Students explore the idea of depth of space focussing on overlapping, elevated objects, relative sizes and shading, and then they use markers plus water to create a scene that shows 3 animals in the wild.

Share this:


  • Crayola Non-Washable Broad Line Markers - 10 Count
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Crayola Washable Glue Sticks
  • Water Containers
  • Plastic Placemats - 1 per student
  • Masking Tape
  • Small Pieces of Foam Core Board
  • Paper Towels


Step 1
  1. Tape the paper to a plastic placemat.
  2. Draw the background scene getting inspiration from research photos.
  3. Draw the horizon line about one-third down from the top of the paper.
  4. Block in key details in pencil.
  5. Draw an outline with marker.
  6. Paint into the marker with water.
Step 2
  1. Draw some marker onto a plastic lid.
  2. Paint into the marker with water to liquify it.
  3. Colour large areas of your scene using this marker ink.
  4. Use both techniques to complete your scene.
Step 3
  1. Paint over dry areas.
  2. Things further back in the picture look muted.
  3. Painting purple over the other colours helps create the feeling of shadows and depth.
  4. Set the background picture aside.
Step 4
  1. Refer to your research photo as you draw your animal.
  2. Remember to look at the animal picture often.
  3. Make the animal fairly large.
  4. Use the marker technique to colour the animal drawing.
Step 5
  1. Photocopy the animal drawing in two smaller sizes, for example, one at 75% and another at 50% of original size.
  2. Cut out the original animal drawing.
  3. Colour the two photocopied drawings and cut them out.
Step 6
  1. Gently remove the tape from the background drawing.
  2. Figure out where you want to place the animals.
    - The smallest one should be highest on the picture plane.
    - The largest one should be lowest on the picture plane.
    - Try overlapping the animals.
  3. Once you are happy with the arrangement begin to glue the animals down.
  4. Glue the smallest one first.
  5. Position it and lightly press it into place.
  6. Place a spare piece of paper over the animal and rub it gently.
    - The paper keeps the animal shape from tearing or moving while you press it onto the page.
  7. Repeat with the middle sized animal.
Step 7
  1. Glue some small pieces of foam core board onto the back of the largest animal.
  2. These will raise the shape and make the whole composition feel more 3-dimensional.
  3. Be sure to place the small pieces all over the back of the animal.
  4. Put glue on each piece of foam core board.
  5. Press the animal shape onto the picture plane and gently turn it over.
  6. Gently rub the back of the paper to fix the large animal in place.
    - Turning it over allows you to apply even pressure without tearing or moving the shape.
Step 8
  1. Add some shadows under the animals with marker ink.
Step 9
  1. In the completed picture we see:
    - Overlapping – Objects block out parts of other objects and get progressively smaller.
    - Elevated Objects – Objects higher in the picture plane appear farther away.
    - Relative Sizes – Objects in front look larger than those in the middle and background.
    - Shading – Areas modelled with light and shadow give the illusion that they are 3-dimensional and occupy space.
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Mathematics,

    • Science,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8

Related Lesson Plans

Illustrated Crayon Character