Lesson #2: Adding Visual Texture

Part of the unit: Creating an Animal Print |


How can we use visual texture to add interest and contrast?
Students will be able to:
Create a pencil sketch of an animal in an environment
Work from observation, memory, or imagination
Add visual texture and pattern to their drawings to create interest and contrast.
Students will understand that artists:
Use visual texture to create interest and contrast
Deepen imaginative, observational and expressive skills
Pencil, 9" x 12" drawing paper
Hokusai and/or Hiroshige prints, images of animals and natural environments.
Show students different Japanese prints such as: Utagawa Hiroshige's Full Moon on the River or Katsushika Hokusai's Carp.
  • The artists who did these prints came from the same country. What country do you think that is?
  • What do you see that makes you think so?
Explain that the Japanese were very famous for creating woodblock prints such as these. They developed these printmaking techniques in the 1600's, and by the 1900's, Japanese prints were seen all over the world and influenced the work of many artists. Often the drawing was made by the artist, but the carving of the block and the printing were done by craftsmen who remain unknown for their work.
  • Why do you think artists might have allowed the craftsmen to do this?
  • What types of lines do you see in these works?
  • What visual textures has the artist created?
  • How are these prints different from Durer's Rhinoceros that we looked at during the last lesson?
  • How do you think the different colors were added? (A different block was carved for each color.)
We're going to be making prints the way that the Japanese artists and Albrecht Durer did, but instead of carving our image into wood, we'll be carving it into a Styrofoam plate. The subject of our print will be an animal in a natural environment. Brainstorm animal environments: Where could you show a turtle? A bird? etc.  
Select an animal image to work from and demonstrate how to sketch the animal in a simple environment. Look again at Durer's Rhinoceros and the Japanese prints.
  • Which part of this print seems closest to you? Which part appears furthest away?
  • What do you notice about the lines that describe the animal in the foreground and those that describe the background? How are they different? (The foreground has larger, thicker lines, the middle ground has vertical lines, and the background has dots.)
Show how to add visual texture and pattern to a sketch, emphasizing that there must be contrast between the foreground and the background. Check for understanding by soliciting suggestions from the class.
  • How could I add visual texture to my animal?
  • What kinds of lines should I use to show...?
Students should have a wide variety of images of animals and landscapes to look at. Some students may prefer to use their imagination to put the animal in an environment of their own choosing. After they select an animal image, they should make a simple pencil sketch of that animal in an environment on 9" x 12" paper. They should be reminded to group lines to create visual texture and to separate each area by changing the size or type of the lines used.
Student will work in pairs to get feedback on their drawings. They can ask one another such questions as:
  • Which part of my drawing is furthest away and which part is closest?
  • What do you think my animal would feel like?
  • I have used___ different kinds of lines to show visual texture. Can you find them all?