Visual Arts Planning: Still Life

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Drawing a still life is a great opportunity to introduce children to challenging drawing concepts such as composition and negative space, as well as colour.

This selection of resources helps children tackle these ideas in an imaginative way while increasing their knowledge and experience of drawing materials. The projects offer ways to explore a still life through expressive mark making using a range of exciting media such as ink, carbon paper, pastels and collage and include two resources that show how drawing can be taken through into a final painting in either acrylic or gouache.

Please feel free to add links to other resources, or share your experiences and ideas, via the comments box below.

Ages 6-12

Tackling Still life for children - part 1

Continuous line drawing – a warm up exercise to encourage children to tune into their subject matter and begin to consider the placement of objects on their page.

Tackling Still life for children - part 2

Part two of this resource helps children get to grips with the tricky concepts of composition and visual relationships.

Tackling Still life children - part 3

The final part of this still life project – taking drawing into painting!

Layered colour gestural drawing

This quick and easy exercise uses four colours of ink to help develop awareness of the stages of a gestural drawing and to add an energy to the finished sketches.

Exploring still life with tracing paper

This resource encourages children to tackle foreshortening and aerial perspective by drawing on tracing paper from a still life of translucent glass.
This resource encourages children to tackle foreshortening and aerial perspective by drawing on tracing paper from a still life of translucent glass.

Painting on plaster, Inspired by Van Gogh

Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sprig of flowering almond in a glass”, this resource shares a method for painting on plaster, with oil pastel, linseed oil and graphite

Acrylic Painting: 'Food, Glorious food'

In a supportive atmosphere, children are guided and encouraged to explore their latent creative skills to produce a colourful still life in acrylic paint.

Cut paper collage still life

Educator Maureen Crosbie explores still life composition using collage. Papers are decorated by hand using colours, patterns and textures taken from objects in a still life set up.

Making Mini food

A fun resource to inspire you to create your own miniature scuptural still life on a plate!

Age 12 Upwards

Winter Still Life

An ideal project for dark winter days! Construct a layered drawing of a winter still life using a combination of drawing, collage, mixed media and simple print-making to create a drawing or seasonal greeting card.

Bold Autumn still life

Engaging with still life drawing on a large scale (A1), and working with soft graphite to create strong, bold and gestural work.

Still life in a cubist style

A fun workshop and a great way to study still life and explore Cubist ideas of ‘temporal frames’ and drawing ‘time and space’.

Halloween still life

A theatrical Halloween still life enables students to experiment with composition, mass, line and colour, combining mark making using acrylic paint and graphite to create lively drawings.

introduction to ink via still life

Introducing participants to varied mark making, combining the soft lines of oil pastel with the beautiful, translucent effects that can be created from ink washes.

Gothic still life

Students analyse the relationships between objects in a Gothic still life such as skulls and candles – inspired by autumn, death and decay.

Drawing with water soluble graphite

A drawing resource that helps students explore how water soluble graphite can be used to create tonal contrast and portray soft texture, shape and form.

Drawing negative space

Learning to draw the spaces in between things, the ‘negative space’, lets drawings breath and tensions between objects resonate. In this drawing activity, graphite washes are used to emphasise negative spaces.

Graphic inky still life

Exploring still life through drawing and construction. This resource shares how students developed their observation and mark making skills to create charming and powerful 3d graphic images

Which Artists: Jason Line

In this post artist Jason Line shares his passion for Still Life painting.
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