Media, materials and processes: drawing and painting

Drawing is at the heart of all Art and Design activities. Over the course of the Key Stage, it’s important that we provide pupils with regular opportunities to use a range of media, materials and processes to create their own work.

In learning how to manipulate drawing and other media, practice makes perfect. Pupils need to take part in regular, extended activities if they are to make meaningful progress.

Of course, Art and Design activities provide many opportunities to link learning with other areas of the curriculum.

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning to use drawing and painting techniques to respond to what we see, remember and imagine.
  • We are learning about the qualities of different drawing and painting media and a range of mark-making techniques.
  • We are learning that we can combine different media in our work.

Learning Activities

In making drawings, you could ask the pupils to:

  • record from observation;
  • plan and develop ideas;
  • express and communicate personal interest and feelings;
  • create diagrams; and/or
  • make maps.

Allow the pupils to work with a wide range of drawing media on different surfaces (grounds) of varying shapes and sizes, such as:

  • cartridge paper;
  • sugar paper;
  • sandpaper;
  • wallpaper; and/or
  • handmade paper.

Give them opportunities to use:

  • lead and coloured pencils (HB, B, 2B and 4B leads),
    • making a range of experimental marks such as dots, dashes, scribbles, sweeping lines, wavy lines or straight lines;
    • leaning heavily or lightly to create dark or light marks; and
    • experimenting with colour by working one colour on top of another.
  • wax crayon,
    • experimenting with different pressures to make bold and soft lines;
    • applying pressure to create strong areas of colour; or
    • making linear drawings, then washing over them with thin paint or ink. The wax drawing will resist the wash if the crayon is heavily applied.
  • charcoal,
    • using charcoal pencils or sticks broken into small pieces to experiment and make different lines; or
    • working on a large scale with large sweeping movements.
  • pens,
    • using ballpoint pens, markers, felt tip pens etc. to make different types of lines. A ballpoint, roller ball or fibre-tipped pen makes fine, delicate lines to create detailed drawings.
  • soft chalky pastels and other colour media,
    • varying the pressure to make faint, soft and strong lines; or
    • blending/smudging to create a soft background colour, then adding details on top with finer and more defined lines in different colours.
  • paint,
    • mixing colours and describing how to make them;
    • learning to control paint and water to mix paint of different consistencies;
    • working with various types of paint, for example dry powder on a wet surface, diluted paint or paint thickened with PVA;
    • applying paints to a surface with a variety of tools and in different ways, for example dab, smooth, wash, sponge, stipple or stroke;
    • holding a brush correctly;
    • working with a variety of brush sizes (for example a small size 4 or 6, and a larger 8 or 10);
    • working with a variety of brush types, for example hog hair, nylon or a decorator’s brush;
    • loading a brush with the correct amount of paint;
    • experimenting with brush types to make a range of marks, lines, blobs, dots and dashes;
    • selecting the correct size and type of brush for a particular task, for example a large brush for a larger area and a small brush for detail; or
    • working on a variety of papers and surfaces (grounds), varying the colours, shapes, sizes and textures.
  • other media,
    • drawing with coils of clay, dough and/or other malleable materials;
    • drawing into wet sand, dough, clay or plasticine to produce engraved lines; or
    • making outline drawings with soft wire.

Give the pupils opportunities to work with mixed media, combining various drawing and painting media to create images. For example, encourage them to enrich their drawings and paintings with collage.