Title: Examine It, Squish It

Grade Rage: Elementary


A 2 part exercise  introducing shapes, lines, proportions & variety to elementary students


Download the lesson plan in .pdf here



  • Multiple books or photographs of insects to review
  • Maped PlastiClean Plastic Crayons and/or Maped Triangular Oil Pastels [862048/862049 & 864010/864012]
  • Maped Essentials Triangular Graphite #2 Pencils [851779ZT]
  • Maped Classic 1 Hole Metal Pencil Sharpener [006600] (optional)
  • Maped Color’Peps Jungle Fine Tip Washable Markers x24 [845422]
  • 1 sheet of 9×12 White paper


Overview & Directions – Examine It! (Part 1)

  • Provide students with pictures of a variety of insects (Butterflies, Moths, Beetles, Grasshoppers, etc.) Also be prepared to show artwork that uses line variety- thick and thin to emphasize different features.
  • Analyze and compare body parts and how they differ. Shapes may be long, short, thick, thin, etc. Examine the proportion-how big the head is related to the thorax and abdomens. Have students select one insect to use in their artwork.
  • Next, look at drawings that show a variety of line qualities – thick dark lines for emphasis, and thin delicate lines, etc. Notice how a variety of lines in the artwork make certain features stand out more than others, and makes the art work more interesting.
  • Students should look and study the insect they selected. Proportion means to look at the size of one part (ex: the head) and compare it to the size of the body length, leg length, etc. Really looking at what they are drawing is the first step to drawing well.
  • Pass out a sheet of paper and a marker. Demonstrate how a fat marker can make a thick line or a thin line. Have the students begin to draw the lines of the insect slowly, studying the lines as they go. Don’t be afraid of messing up – take your time to examine as you draw! Look and then draw, look and draw. Continue until most drawings are complete.


Overview & Directions – Squish It! (Part 2)

  • Look at the first drawing that was concerned with drawing in proportion. Explain to the students sometimes artists exaggerate features of an object so they are no longer in correct proportion. It can make the object look funny or a little weird. Explain that in the next drawing they will draw the same BUT they will make it fill up the WHOLE paper! Yes, from top to bottom, side to side… one big fat bug! Exaggerate the body parts to make the insect fatter, shorter, more squat, etc.
  • Pass out a new sheet of paper. Using ONE color of oil pastels, draw the bug squashed on the sheet of paper, so the insect fills up the whole paper! Make some lines thick and some thin for variety. Break up the big shapes with details to make each shape area interesting. Add lots of details! Have fun!
  • When the drawing is complete, have the students fill in the different shapes with other colors of oil pastels. Color up to the colored outlines, but do not color over the original outlines
  • The drawings should be a rich and colorful example of abstract artwork


Discussion Topics & Evaluation:

  • Part 1 – Self Evaluation: Do the lines tell which insect they drew? Did they use a variety of lines to make their drawings more interesting? Are the body parts in proportion to other body parts? Did it help to look hard while they were drawing?
  • Part 2 – Teacher Evaluation: Compare the second drawing with the first one. On artwork #2, does the artwork use the entire sheet of paper from top to bottom and side to side? Are the features of the insect exaggerated so it looks like it is so fat it is squashed on the paper? Is there variety in the thickness of the lines to make the drawing more interesting?


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See you soon!