This project is a great introduction to line, shape and color theory. I’ve found it to be a fun alternative to traditional line drawing assignments and color wheels. Best of all, with just a few small alterations, it can be engaging for many different ages and experience levels!
After giving the class a brief introduction to cool and warm colors, each student will receive a print-out which contains fraction of a larger image (loosely based on Van Gogh’s sunflowers.) The compositions are already broken up into warm and cool shapes. Students can work directly on the printed page or transfer/draw the image onto a fresh work surface. Each shape has been labeled with a “W” for warm or a “C” for cool.
I like to encourage my students to fill in each shape with a unique pattern, drawing or design- but it is required that they adhere to warm or cool colors, as indicated by the letter in each shape. This isn’t just a “paint-by-numbers” project, though! Each student works to create their own expressive, abstract artwork. By enlarging the image to an abstracted scale, the students are able to focus on their own unique mark-making styles. Then, at the end of the project, comes the big reveal; the students work together to arrange their artworks like puzzle pieces and discover the full image.
The file includes:
- a print-ready PDF which is scaled to accommodate 16 students, but can be printed multiple times for larger class sizes.
- Written instructions teachers, with images and a cheat sheet for the final assemblage.
- Student prompt and instructions.
- a color theory starter sheet, which breaks down the color wheel into warm vs. cool hues and gives a brief history of color theory.
This project can be adapted for many different mediums and experience levels:
-Use graphite transfer paper or a projector to transfer the image onto canvas, for painting classes.
-Try a digital approach to this assignment by emailing each student their PDF and asking them to complete the project in Adobe Illustrator or a comparable program.
- Use white transfer paper and trace the template onto black construction paper for dramatic contrast against pastels or colored pencils.