Lesson #3: Using Different Kinds of Paper to Define a Figure: The second linked lesson

Part of the unit: Discoveries in Collage |


How can we create a collage of a figure in a setting?
Students will be able to:
Discuss how an artist incorporates a figure in a composition
Use a variety of papers---glossy and matte/ rough and smooth-- in a collage
Arrange and glue shapes to create a balanced composition
Students will understand that:
Artists construct meanings and depict their experiences.

Variety of colored papers: fadeless construction, glossy and matte, rough and smooth; scissors; glue/brushes


Sunset and Moonrise with Maudell Sleet, collage by Romare Bearden, 1979


Draw students’ attention to Sunset and Moonrise with Maudell Sleet, and pose questions such as these to encourage close observation:

  • How do we know that the figure is the subject of this collage?
  • What are some of the shapes you see in the figure? What colors?
  • Describe the background. What are the main colors? Where is this setting?
Reinforce principles of composition by asking students to explain why the artist:
  • used a vertical format
  • covered the compositional plane

To the extent possible, display a variety of papers. Help focus choices by reviewing the qualities of the papers. Ask a few volunteers to touch and describe the surfaces. This can be an opportunity for some vocabulary development--glossy and matte; smooth and rough.  Also note that there are ranges of colors—different blues or reds. Explain that you will demonstrate how to create a figure from several shapes and place it on the background created in the prior lesson.

Allow students to select materials from boxes on their tables. Distribute glue after youngsters have cut shapes and explored arrangements. As they work, make note of collages that exhibit:
  • A balanced composition including the figure
  • A range of colors within a family
  • Different surfaces and textures
Select a few students to share their work with the class.
  • Tell us how you made your collage. What details will you add the next time we work on this?


Art making: Students depict their experiences; gain knowledge of media and compositional elements Literacy: Develop new vocabulary; discuss art work; reflect on the process of art making