POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume

Students draw each other in costumes using oil pastel. They complete the drawings using resist technique.

Required Time

150 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 8


Art Techniques
Language Arts
Visual Arts


background colour detail figure foreground line middle ground pattern portrait shape wash


Paint Brushes A variety of costumes, hats and props Painting Paper 45 cm x 60 cm Watercolour Paints Washable Paint Oil Pastels

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POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step One

Step One

Draw the people first. Remember to look closely at the models as you draw the way you did when doing contour drawing in your sketchbook.

POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Two

Step Two

Add lots of details to create the story. Remember to use some of the oil pastel techniques you learned by experimenting.  

POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Three

Step Three

Choose the colour of paint you want to use for the resist and paint it over the surface.

POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Four

Step Four

Use more than one colour if you wish.

POSERS – Drawing Models in Costume - Step Five

Step Five

View the picture from a distance to see it with fresh eyes.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Use the elements and principles of art to create a drawing that tells a story;
  2. Use oil pastel and resist techniques to provide detail and variety;
  3. Respond to the work of their peers; and
  4. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


  1. Display the paintings so that everyone can see them.
  2. Have students write a story to go with one of the paintings – not necessarily their own.
  3. When all the stories are complete share them with the class.
  4. Have students connect the story with the painting.
  5. Create a digital class book using the stories and photographs of the paintings. Include statements by the artists and authors.


This project requires students to draw from observation and then to use their imagination to create a picture that tells a story. Students work in groups. First they choose two people to model for the drawing. As a group they decide what the models will wear and what they will be doing. They set up the scene and begin to draw the figures. When the main composition has been recorded and the details blocked in, two new students model for the children who were being models first. After all the basic drawings have been completed, the models stop and the students work to complete their drawings adding colour and further detail from their imagination and making sure to leave some of the paper blank. The resist technique using either watercolour or diluted washable paint is used to complete the artwork. 

  1. This lesson is an excellent way for students to apply what they have learned in the following lessons:
    WILLIAM KURELEK – Looking at Art/Drawing from Memory
    DRAWING TECHNIQUES - Training the eye to see
    EXPERIMENTING WITH OIL PASTEL – Working on White Paper  
  2. Gather a variety of old clothes, hats, costumes and props.
  3. Place students in 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. Create a composition containing two people.
  2. Show the relationship between the two people.
  3. Show detail and pattern using oil pastel techniques.
  4. Make the composition fill the page.
  5. Use resist technique to finish the artwork.
  6. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Divide students into three or four groups. Two students in each group will model at one time while the others draw. Each group decides what the models will wear, and what props they will use. 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. For example, “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.
  2. 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. After all the basic drawings have been completed, the models stop and the students work to complete their drawings, adding colour and further detail from their imagination.
  3. Encourage them to have a story in mind as they add details.
  4. 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?
  5. Remind students to leave some of the paper blank because of the wash technique.
  6. Once all the details have been added using oil pastel students apply a light wash of diluted watercolor, or washable paint over the surface. They may choose to use more than one colour for the wash.


  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 work.


  1. Observe students as they work. Use the tracking sheet to note progress while students are working. (Downloads – POSERS_observation.pdf)
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works.
  3. Have students use the self-assessment form to reflect on their learning. (Downloads – POSERS_assessment.pdf)