Artwork Title: Boat

Name of Artist: Beryl Kwok Liwen

School: Victoria Junior College


Lesson idea/Guiding Question

How can elementary shapes work together to tell a story?

(Graphic designers can use a very limited palette of shapes to create outstanding variations of a graphic motif.)

Key Concerns:

Elements of Art, Spatial composition, colour

This lesson idea encourages students to play and re-discover shapes and colours, leading to an enduring understanding of ‘composition’.

As a stretch/extension lesson, organic, odd sized shapes could be used too (see.


Students will:

  • Be exposed to the graphic design work of Molly Bang, (2000). Picture This: How Pictures Work.  Attention is drawn to:
    • simple geometric shapes, and colours can convey emotions
    • scale affects ‘near and far’
    • lines direct the viewer’s eyes on an image (e.g. converging lines suggests perspective)
    • different compositions affect the mood of an image
    • playing with shapes in this exercise, helps us understand the principles of composing images.
  • Collectively decide on a theme the class would work towards. E.g. Re-imagining classic children’s stories,  changing the ending, and telling it in a concise manner; Making graphic versions of famous paintings, and giving them a story line to make the paintings come alive
  • Experiment and create a character on one piece of drawing board, using 3 or more pre-determined shapes provided by the teacher. Students would be allowed to ‘scale’ the shapes up, or down. Coloured paper, and assortment of textured paper, would be provided.
  •  In groups of four, students will take turns to ask their peers for help, for any part of the task they require feedback. It could be technical or conceptual issues.
  • Create a short narrative for their characters, in six boxes (six frames). In the interest of time, students may choose to photograph each frame, before re-arranging the shapes for another frame. If time allows, they should be allowed to produce six frames of illustrations.
  • In groups of four, students will preview each other’s work, before nominating the most evocative work to be presented to the whole class. At the end of the lesson unit, all artworks should be displayed.

Materials needed:

  • Drawing board/pre-saved Powerpoint with given shapes/ Adobe illustrator with pre-saved shapes
  • Paint brushes, poster colours and paper

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