Oil Pastel Animals: Middle and High School Art Lesson - A Fun, Colorful Student Favorite!

With these oil pastel animals I wanted the students to learn about the golden ratio in their compositions, how to draw on an enlarged grid and how to blend colors to create value.

Medium: Oil Pastel
Time: 10-12 days
Grade: 7-12

Understand and apply the Golden Ratio to their composition
Grid reference photo and enlarge it by 2x
Blend colors using oil pastel
Create value in color

Heavyweight paper cut to 2x the size of reference (include an inch all the way around for a border, oil pastels, blending stumps, sandpaper to clean stumps, pencils and rulers.

I’ve tried to include everything you’ll need to do this just by reading the blog, but if you’d rather have it packaged and ready to go you can grab it at my TpT store.  {click here}

The Process:
We found reference of an animal, then used transparencies of the Golden Ratio grid to determine where to place our animals in our compositions.
We used tracing paper over our photos to trace the main value shifts and hard edges of our animals including the edges of the photograph, and then gridded it 1″ on all sides.

Next we created a 1″ border around the final paper and then a 2″ grid measuring all sides of the paper to ensure that is was square.

Finally, we began to transfer the contour line drawing from our tracing paper using the grid to double the size of our reference animal.

Then we practiced blending our oil pastels on scrap piece of paper and started filling in our animals. Here are some photos of kids in process:

When we were finished the animals were amazing. I will tell you it was a ton of work for the kids to finish this project, especially with how large the paper was, so depending on the time you have you may not want to double the size. Regardless, the students were amazed by their results and so was I. What do you think?

Enjoy teaching how to create value using color with your students. This will build the students confidence and allow them to apply their knowledge to even bigger and better projects!

Good luck!