Tag: colored pencil how to

Semester High School Drawing Curriculum: 12 Lessons in 18 Weeks

In my teaching career I have taught a wide range of art courses: Introduction to Art, Drawing, Painting, Advanced 2D Design, AP Art, 3D Design, 3D Design II, and 3D Design III. I have loved teaching such a variety because it has given me the opportunity to develop and test a breadth of lesson plans. The past two years I have been working on compiling my favorite lessons into curriculum packs to sell on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. My most recent posting on my store is my semester long drawing curriculum pack. I have taught every single one of these lessons (plus more that I tested, failed, and left out so you don’t have to) and these are my top twelve.

This drawing curriculum includes information and resources to fill every single day of the semester in your drawing class. Other than making copies of worksheets and doing a handful of demos, you don’t have to plan a thing for the semester. Each project includes a detailed lesson plan (including big ideas, essential questions, national standards, vocabulary, and step by step instructions), rubrics, critique information, and handouts. In addition to the project packs I have included my syllabus, get to know you worksheets, a timeline, breaking down the semester into days and weeks, and supply list.

Check out information on the individual projects below:

The first project of the semester is learning the Belgian bookbinding technique and using it to create your own sketchbook. This not only saves money on purchasing sketchbooks, but it also introduces the students to book cover design and bookbinding techniques. In addition to a PowerPoint, lesson plan, and rubric, this also includes a how to worksheet and how to video. This product is sold individually here.

In every class I teach I include a weekly focus on visual journals. Each Friday students have the option to work in their visual journal, have free art time, or catch up on an assignment. By the end of the semester they must have at least 12 pages completed in their book. The PowerPoint to introduce this project, lesson plan, and rubric are included in this pack.

Before the students start longer drawing projects, they complete a shading review. Seven worksheets are included that cover graphite pencils, hatching, cross hatching, scribbling, stippling, and a general shading worksheet. The front of the worksheets include information and the students must complete the activities on the back. This product can be purchased individually here.

The first true drawing assignment is a still life drawing. However, I put a twist on it by requiring the students to bring in objects to create the still life. Before starting the drawing, the students learn about still lifes at various periods in art history. at both traditional and modern versions of still lifes. They must apply their understanding of various shading techniques by including at least three of them in their drawing. Check out the individual link for this product here.

Once the class has a few drawing projects under their belt, we look at combining technology and art by creating their own GIFs. They must draw the majority of the design, then use various computer programs to compile their drawings, add to them, then create an animated version of them. You can read more about this project in my blog post here.

Once the students have a handle on using pencils, we move onto charcoal drawings. One of the best ways I have found to teach how to shade using charcoal is through the traditional charcoal drapery drawing lesson. A PowerPoint about charcoal, in depth lesson plan, rubric, and critique are included. You can purchase this lesson individually here.

After learning about charcoal, the students apply their knowledge to a mixed media work of art that includes shading with charcoal. For this assignment, the students must select an object and redraw it on a background layered with color and text. The object is meant to serve as a metaphor for who they are, a part of their personality, or interests. I love any cross disciplinary lessons, and this does a great job combining English and art. Check out specifics of this project here.

After completing a metaphorical self portrait, the students are asked to create an actual self portrait drawing, with a twist. The students must select a current event that interests them and reflect it through their portrait. In addition, they have to scan their faces using a copier or scanner to create an unusual and ethereal look to their portrait. They then re-draw their scanned image using pencil. This project pack includes multiple PowerPoints to introduce the project and show examples of current artists who create social and politically driven artwork. In addition to the PowerPoints are an in depth lesson plan, rubric, critique sheet, and brainstorm worksheet. Check out more here.

After working mostly in black and white, students have the chance to do a full color drawing using colored pencils. They are asked to think outside of the box and take a photograph that reflects the topic, “unexpected beauty.” They then turn the photograph into a colored pencil drawing. Colored pencil techniques are covered in the introduction PowerPoint. Check out more information about it here.

After learning about colored pencils, we start moving towards different media that still use traditional drawing techniques, such as scratchboard. Social media is the focus of the lesson and students are asked to create a scratchboard image that reflects a snapshot of their day. History about scratchboard, as well as techniques, are included in the PowerPoint. Detailed instructions on how to teach the lesson are included in the lesson plan, as well as the rubric and critique sheet. This lesson can be purchased individually here.

Printmaking is a natural next step after learning about scratchboard. The basic concepts are similar, removing highlighted areas and leaving dark areas. For this assignment, students create a portrait out of a linoleum block. They use traditional relief printmaking techniques to create at least 5 quality prints and one print must be colored in using colored pencils. In addition to a PowerPoint, lesson plan, rubric, and critique sheet, this also includes a handout on which colors to use to create a range of skin tones and a worksheet to test various color combinations. An in-depth look at this lesson will be coming soon. In the meantime, check out the product listing here.

The final lesson in the curriculum is design your own project. The students can try out a technique or material they didn’t get a chance to or redo a project they liked or could improve on.

It took me years to develop this curriculum and it is very gratifying to see it all compiled in one place. Check out the individual product links above or check out the entire curriculum here. You save $16.00 by purchasing it as a bundle pack. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and my latest TPT product. Help me spread the word about art education, lessons, and art in general by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

Visual Journal Page 48: The Real Caesar’s Palace


There is nothing in this world like Vegas hotels.

I had no idea that part of the fun of Sin City is spending daytime hours touring the hotels. Each hotel has its own theme, outrageous decor, over the top architecture, and interesting design. In four short days I think we saw it all, I felt like my legs were going to fall off simply from walking through hotel lobby after hotel lobby.

There was NY, NY, the Venetian, the Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas. I was continuously amazed by the amount of detail that went into designing each hotel. Our first hotel stay was spent at Mandalay Bay, which gave us an amazing view of the strip and great show options, but I couldn’t wait to go to our second stop, Caesar’s Palace.

After all Caesar’s Palace is legendary, referenced in Vegas movie after Vegas movie, and perhaps most famously in The Hangover. Zach Galifianakis’ perfect line “You probably get this a lot… This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace is it?” is the first thing I thought of as I entered through the sliding glass doors and into the ornate white statue lined lobby.

There is nothing that better reflects my view of Vegas than cheesy, over the top, and the blend of modern and white greek statues truly fit into my mental image. As we approached the front desk I was in complete awe of the magnitude of the lobby, and I began to wander as my Aunt checked us in. As we waited for our plastic room keys I began imaging our room, what on earth could it look like if this is just the lobby?

As Aunt Lydia returned ready to take us to her room she looked very pleased. It turned out we were upgraded from our two standard rooms to two suites. I knew it a “suite” sounded better, but I had no idea what I was in for.

We entered our room and I was confused when I was greeted by a dining room table rather than a bed. I quickly realized we would have to turn a corner to see the rest, but hotel room isn’t in the shape of a rectangular box? We made way around the corner and found ourselves in the living room. A hotel with a living room? We went into the next room and found our massive king size bed, lush chairs, enormous walk in closet, and a bathroom 10 people could use at once without rubbing elbows. I was actually staying in a hotel room with two separate rooms, two bathrooms, and there were only two of us sharing it! To top it off shortly after arriving we discovered a TV built into the bathroom mirror, just in case the giant flat screen TV in the living room and bedroom weren’t enough. It was an easy choice to make this my second highlight of our Las Vegas Mom-Aunt-Daughter-Sister trip.

If Caesar were alive today I think he would approve of the lavish setting that is Caesar’s Palace.


  • Visual journal
  • Pencil
  • Prisma colored pencils
  • Extra fine sharpie


When it came time to create this page I knew I had to find a way to recapture the size of the suite my sister and I shared. After brainstorming different options, from doing a blueprint style plan to collaging different views of the room together, I opted to keep it simple and redraw the view from the bed.

To start it off I used a pencil to rough out the layout. Once I had a good idea about what would go where I began cleaning up my lines and drawing the objects in more clearly. Next I began filling in the color with Prisma colored pencils.

I you have been following my blog by now you must know my Prisma spiel about how expensive they are but how worth it it is. Just as a reminder they are very expensive, about $1.00 a pencil, but they really are worth it! They are more expensive because there is a higher concentration of pigment in them. This means that you can build up layers of colors and as the pigment builds up the layers start to blend which creates a very smooth creamy finish.

Whenever I add color I never use just one shade of a color. If available I always mix different shades of greens, browns, or whatever color I am working with. By mixing colors you will create a more interesting look with a greater sense of depth. For example, in the dresser I used four different shades of brown, light colors for the highlights blended together, and darker colors for the shadows blended together.

After I added my details and colored everything in I wrote my words using pencils first, then went back over with an extra fine sharpie.


Visit your local arts and crafts stores and either pick up a pack of Prismas or the highest quality colored pencil you can afford. Take them how and try out the layering technique. A great source for how to videos is youtube! Simply search: how to draw with prisma colored pencils.

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