Pathway: Drawing and Making Inspired by Maurice Sendak

To help teachers navigate AccessArt resources, and to build an understanding of some of our key approaches to enabling creativity, AccessArt is creating a series of “pathways” around themes and topics which can be used in schools. See the pathways as steeping stones to help you create exciting creative learning journeys.

If you use our resources in schools please do tag @accessart (Facebook and Twitter) and @accessartorguk (Instagram) with any outcomes – we always love to see them! Any questions pls email

This pathway provides a framework for teachers to enable pupils to create their own work in a variety of media, in response to the work of an author/illustrator (in this case Maurice Sendak).

The resources below can be used with children aged 7 to 11 (older KS 1 children and KS 2 children).

The project explores: Mark making with pen, pencil and ink, making a shared drawing, colour mixing (soft pastels), making sculpture (plastic bags, paper, wire, modroc) and collage.

Themes explored include narrative, landscape and character and visual literacy skills when looking at an artists work. 

As with all AccessArt approaches, the emphasis is on a journey of building independent learning through lots of experimentation and creative risk taking, and balances sketchbook and exploratory work with high quality and varied final outcomes. 

The pathway can be condensed or expanded (steps can be missed out for a smaller project), but on average will take 6-10 weeks. If time is limited or the children are less experienced shrink the project to fit. 


Before you Start: Teacher CPD

Journeyful Teaching & Learning

This pathway illustrates how important it is to take a “journeyful” approach to facilitating art. Read the Teaching for the Journey and not the Outcome resource here to understand more about why this approach is important. 

Start Your Journey!


Step 1. Observational Drawing & Mark Making

Be inspired by the mark making of Maurice Sendak and apply it to observational drawings of the children’s own toys in the Drawing Soft Toys Inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak resource.

By the end of this session children will have practised observational skills, explore mark-making (both their own and that of the artist) and produced one or more drawings of their own toys. 

Step 2. Collaborative Drawing

Explore making collaborative drawings in small groups, using new materials and new skills in the Shared Ink Drawing Inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are” resource.

By the end of this session, pupils will have explored how they can work together to create sections of landscape, exploring notions of “background” and “context”, using ink and quills. 

Step 3. Colour Mixing

Explore colour mixing in an empirical way by mixing soft pastels directly onto the shared landscape drawing created above, as shown in the Adding Colour to Shared Ink Drawing Inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are” resource.

By the end of this session children will have created coloured backgrounds which are full of exciting marks and atmospheric colours, ready for the stage below. 

Step 4. Drawing from Life

Practise drawing from life in the Life Drawing Inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are” resource. 

By the end of this session, children will have explored drawing directly from life, making quick sketches by looking for “big” shapes which express emotion and personality, to develop sketchbook work. 

Step 5. Drawing from Imagination

Combine mark making and life drawing skills with inspiration from the shared communal background drawing, to create drawings of wild things from imagination, in the Drawing our own “Wild Things” to Inhabit our Imagined Landscape resource.

Step 6. Making Sculptures Part 1

Explore working in 3 dimensions using wire, paper and modroc to create sculptures of Wild things, in the Making Sculptural “Wild Things” (Session 1) resource.

Step 6. Making Sculptures Part 2, & Final Outcomes

Continue working on the sculptures, and return to the starting point of the journey in week 1 by adding collaged drawings to the sculptures. Display the finished sculptures in front of the communal drawings. Making Sculptural “Wild Things” (Session 2 & 3)


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