CANADIAN BACKYARD BIRDS – Positive and Negative Space

Students research local birds and choose one to work on. They identify the positive and negative space in a picture and use marker techniques to create a mixed media illustration that includes written information about the bird.

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CANADIAN BACKYARD BIRDS – Positive and Negative Space


  • Crayola Broad Tip Markers - 16 Count
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm
  • Crayola Crayons - 16 Count
  • Crayola Washable Glue Sticks
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Pencils
  • Erasers


Step 1


  1. Use pencil to draw the bird so it fills the page.
Step 2
  1. Colour some marker ink onto a plastic lid.
  2. Use the flat side of the marker.
Step 3
  1. Dip your paint brush into some water and then into the marker ink.
  2. Paint the negative space with the watery ink.
Step 4
  1. Fill in all the negative space.
  2. When it is dry use markers to finish colouring your bird.
Step 5


  1. Use a ruler to draw a 3 cm wide border around a new piece of paper.
  2. Use crayons to colour it for a frame for your picture.
  3. Think of where you might see this bird and make a design to suit that environment, e.g.,
    - woods
    - garden
    - park
    - backyard

Step 6
  1. Use a marker to write facts about your bird around the frame.
  2. Carefully cut out the frame.
Step 7
  1. Glue the frame on top of your picture.
  2. Add more details to show what you have learned about your bird.
  3. View your picture with fresh eyes.
  4. What does your picture teach others about your bird?
  5. What do you like best about your picture?
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Mathematics,

    • Science,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 2,

    • Grade 3,

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6

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