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Lesson Plans

the crayon resist project

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 11 Aug 1998 18:00:00 EDT

Hello artsednetters,

This is a lesson plan that I have used for many years. I call it a crayon
resist because the object is to use crayon for the wax and resist it with
thinned tempera so that the paint resists the wax. This could be adapted to
many subject ideas such as stained glass windows, mosaics, stylized designs,
Tiffany lamp designs, hearldry, etc. I would present this after you have gone
over design principles and color theory so that they can use these theories in
a project. I have even done this with 2nd graders I give them some designs to
work from first but mostly Art 1 in High School.

OBJECTIVE- The student will be able to create a stylized design
(simplification) that uses crayon in a painterly method, resisted by tempra
paint to create a outline around each color. Composition, color choice and
craftsmanship will be the criteria for grading.


1. On newsprint 12"x18" ( or 18"x24") create an outline design that captures
the essence of your subject. A stylized design is like a cartoon in as much
as the subject is recognizable but it uses the most interesting aspects of the
object and exaggerates their size and shape. This design should have a center
of interest and the background should lead your eye off the page and back on
again. Use a balance of shapes, colors and subjects that create a rhythm
through the format. A variety of size in the shapes of the subject avoids
monotony and creates a harmony throughout the composition. ( I sometimes
make them create small thumbnail sketches first by folding newsprint into
rectangles and doing quick idea sketches so that I can see what they are
thinking about and avoid major mistakes in composition.) also try different
formats, like circles, triangles and ovals.

2. Trace over your design with a thick marker (water based) so that the lines
are about 1/8" thick. Rub graphite over the back of the newsprint and
transfer the design onto good white drawing paper by tracing on both sides of
the thickend line with a ball point pen or colored pencil. This should create
a design that has a space between each shape.

3. With-in each shape (not the space) use MANY LAYERS of crayon by mixing new
colors, gradations between colors and even solid colors. Make sure that you
use a lot of wax, press hard and use white crayon to save the lightness of a
color but still have alot of wax. The crayon can be used like paint with large
strokes and rough blending, this is not a coloring book so be creative. Check
your edges and see that they are straight and clean.

4. After the entire project is completed with the crayon we can make the
In a small mixing tray mix three parts BLACK tempera and one part water ( or
there abouts, I use my eyes to judge the thickness) so that the tempera will
cover but not be so thick as to stay on the wax. If it is too thin you will
see the paper through the paint.

5. Apply the tempera with a soft round brush (#10 or #12) so that the paint
goes into and slightly over the spaces left between the crayon shapes. This
should be light and quick so that it won't cover up the crayon. Just go over
the spaces and it should bounce off the crayon and stay in the areas that
where left blank. The black paint accentuates the colors of the crayon giving
it more life and contrast.

6. After it dries you can scrape off areas that where too thick or if you went
too far.
DON'T EVER WIPE IT OR TOWEL IT WHILE ITS WET or else it will smear and look
terrible with out any way to correct it. You can spray it with a Crystal
Clear (Krylon) fixative to seal the colors and the paint.

This can take a couple of weeks and they can look very sophisicated. The idea
of using crayons as an art tool other than what they were used to in grade
school is great for high schoolers. This can lead into using craypas and oil

I hope this is enough, if you have questions I will be happy to answer them.
I use a lot of slides of student work with this, to get them fired up about
it. I wish I could share these slides so that you could see the results.
Just try it yourself and you will adapt it to your own style.

Ken Schwab
Leigh High School
San Jose, CA