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Art Lesson For Kids - Shapes in Paper

Updated on July 28, 2011
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In action during the "Whiz Kids Class"  at ArtSpace in Chiang Mai, ThailandAlmost complete.A finished work of art.In ProcessIn Process
In action during the "Whiz Kids Class"  at ArtSpace in Chiang Mai, Thailand
In action during the "Whiz Kids Class" at ArtSpace in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Almost complete.
Almost complete.
A finished work of art.
A finished work of art.
In Process
In Process
In Process
In Process

An easy way to start seeing shapes!

One of the most important skills painters possess is the ability to take a large image and see many shapes within it. Some say, while drawing is more about the line, painting is more about the shapes. In this fun exercise, artists of all ages get to practice using their eyes to see multiple shapes inside of a glass with water and reflection! This is an excellent predecessor to painting.

Materials you'll need:

  • 3 Sheets of Black paper (at least 8.5" x 11", or larger)
  • Multi-color paper from the art store - mainly neutral tones: shades of Grey, flesh, light yellow and white. Stores usually sell them by the sheet.
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • A glass - can be any type of clear glass with no silkscreen or pattern in it
  • A clamp light or lamp
  • A Pencil
  • Color Pencils (Optional)

How to make your Paper Cut Out Glass:

  1. Fill your glass with water to the level you are happy with, make sure the bottom of it is dry and set it on top of one of the sheets of black paper.
  2. Fold another sheet of black paper so it can easily stand on its own behind the glass, making a "black enclosure" for the glass to sit in. This prevents reflecting colors coming through from behind the glass which may confuse the artist.
  3. Set up a clamp light or a lamp close to the glass to make strong shadows and highlights. (Contrast)
  4. Use the pencil to lightly draw the outline of the glass onto the third sheet of black paper. Make sure to draw it large enough so you have space to work in.
  5. Carefully observe all the shapes inside the glass and what colors they are. Look closely, some of the whites may actually be grey or yellow. The reflection from the light source may seem more yellow than white. And, the flesh tone may be from the artist reflecting into the water!
  6. Slowly cut out pieces of corresponding colored paper and glue them down as you go. You'll notice you spend more time looking at the glass and shapes than you do looking at your paper. And, the longer you look at the glass - the more shapes you'll see!
  7. Optional - if your glass has colors in it that you don't have colored paper to match, once you choose a color closest to the shape, you can go back in and use your colored pencils to lightly shade over the paper shape. Make sure the paper shape is glued down before you color on it.

Clean up:Use warm water and mild soap to clean up any glue that may have gotten on the table, hands or clothing. If you have a nice table, you may want to cover it before the project starts. And, make sure your scissors are free from glue and completely dry after the projects so they'll last for many more projects to come.

Tip: Make sure you don't have a fan on during your process or little pieces of paper will get everywhere!

To preserve this masterful work of shapes, you can frame it, or simply tape to a wall or put it up on the fridge with a magnet. If you want to store it, place it flat, face up, with a piece of white clean paper on top of it.

And, remember: Art, like any other skill is a practice which gets better each time you do it!


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