This username and password
combination was not found.

Please try again.

Hotchalk Global

view a plan

Still life contour drawings are changed into an abstract collage here utilizing cubist techniques


Art, Social Studies  


8, 9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Still Life to Abstraction

By – Amanda Stokes

Primary Subject – Art

Secondary Subjects – Social Studies

Grade Level – 9-12


    Contour drawings of a realistic still life that can be changed into an abstract collage through multiple views of objects and by creating a fractured plane composition.

STANDARDS: South Carolina Visual Arts Standards

  • Creative Expression 1.1, 1.3
  • Aesthetic Perception 2.2
  • Aesthetic Valuing 3.1
  • Visual Arts Heritage 4.1
  • Aesthetic Value / Critique 5.2, 5.3


    To create an multi-plane, abstract composition that will utilize cubist techniques within a limited color palette.


  • TSW be able to list styles and techniques used during the Cubist era.
  • TSW create four still life contour drawings.
  • TSW create an abstract collage entailing various views of the objects and by using multiple fractured planes.
  • TSW use a limited color palette of their choice to compliment the positive and negative space of the composition.


  • Drawing Paper – 12 X 18 inches
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Spray adhesive or stick glue
  • Water based markers
  • Water colors
  • Paint brushes — regular size and small
  • Poster board or card stock to mount collage — 11 X 28 inches
  • Examples of contour still life drawing
  • Teacher and student example of finished

  • Music CD — Spanish Salsa and Classical


    I begin by discussing Pablo Picasso’s youth and schooling, showing the example of a Picasso painting

    First Communion

    . Most students are very familiar with Picasso’s cubist and more abstract works and are not only astounded by the fact that he painted this, but are almost in disbelief that he could paint this at the tender age of fourteen. We talk about how many artists are just like us and get tired of doing their art in a particular style or manner and need to create something new to challenge themselves further as an artist. Next we look at examples of his cubist drawings and paintings and how he used geometrical forms and angular lines to create images. I also show the students how his use of color can give mood or create feeling within a composition.

    We list, define and discuss the following terms that the students need to understand and use within their compositions:

    • Cubism
    • Contour
    • Drawing
    • Collage
    • Juxtaposition
    • Dislocation
    • Transformation
    • Planes
    • Fractured
    • Planes
    • Texture
    • Multimedia.


Day One:

  1. TTW discuss the artist Pablo Picasso and the Cubist movement with the students, giving examples of his work.
  2. TTW have a still life set up in place with chairs arranged in a circular fashion around it.
  3. TTW have four sheets of drawing paper pre-taped onto drawing boards for the students — in order to save more time for drawing.
  4. TTW instruct the students to begin the first CONTOUR drawing (no shading or over detailing) when the salsa music begins to play. They will then have 15 minutes to draw.
  5. The music will stop after 15 minutes and the students are to stop drawing and move approximately six seats to the right to obtain another drawing view.
  6. When the music restarts, the students may begin working on their second drawing. This process will happen twice more in order for the students to have four separate drawings of the still life from four different views.

Day Two and Three:

  1. The students will cut out all of their contour shapes separately. There will be “holes” left in some, but this can be covered up by the overlapping of objects.
  2. After all of the objects have been cut out, the students will pre-arrange them on their 11 X 28 boards before actually gluing them into position.
  3. After the glue is dry, the students will go over all pencil marks with water based markers in their selected color scheme.

    Ex: warm or cool tones, monochromatic, analogous, etc

  4. Next the students will use water colors to fill in the objects either with the same selected color or with its compliment.
  5. The last step is to create either a single color or no more than three colors to use in the negative spaces of the composition. This should be done in the same manner of their pre-selected color scheme and compliment their positive images. If more than one color is used in the background, it seems to work better if it has more of a blocked off appearance rather than a random pattern.


    The students will hang their abstract collages in the room for critique. We discuss elements that were successful in certain compositions and I also open up the floor for students to discuss about what they think would help or what they would do different in their own work to make it more successful.


    Each student is given a grading rubric at the beginning of the assignment that states what elements need to be included in the composition. They may use this rubric as a reminder throughout the process of what aspects must be included in the composition. The students are given time after the critique to evaluate their own work with this rubric and I also include an area for my evaluation and comments as well. There is also an area of extra credit for those students who go “outside the box” successfully. On the back, the students will list the styles, techniques and terms used during the cubist era that we discussed earlier.


    For students needing extra assistance with their project, I or even one of my other students sometimes, will give them visual cues as to how to make their composition successful. I may show them a smaller contour drawing that I had previously done so that they will know to only draw the outlines of the shapes. I have also had color patterns blocked out on paper so that they could choose the correct marker and water color scheme for their collage.


    For my students who have successfully created their compositions first, I allow them to glue in different 3-dimensional objects. These must be small and lightweight in order for them to stay on the composition. Some of the students’ favorites have been tissue paper, old buttons, sections of wallpaper and cloth strips, and dried flowers. They must use these sparingly and they must compliment the composition in some way so as to not become a distraction to the artwork.


    I tie in the history and social culture that surrounded this movement. During my lead-in I ask the students to tell me some things that they already know in history during this time period and we use these events and/or occurrences to discuss how they may be related to this art form.


Amanda Stokes


Print Friendly, PDF & Email