Drawing and Shading Geometric Forms

drawing and shading geometric forms

I have always wanted to teach students how to draw and shade spheres, cubes and other forms, but I lacked confidence. Then I found two great worksheets via Pinterest that made the lesson really successful.

Any shading lesson has to begin with a discussion of value. We looked at some black and white photographs and noticed the variety of grays, from very light to almost black.

I gave each student a photocopy of a completed value scale and this handy value worksheet at About.com




The sixth graders did part one – filling in the value scale on the right of the worksheet.

Next, we took a close look at a real sphere (in our case, a red rubber playground ball). I turned off the overhead lights and focused a single light source on our red rubber ball. We identified highlights and cast shadows, and saw how shadows gradually got lighter further out from the object.

Now the students did part two of the worksheet – roughly shading the sphere to match their new value scales.


Next class, we looked at a variety of geometric forms.

geometric forms


The best thing I ever found on Pinterest may be this tutorial from Shawna Tenney at Imagine Art! I made a copy for each student.

One by one, I lit each form with a desk lamp. We looked at highlights, cast shadows, and other light and dark areas. Then we drew the forms according to the tutorial.

This drawing tutorial worksheet really helped!

This drawing tutorial worksheet really helped!

Students used paper stumps to blend the graphite into a smooth gradient. They loved the stumps!

drawing and shading forms


drawing and shading forms

drawing and shading geometric forms

Early finishers had the option of drawing one or more of the forms using colored pencil.

Very successful! Great job sixth graders! And thanks again, Pinterest!

 How do you teach value and shading?



Do the Mini! Op-Art Line Shading Lesson on a Smaller Scale

do the mini! op art shading

This Bridget Riley-inspired colored pencil op-art line shading lesson is extremely popular. I first saw it on Art With Mr. E., then on Teach Kids Art, and finally a post on Artisan Des Arts with a teaching video (wow!). If you are unfamiliar with this project please start out by visiting these excellent blog posts.

My small contribution to all this awesomeness is …small. Last year I tried this project with 5th grade using 9″x12″ white paper. Well, it took a long time…too long. The full size project took at least 4 classes and many students lost interest.

I decided to try a smaller format. At Mr. E’s suggestion I went down to a 6″x6″ square. SUCCESS! The 4th graders were able to complete the 6″x6″ project in 2-3 40-minute sessions. They were very proud of their artworks.

For detailed instructions, please view the teaching video in the link above. However, for the mini 6″ version of this project, start with 4 dots on the wavy line

Give it a try in any format.

More Bridget Riley op-art resources

Bridget Riley 6 Op Art Shading project


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