This resource was contributed by Melissa Pierce Murray  working with teenagers aged 12 to 16 from AccessArt’s Experimental Drawing Class who meet weekly at Cambridge ArtWorks during term times.

During Melissa’s sessions teenagers learn a vast spectrum of creative processes and skills and are encouraged to find their own voice to express themselves individually as artists.

The theme of this class was Layers.


I began by introducing the idea of a Palimpsest – a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing or marks have been recorded. It is something that has been reused or altered but still retains visible traces of its earlier form. Palimpsests bear traces of histories, thoughts, time and imagery.


To work with this idea, I brought in layers of acetate, slightly rough on one side, making it a good drawing surface.  I provided graphite and coloured pencils and markers, watercolour paints and coloured tape.  As always, during the class I encourage the teens to develop their work according to their own interests, and in this post you will see a diversity of interpretations of the initial idea.

Some of the teens began by tracing drawings across multiple sheets of acetate, while others began contrasting graphite, markers coloured pencils and watercolour to build up layered drawings.

Sheets of Acetate


Tracing Drawings

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AccessArt is a UK Charity and we believe everyone has the right to be creative. AccessArt provides inspiration to help us all reach our creative potential.