count Crayola Watercolour Paints - 8 Count Crayola Paint Brushes - 4 Pack Painting Paper - 48 cm x 60 cm (18" x 24") A Variety of Costumes, Hats and Props

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POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw the people first.
  2. Remember to look closely at the model and draw what you see.
    - eyes up - look at the model - eyes down - look at the paper every few seconds
  3. Look at the reltionship between the 2 models.
POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Add lots of details to create a story.
  2. Use a variety of oil pastel techniques.
  3. Leave some of the paper blank so the resist technique will be effective.
POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Choose 1 or more colours of watery paint to use for your resist.
  2. Paint the watery colours directly over the drawing.
  3. The oil pastels will show through the paint.
  4. The colours will unify the painting.
POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Four

Step Four

  1. view your painting with fresh eyes.
    ​- Who are these people?
    - Do they know each other or are they strangers?
    - Where are they?
    - What happened just before this scene?
    - What is happening now?
    - What are they thinking?
    - What’s going to happen next?
  2. How did you tell your story using visual elements?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use their imagination to create a drawing that tells a story;
  • use oil pastel and resist techniques to create detail and variety;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • view all the paintings as a group; 
  • choose one of the paintings – not necessarily their own;
  • write a story to go with the painting they chose;
  • share their stories with the class without sharing which paining it goes with;
  • connect the story with the painting;
  • explain why they think the story connects with the painting;
  • create a digital class book using the stories and photographs of the paintings;
  • include statements by the artists and authors;
  • share their class book with others.


  1. Prior to this lesson have students explore some of the following techniques lessons available on this website.
    William Kurelek 
    Exploring Oil Pastel - Resist
    Exploring Oil Pastel - White Paper
  2. Gather a variety of old clothes, hats, costumes and props.
  3. Place students into groups of about 6.


  1. Remind students of everything they have learned about pictures that tell stories, drawing from observation and oil pastel techniques. 
    In this challenge you’re going to combine concentration and careful looking with your knowledge of oil pastel techniques, and you’re going to have a chance to create a scene in the way that William Kurelek did.
  2. Discuss how they will decide on their scene and choose costumes.
  3. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Use your imagination to create a drawing that tells a story.
  2. Draw 2 people from observation.
  3. Show the relationship between the two people.
  4. Use oil pastel and resist techniques to create detail and unity;
  5. Make the composition fill the page.
  6. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

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:
    - created a scene that tells a story
    - drawn 2 people from observation
    - shown the relationship between the 2 people
    - used oil pastel techniques to create details 
    - made the composition fill the page
    - used resist technique to unify the drawing
    - kept the artwork in good condition
  3. Have each small group choose two students to model at one time while the others draw.
    - Ask each group to decide what the models will wear, and what props they will use.
    - Explain that the models must agree.
    - Remind them to think of what their models will be doing.
    - Once the scene is set help the drawers look at the relationship between the figures, e.g., “The top of Jenny’s head comes to Naomi’s shoulder.” 
    - Remind them to look at the models…eyes up... and then at their paper … eyes down… repeatedly as they draw the composition.
    - Demonstrate how to lightly block in the general placement of figures before they begin to draw detail.
  4. When the main composition has been recorded and the details blocked in, have two new students model for the students who were being models first.
  5. After all the basic drawings have been completed, have the models stop, and have the students work to complete their drawings, adding colour and further detail from their imagination.
  6. Encourage them to have a story in mind as they add details.
  7. Get them to ask themselves questions about what is going on in their picture, for example,
    Who are these people?
    Do they know each other or are they strangers?
    Where are they?
    What happened just before this scene?
    What is happening now?
    What are they thinking?
    What’s going to happen next?
  8. Remind students to leave some of the paper blank because of the resist technique.
  9. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  10. Observe students as they work. 
  11. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the drawings are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
    Look closely at the drawings.
    Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    Share thoughts about the work, supporting comments with evidence found in the artwork.
  2. Ask students to tell a story that they see in a painting that is not their own, and then tell what they see that makes them say that.
  3. Have the artists tell what they intended the story to be.


  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, points to areas in the drawing, 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 – Posers_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Posers_self-assessment.pdf)