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Title of Lesson: Shape, Form and Color

Grade Level:

7th and 8th Grade

Subject Area:


Instructional Goal:

Student are to create an optical art pointing using only cool or warn colors. The students will be able to discuss the illusion of creating optical art.

Submitted By:

Bobette Lovinggood Guillory

*student examples


Supply List

Learning Strategies

Communicate Results

Performance Objectives

Computer Hardware and Software Required

Prerequisite Student Skills

Evaluation Procedures

Instructional Strategies


Time Frame

Set New Challenge


Related WWW Sites

Career Connections



Having fun with art and studying the works of artist that used art to create interesting images of optical illusion.

Performance Objectives:

Students will create optical art paintings.

Students will learn about the illusion of creating optical art.

Students will study the artist M. C. Escher.

Instructional Strategies:


A discussion on Escher and his life will begin. Explanation of Optical art and Illusions will be discussed. Examples of Ecsher's work is shown from examples in art books as well as examples viewed form web sites. "Designs for Optical Art" by Ruth Heller is a suggested book examples.

Instructional and Studio:

Students will be asked to look at various handouts of optical art drawings and drawings of Escher. As they look at the handouts, they need to look carefully at the shapes and forms that create the images they see. How is the sense of optical illusion created? What is Optical Illusion-the definition compared to their meaning if illusion?

Then the students will choose a design to color using two colors. Each shape that is the same will be be same color. As they finish this handout, the optical illusion will show through. How was it created? Now they will choose their own shape to create an illusion from.

When they are creating their images on newsprint paper, they must create a sense of illusion with their image. They can do this if they observe their shapes and how they draw them. Whether their shapes and forms go from large to small or move closer together or farther apart, etc...Their image must fill up the entire page. These images will be recreated in ClarisWorks draw or paint on the computers.


Students will take the handouts with graphic examples and study them carefully.

After choosing one of the handouts to shade, they will shade them with only two colors.

Begin to study how the illusions was created and share with other students.

Using newsprint, they students will choose a shape or form to begin their idea. Only 2 or 3 should be used so that they don't get confused.

The students, with the help and feedback from the teacher, will draw using small area between forms, moving from large to small shapes/forms. Using large to small spaces between their shapes/forms will help create the optical illusion idea.

Students will redraw their approved illusions onto white drawing paper.

Students will complete in black and white colors ONLY.

Students will take some image and recreate it in Draw or Paint in ClarisWorks. They may choose 3 colors only with black and white included, if desired.

* See Set New Challenge


Teacher should gather resources and prepare handouts for students using web sites, if desired.

Supply List:

Newsprint paper, white drawing paper, pencils, paints, & brushes.

Computer Hardware and Software Required:

Computers, printers and ClarisWorks


The World of M. C. Escher, Locker, J. L.

M. C. Escher: Visions of Symmetry by Doris Schattschneider, 1990, W. H. Freeman and Company: New York.


Related WWW Sites




M. C. Escher Art

View Escher images here

Escher's Art Museum


A place for browsing, learn and becoming familiar with some of Escher's best works.



Self-Portrait of M. C. Escher

View his self-portrit

Welcome to the World of Escher

This site has a biography and some of his pictures to view

David McAllister's Escher Image Collection

View images of Escher art here.

Learning Strategies:

The teacher will begin class discussing illusions and what that means. Students are asked which artist draws illusions. What do students know about M. C. Escher and his work? List known facts if possible and where the students might have seen his work displayed (fabric used for neck ties, book covers, t-shirts and caps).

Students work independently on their own illusions after viewing some Escher examples with the encouragement of the teacher.

After successfully creating the illusion students are asked to use the computer to design the illusion they choose to draw in ClarisWorks Draw or Paint. Students print, share their designs and post them in the room. The various illusions that are created can be compiled into a presentation to be presented to the art classes.

Prerequisite Student Skills:

Students need to be able to use ClarisWorks Draw and Paint

Time Frame:

1-2 days

Career Connections:


Communicate Results:

Display work in the art or computer lab or make a multimedia presentation of students work for all to see.

Evaluation Procedures:

Student successfully create an illusion

Set New Challenge:

Integrate the lesson with math.

Use this web site, or the sites mentioned above, to create some interest in art/math/geometry. Tessellations (designs in which one or more shapes are placed in a pattern without gaps and without overlapping) are lots of fun for students and a great way to reinforce math skills. There are tessellations in Islamic art as well as the work of M. C. Escher. Students can then can experiment for themselves using a graphics program like ClarisWorks Drawing or Painting to draw and copy shapes, slipping and rotating them to see if they can be placed in patterns that meet the criteria given. By beginning with one geometric shape such as an equilateral triangle, a student can experiment with positioning and color to create a pattern. He or she can then attempt to tessellate more complicated shapes or combinations of shapes.

Gallery of Interactive Geometry

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