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"Make You Mark" - Line Drawings

Page history last edited by Frank Curkovic 11 years ago

Unit Title: "Make Your Mark"

Unit Outline: Students are introduced to the line work of Van Gogh, Durer & Rembrandt and various other line techniques. Students create their own line drawing that shows shape, texture and tone.

*Composition must include a background, a middle-ground and a foreground using various line techniques, textures and tones in ink.

Students are evaluated on knowledge, process, participation as well as product.




By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Use line to convey shape
  • Use line to convey texture
  • Use line to convey tone
  • Create a composition by combining various visual references



By the end of this unit, students will understand:

  • Line techniques
  • Value
  • Gradation
  • Composition 




  • Art criticism (Criteria A) Due week 6
  • Research & Planning (Criteria A)



  • Students will create a final, well planned line drawing to show shape, texture and tone that must include a foreground, middle ground & background (Criteria B) 
  • Write a final self-reflection (Criteria C) 
  • Artistic Awareness & Personal Engagement in class (Criteria D) 


Approaches to Learning:

Thinking: generating ideas—including the use of brainstorming; outlining a plan

Reflection: self-awareness—including seeking out positive criticism, reflecting on areas of perceived limitation self-evaluation—including the keeping of learning journals and portfolios, reflecting at different stages in the learning process

Organisation: self-management—including personal goal setting and organization of learning materials


Key vocabulary: 

Background, Cross-hatching, Composition, Drawing, Foreground, Hatching, Light Source, Line, Middle Ground, Gradation, Stipple, Scumble, Texture, Tone, Value

Artists: Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh


Line Drawing Rubric



Rembrandt Etchings A great website showing the etchings of Rembrandt.

The Inspired Line is a video of an exhibit of Rembrandt and Durer drawings recently presented at UALR. The video was produced by UALR University Television.

Van Gogh Biography 



*Activities are subject to change at teacher's discretion.

Week 1 - Intro

Distribute and review cover sheet. Students should glue them in their Developmental Workbooks (DWBs).

Cover sheet may be downloaded from here if lost: Art 7.2 Cover Sheet-Line Drawing.pdf


Brainstorm and record your thoughts in your DWB answering the unit question "How can we communicate visually?" (5mins)

Go into small groups to share, discuss and further record any additional answers (5-10minutes)

Be prepared to share your answers as a class.


Task: (15 minutes)

Distribute Gr7u2-Line Drawing-sheet 1 Making Marks, which is pictured below.

Experiment with making marks. Create a line technique that matches the description.

You may also download the sheet from here: Gr7u2-Line Drawing-sheet 1 Making Marks.pdf

When complete, glue sheet into DWBs. Students to share work with peers.

If printer or sheets are unavailable, simply make 3 columns with 5 rows in your DWB. Try to make:

  1. Lines like ocean waves
  2. Lines like rain
  3. Lines like as clouds
  4. Lines thin as thread
  5. Lines round like buttons
  6. Lines jagged as rocks
  7. Lines like dots of snow
  8. Lines like thread dotted with snow
  9. Lines like the rings in a puddle
  10. Lines like the stars shining at night
  11. Lines like grass
  12. Lines that fade out into the background
  13. Lines like wood grain
  14. Lines like a fuzzy sweater 
  15. Lines to show something is getting darker, or lighter   


Discussion: How and what can we communicate with line? Meaning, what can line show or represent? Brainstorm as a group and record your answers in your DWB. Be prepared to share your answers as a class.


Introduce the significant concept: Line can be used to convey shape, texture and tone.

View the following line drawing by Van Gogh:

Discuss (students are encouraged to take notes):

  • What techniques were used with line? 
  • How was texture created?
  • Do the direction of lines matter? Why or why not?
  • How is shape or contours shown? 
  • How are shadow and light shown? 
  • Why are lines varied (weight, length, direction etc.)? 


Pre-assessment Task: Students to recreate one of Van Gogh's works in developmental workbook using pencil, or recreate various sections only (i.e. drawing 2 trees, 1 rock etc.). Van Gogh's line drawings here.

(Teacher Note: Students may need a demonstration on how to break the drawing down into parts)


When complete, students share work to discuss pros/cons, struggles/highlights etc. Notes from this mini-critique should be documented in Developmental Workbooks. Please date and title all entries.



Complete the drawing started in class if not done so, as well as mini-critique. (Required) 

Watch the following video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VJ4t6vBGjY) (Required) 



Week 2 - Intro to Line

Students share previous task and mini-reflections for critique.


Task 1 (45-50 mins):

Students are introduced to different textural effects that may be done with line through marker by watching the following slideshow (http://www.slideshare.net/elemICT/line-drawing-techniques):


These techniques and effects are practiced and then applied to geometric shapes with value and tone added.

Click to download the pictured PDF worksheet below here: grade7-line-drawing-shapes.pdf


Students may use the following examples as reference:



Complete work done in class if not done (Required) 

Watch the following video (Required) 



Week 3 - Practice Drawing

Share and critique homework.


Warm-up: What line techniques are used in this artwork by Van Gogh?


View the following slideshow:

Task: Have students practice drawing a landscape using various line techniques. This should include drawing trees, bushes and clouds with value. Students may use a landscape photo from Field Studies or search for something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imrickndakota/1381604761/

*Students should pay attention to different line techniques as well as gradation.


Homework: Students should complete drawing done in class. (Required) 


Week 4 - Art Criticism

Review and critique homework. Students to create a mini-reflection on strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement and/or goals.


Compare and contrast the 2 works of art below:

  • Describe what you see in the 2 works of art
  • Interpret what is happening in the 2 works 
  • Analyse how the works are organised (How is the work laid out? Where is the horizon line? Is the focus on the foreground or background? etc.) 
  • Judge what you think about the artworks
  • What are the similarities and differences between the 2 works of art?


Albrecht Dürer, The Nativity (1504) & Vincent van Gogh, Cottage Garden (1888)



View Critical Analysis of an Artwork to see if students understand.


Formative Assessment Task: Due Week 6

 Students are to write an art criticism comparing and contrasting 2 landscape line drawings from Durer, Van Gogh or Rembrandt. Students may select which to pieces to criticise.


  • Name & tutor group in header 
  • Title: Art Criticism 
  • Paragraph form with an introduction, body & conclusion
  • Include photos and reference works (Artist, title, medium, year)
  • Reference where photos taken from (i.e. web address). Use bitl.ly or tiny.url to shorten the weblinks 
  • 200-300 words
  • Typed 



  • Paragraph 1: Introduction 
  • Paragraph 2,3,4: Similarities, Differences, Judgements etc. 
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion


What can you consider when comparing and contrasting? 

  • What you see in the 2 works of art
  • How the works are organised
  • Interpret what is happening in the 2 works
  • Judge what you think about the artworks
  • Look for the similarities & differences between the works themselves, but also consider medium and techniques

Key vocabulary: Background, Cross-hatching, Composition, Drawing, Foreground, Hatching, Light Source, Line, Middle Ground, Gradation, Stipple, Scumble, Texture, Tone, Value


Refer to Critical Analysis of an Artwork for assistance. 


Students may begin research. It is suggested students use this research template, but this is optional. You may simply take notes in your Developmental Workbook. Evidence of this must be shown.

MS Visual Art - Compare & Contrast planner.pdf



Homework: Students should work on and complete Art Criticism planning sheet. (Required) 


Week 5 - Common Drawing Mistakes

View Common Drawing Mistakes and Suggestions

How will students improve their work?

Students are reminded of the work done by Van Gogh, Durer & Rembrandt.

What interesting techniques did they use that you may incorporate?

Students are encouraged to take note.


View previous student work and preview rubric:


Note and discuss the various line techniques in these works. Pay particular attention to the use of shadow and light and the direction and lengths of the lines. This helps demonstrate form, contour and distance.




Note how simple scumbling was used for trees. Shadows are placed on foliage to create texture, shape and form. It is crucial to show the light, as much as the shadow. Trees will look better with short, scumbled lines rather than long continuous ones.    

Students should attempt practice drawings to further develop.


Homework: Work on Art Criticisms. Due next class. (Required) 


Week 6 - Composition & Planning

Collect Art Criticisms

View previous student work to critique:

Review TSC for Criteria A & B.

Students are introduced to and complete the Line Drawing Planning Sheet.

Planning sheet may also be downloaded from here if lost: Art 7.2-Line Drawing-sheet 2 Planning.pdf

After students complete the planning sheet, they should begin developing their thumbnails.

Review composition to help develop this.   


Homework: Students should complete thumbnail sketches. (Required) 


Week 7 - Planning cont'd

Students should select their best thumbnail and decide which textural effects to use. Students are encouraged to practice this so they may begin work independently next week. Students may also collect drawing images from famous artworks to use as inspiration. For example, if you are going to include a tree, will you draw it like Van Gogh, Rembrandt or Durer?

Use key vocabulary in your plans. 

Key vocabulary: 

Background, Cross-hatching, Composition, Drawing, Foreground, Hatching, Light Source, Line, Middle Ground, Gradation, Stipple, Scumble, Texture, Tone, Value


NOTE: a common error students make is to either make a drawing too light or too dark, resulting in their work looking flat (no depth). Pay close attention to creating value in your work. This will greatly enhance it.


Homework: continue practicing line techniques for your final drawing.


Week 8, 9, 10 & 11

Explain to students how drawings will have elevated foregrounds and middle grounds and how this will effect their drawings. (This is a new aspect to the unit that is being introduced in the 2011-2012 school year).

Students work on final drawing.

Week 10: Have students write a mini-reflection on the progress they are making thus far.


Homework: work on drawing as required 


Week 12 - Presentation & Reflection

Students present their work to class and write self-evaluations.

Write your reflection in paragraph form and include the following:

Write a brief introduction about the unit. Include the unit question and significant concept.

*write your reflection as if the reader has no idea what you've done.

  • Give an in-depth description of the progress you have made. You are encouraged to compare your first drawing to your final. Your progress could involve scale, composition, balance, line techniques etc.
  • Identifies areas for improvement. Be specific and provide detailed examples to support your statements.
  • Identify effective strategies to develop and improve your artistic processes. Artistic process includes learning various line techniques & applying various line techniques. It also includes your planning, your research, time-management and overall artistic skills. Be specific and provide detailed examples to support your statements.
  • When writing your reflection, you should consider your research, plans & drawing techniques. 

Use any relevant Key vocabulary: 

Background, Cross-hatching, Composition, Drawing, Foreground, Hatching, Light Source, Line, Middle Ground, Gradation, Stipple, Scumble, Texture, Tone, Value



Student example of a written self-reflection here (also below):

Has the student addressed all the above criteria?


In Y.I.S. 7th grade art class, for past 10~12 weeks, we have been doing a line drawing of the our field trip destination (Hakuba)’s scenary.  I combined google picture (Dog, and the Mountain) and the actual picture from the field studies (A boy, docks and lake.  Our unit question was, “How can we communicate visually?” and significant concept is “Line can be convey shape, texture and tone.”


It took a lot of time to choose what kind of line will match my picture.  So, I’ve tried many different types of techniques – light sources, scumble, hatching and cross-hatching.  And I decided which techniques fit my scene the best.  So, I think my line drawing had changed big time.  Plus, to make my grades a bit higher for my project, I had made my own original lines and stipples and making my drawings more detailed.  My sky includes staright lines, and a boring one dot in the middle of the line.  But, what I did was that I made the line and dot closer to show that it’s the darker part.  Plus, I used different types of markers.  For the top part of the sky, I used a thick marker to show that it’s dark.  Then, gradually, I changed the markers into thin markers to show that sky’s color is light.



I think I should not have brought the lake up.  Only reason why I did it was because I made a mistake on the lake – I made a weird crossing lines.  So, I thought that the lake would fail unless I hide it.  So, I’ve decided to bring the lake up.  One more imrpovement I think I could do better next time is not to make the mountain too dark.  I bit failed on the shadows since I drew the line over and over again.  Which gradually became darker and darker.  Perhaps, if I haven’t done that, the mountain would be easier to see.


First of all, think carefully and deeply about the layouts.  Check whether you want the forest to be in the horizon or not.  And I did that.  Second of all, do the first draft in pencil.  I’ve done mountains, a boy, a dog, and docks in pencil.  And I made it very detailed stippes, lines and made a different types of texture.  Although, for some reason, I didn’t practise the lake in pencil.  I just got a marker and made those cross lines.  But, now I’ve learned those lessons, next time, I can be careful and do the draft in pencil.


I definitely think that my line drawing have gotten better then before.  Although, I do think I was pretty good at first shot of line drawing.  But, I only used the basic lines and stipples.  My first line drawing was the scenary of Van Gogh’s neighbour… By Van Gogh.  The balance of the human and the building was a bit off, but other than that, I think I drew pretty impressively.  My second drawing was a scenary in Thailand or Malaysia.  Now for this one… I have to admit:  I rocked it!!!  That time, I used varieties of lines and dots.  Also, I’ve made the leaf look like leaf by making it as diagonal and crooked spiked line.




Student work 2013 here





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