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 respond to what we see, remember and imagine by using drawing and painting techniques for different purposes.
  • We are learning about the qualities of a range of drawing and painting media.
  • We are learning about the effects that each medium produces individually and in combination.
  • We are learning that we can achieve a wide variety of different effects by layering and combining media.

Learning Activities

Ensure that the pupils have plenty of opportunities to make drawings for different purposes, for example:

  • to record from direct observation;
  • to collect information and use it to develop ideas;
  • to express and communicate feelings and opinions;
  • to help solve problems and develop their thinking and decision-making, e.g. sketching an idea;
  • to use different media or processes to develop ideas;
  • to sketch for planning and, for example, plan a composition or design solution, e.g. try out variations in shape and arrangement; and/or
  • to create maps, charts and diagrams which record information or mental images.

Allow the pupils to work with a wide range of drawing and painting media on paper, card and other surfaces.

Give them opportunities to use:

  • lead pencils,
    • experimenting with HB, B, 2B, 3B, 5B etc. to discover the different qualities of lead types (3B = very soft, B = soft, HB = between hard and soft, H = hard, 3H = very hard, etc.);
    • experimenting with pencils of all lead types to scribble, shade and make dots, dashes, circles, spirals etc;
    • applying light and heavy pressure to the pencil tip to make hard and soft lines;
    • encouraging the use of soft, exploratory lines to plan a drawing;
    • using a range of hard and soft lines in a drawing to record detail, distance, foreground, shadows etc; and
    • trying not to use erasers.
  • coloured pencils,
    • layering colours to produce a greater depth of colour and range of tones;
    • blocking in colour by working with pencil strokes all applied in the same direction; and
    • controlling depth of colour by applying different pressures on the pencil tip.
  • wax crayons,
    • planning a picture working from light to dark;
    • experimenting with pressure to achieve bold and light lines;
    • using a wash of ink or paint over a wax crayon drawing;
    • preparing a drawing surface by colouring in a solid area with coloured crayons, applying a top layer of black paint mixed with washing-up liquid, and drawing by scraping into the surface with a sharp tool.
  • charcoal,
    • making marks and smudging/rubbing to soften the effect; and
    • varying the thickness of lines, making soft and strong lines by applying different pressures on the charcoal.
  • pens,
    • working with a variety of pen types, for example markers, ball point, rollerball and felt tips;
    • making a variety of lines which are free-flowing, sweeping, broken, faint, hard etc. on different surfaces including clay; and
    • using pens to record minute detail.
  • soft chalky pastels,
    • using the side of the pastel to build up layers of colour;
    • using the tip of the pastel to create detail;
    • blending and overlaying colours to create soft backgrounds, using fingers to smudge;
    • working on top to create detail; and
    • working on a soft paper, such as a pastel paper.
  • oil pastels,
    • overlaying colours to create new colours and rich textural effects; and
    • experimenting with techniques described under wax crayons above.
  • paint,
    • mixing and matching colours for a purpose, e.g. skin tones;
    • working with different consistencies of paint to produce a range of effects, such as:

- using paint on wet paper to create a watercolour effect;
- making a colour wash for a background;
- working with thickened or textured paint, for example, adding PVA or sawdust; and
- using brushes in different ways to create textures in thickened paint.

    • working one colour on top of another, waiting for ‘layers’ of paint to dry in order to add detail on top of background colours;
    • working with a variety of brush sizes and types, selecting the appropriate brush for the task;
    • working on a variety of surfaces to achieve different results (e.g. paper, card, fabric or plaster);
    • selecting a suitable format for working on, i.e. landscape or portrait;
    • being aware of composition, organising the foreground, middle ground and background in the work; and
    • taking responsibility for preparing, organising and clearing the painting area.
  • other media,
    • bending and shaping wire to produce 3D drawings in space; and
    • using appropriate computer software to create images.

Ask the pupils to work individually or in groups to plan and produce drawings, paintings or mixed-media pieces on different scales and for different purposes.

Encourage them to combine drawing and painting media with other processes to produce rich and varied imagery.