Pathway: Mixed Media Land And City Scapes

Pathway for Years 5 & 6

Painting, Drawing, Sketchbooks

Key Concepts:

  • That artists use a variety of media often combining it in inventive ways, to capture the energy and spirit of land or city scapes.

  • That artists often work outside (plein air) so that all their senses can be used to inform the work.

  • That as artists we are able to experiment with materials, combining them to see what happens. We can feel free and safe to take creative risks, without fear of getting things “wrong”.

  • We can share our artistic discoveries with, and be inspired by each other.

  • We can use sketchbooks to focus this exploration and we do not always need to create an “end result” – sometimes the exploratory journey is more than enough. 

In this pathway children are introduced to the idea that artists don’t just work in studios – instead they get out into the world and draw and paint from life, inspired by the land and city scapes where they live. Pupils also see how artists use their creative freedom to explore ways of working which involve different materials and media. 

Pupils extend and adapt existing sketchbooks so that they can make drawings/paintings at different scales and ratios. They are enabled to take creative risks, explore and experiment, without the pressure of having to “produce” an end result. 

Pupils are given the freedom to use mixed medium in ways which suit them and their subject matter.

Graphite stick or soft B pencil, Handwriting Pen, Pastels & Chalk, Paper, (Sketchbook Making Task: Paper, string, elastic bands, glue)

Artists: Vanessa Gardiner, Shoreditch Sketcher, Kittie Jones

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

Blending pastel colours
ages 9-11

A PDF of this pathway can be found here.

Teaching Notes

Curriculum Links

Geography: Link your landscapes to your chosen topic e.g. cities in the Northern hemisphere, settlements and land use, digital mapping.

Science: Local habitat, Environmental changes.

PSHE: Responsibility to the planet, Collaboration, Peer Discussion.

I Can…

  • I have seen how artists respond to land and city scapes in various ways by using inventive mixed media combinations.

  • I have seen how artists work outside amongst the land and city scapes which inspire them, and how they use all their senses to capture the spirit of the place. I have been able to share my response to their work.

  • I can extend my sketchbook thinking creatively about how I can change the pages giving myself different sizes and shapes of paper to work on.

  • I can use my sketchbook to explore and experiment. I have taken creative risks and been able to reflect upon what worked and what didn’t work. 

  • I have continued my exploratory work outside the sketchbooks, bringing my “sketchbook way of thinking” to larger sheets of paper. 

  • I can share my journey and discoveries with others and am able to reflect upon what I have learnt.

  • I can appreciate and be inspired by the work of my classmates, and I can share my response to their work.


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft B pencils, handwriting pens, sharpies, coloured pencils, oil/chalk pastels, charcoal, water colour, acrylic paint, ink, assorted papers and envelopes, glue.


Pathway: Mixed Media Land & City Scapes

  • Aims of the Pathway

    This pathway aims to introduce pupils to working in mixed media to create land or city scapes with energy and a sense of place.

    This pathway is about experimenting and exploring. The emphasis is on creative risk taking and discovery. 

    Children are encouraged to explore the format and composition of their work, and explore lots of media combinations through exploratory work.

  • Week 1: Introduce

    Vanessa Gardiner & The Shoreditch Sketcher

    Vanessa Gardiner- Landscape Painter

    Use the free to access “Talking Points: Vanessa Gardiner” resource to introduce pupils to an artist that takes her inspiration from the landscape. 

    Compare and contrast Vanessa with the Shoreditch Sketcher via “Talking Points: The Shoreditch Sketcher” resource. 

    Piccadilly by The Shoreditch Sketcher
    Piccadilly by The Shoreditch Sketcher

    Use “Making Visual Notes” to help pupils record and reflect on the artists’ work, and identify the things which might be of interest in their own work. 

  • Week 2: Extend a Sketchbook

    Sketchbook Places & Spaces

    Making a simple folded sketchbook

    Use the “Sketchbooks Places & Spaces” resource to extend bought or made sketchbooks. 

    The idea here is to add pages of different sizes and ratios. Use cartridge paper or neutral sugar paper so that it can take a variety of media next week. 

    Make some pages which are long and thin and can fold back into the book accordian style. Make other pages fat and wide. Encourage pupils to think creatively about how they can extend their sketchbook ready for the next few weeks. 

  • Week 3 & 4 & 5: Introduce & Explore

    Be Inspired by Kittie Jones or Saoirse Morgan

    Kittie Jones

    Use the free to access “Talking Points: Kittie Jones” or the “Talking Points: Saoirse Morgan” resource to be inspired by how the artist combines different media in their work to capture the energy and spirit of place. 

    Again use the “Making Visual Notes” resource to get pupils to think about the chosen artists approach approach in sketchbooks.

  • Time to Experiment & Create

    Exploring Mixed Media

    In the Oise Valley (ca. 1878–1880) by Paul Cézanne. Original from The MET Museum.

    With the emphasis on exploration and experimentation, ensure pupils work in sketchbooks, or if it feels right towards the end of the project on larger sheets of paper, to discover how they can use different combinations of media to capture the energy and spirit of place. 

    Use the “Mixed Media Landscape Challenges” resource to inspire and enable their exploration. Allow children to take their time and give them the space to explore as many of the challenges as feels right. We recommend structuring the challenges so all pupils do the same challenge at the same time.

    Ideally pupils will be able to draw outside, in whatever your local habitat is – the school grounds, or a local park. Try to work outside for at least one session, but if this is not possible or you wish to draw from a different kind of land or city scape (for example to link in with a curriculum theme) then pupils can draw from image or film. 

    You may like to use the free to access resources below as source imagery – or find your own.  

    Drawing Source Material: Drone Footage over Urban Landscapes

    Drawing Source Material: Drone Footage over Rural Landscapes

  • Additional Inspiration

    Graphite Sketches

    drawing shedTake inspiration from the ‘Graphite Sketches‘ resource and encourage pupils to explore perspective, tone and mark-making using water-soluble graphite and brushes.

  • If you wish to extend or challenge:

    Introduction to Watercolour

    Working wet on wet

    You may wish to use the “Introduction to Watercolour” resource if you wish to steer pupils towards a final outcome using watercolour. However, we’d emphasis that this isn’t necessary and a great deal of skills will have been learnt through the above exploration. 

  • Week 6: Present & Share

    Share, Reflect, Discuss

    graphite sketch of shed

    Time to see the work which has been made, talk about intention and outcome.

    Display the work in a clear space, with sketchbooks open on desks – encouraging pupils to carefully and respectfully look in each others books. Walk around the work as if you were in a gallery. Give the work the respect it deserves. Remind the children of their hard work.

    If you have class cameras or tablets, invite the children to document their work.

    You might like to assemble any loose drawings made on sheets into a Backwards Sketchbook

    Use the resource here to help you run a class “crit”.

See How This Resource Is Used in Schools...

Year 5, Whitchurch Primary
Year 5, Whitchurch Primary
Year 5, Whitchurch Primary
Year 5, Whitchurch Primary
Year 5, Whitchurch Primary
Year 5, Whitchurch Primary
Year 5, Winslow CE School
Year 5, Winslow CE School
Year 5, Winslow CE School
Year 5, Winslow CE School
Year 5, Winslow CE School

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