Art Activity: What Do You Think You See?

Art Activity: What Do You Think You See?

For this activity, let's get back to basics and focus on drawing still life. What's still life, you say? A still life is a work of art depicting typically common objects - natural or manmade, in an artificial setting. The art of still life has been around since the BC times - originally considered to be a plebeian form of art created by artists with fewer skills than those who were painting and drawing the human figure. Known as Vanitas in the 16-17th centuries, still life's became embedded with symbolism and often explored the themes of decay and mortality. It has since become a widely accepted art form in which artists can exercise their skills in technique, concept and composition in mediums such as painting, drawing, photography or sculpture.
This activity is an exercise in still life - and by the end of it, you will have drawn three different still life drawings.


You Will Need:

Cartridge or pastel paper
Kneadable & white or gum erasers
Objects from around the house
A Sheet or tablecloth



1 Hour


From 8+

1. Arrange a set of your chosen objects on a table and cover them with a sheet or tablecloth. Position your lamp above the objects to create STRONG shadows.

Objects covered with a sheet

2. Use the charcoal to draw what you see. Press hard, cover the paper with charcoal if possible. Continually smudge the charcoal with your fingers and rub back with the eraser to emphasise form in the creases and folds in your sheet.

charcoal drawing of sheet


3. Next, on a new piece of paper, draw with a pencil what you see, emphasising the main shapes in the sheet. Press lightly and start with the main form. Then I want you to use this pencil drawing as a starting point for an entirely new drawing. Let your imagination run wild!

drawing of a snail

4. Before you start the last drawing, remove the sheet covering the objects. Then on a new piece of paper using the pastels, draw the objects using as much detail as possible. If possible, add lighter colours or white highlights where the light areas are.

doll house drawing in pastel

5. Have fun! Share your art with us @insideartspace.





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