Learning About Shapes and Creating a Geometric Animal

This project is fun and playful while also introducing students to shapes and different ways to use them in art.

Materials: construction paper, black paper, glue stick, scissors, and a pencil

Time: this assignment took three, forty-five minute class periods to complete, including a day to lecture and present the assignment.

Shapes are a flat enclosed area created when a line connects to enclose this area. A shape can be created by surrounding shapes. A shape can be an area filled with color or texture.

There are many different types of shapes: rectilinear, curvilinear, geometric, organic, non-objective, pure forms, representational, and abstract.

Rectilinear shapes are composed of straight lines and angular corners like squares and rectangles. Rectilinear shapes can be seen in this Piet Mondrian painting.

There are curvilinear shapes which are composed of curves and flowing lines like circles and ovals; as seen here, in this artwork by Manucco.

Or this one, The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh.

Geometric shapes, also known as, non-objective and pure forms, are shapes derived from geometry. Geometric shapes are characterized by crisp, precise edges, and mathematically consistent curves. Shapes that are created without reference to specific visual subject matter. Squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons, octagons, and trapezoids are examples of geometric shapes.

Here are some geometric shapes.

Organic shapes visually suggest nature or natural forces. Organic shapes are also known as biomorphic shapes. Examples of organic shapes are clouds, leaves, fruit, water puddles, anything found in nature.

A representational shape is derived from the specific subject matter and is strongly based on visual observation. These drawings of a bird and butterfly are examples of representational shapes.

Abstract shapes are derived from a visual source, but are so transformed that it bares little visual resemblance to the source. Here are some examples of abstract shapes.

Geometric Animal Project

Using non-objective, pure forms, and geometric shapes you will create an animal out of construction paper. First sketch an animal of your choice on a piece of paper or in your sketchbook, remember to break it down into geometric shapes.

When you are satisfied with your sketch, draw the shapes you will need in pencil on construction paper, and then cut them out with scissors. Cut out all shapes you will need and then arrange them on a piece of black paper. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, glue down the shapes using a glue stick.

Things to consider, think about what colors will stand out on a black background and what colors you want to layer together. Have fun and I hope you enjoy this project as much as we did.

Alternative Project: Geometric Town

For an alternative project, create a town out of construction paper using only geometric shapes. Think about what is in the town. How can you represent different places using only geometric shapes. Do some of the buildings have signs? Remember you can only use shapes, no words to create your town.

First, sketch your town on a sheet of paper or in your sketchbook. Remember to break down the town into geometric shapes. When you are satisfied with the sketch of your town, draw the shapes you will need on construction paper, and cut them out. Once you have all of your shapes, arrange them on a sheet of black paper. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, glue them down with a glue stick.

Time: The geometric town assignment took six, forty-five minute class periods to complete including a day for lecture.

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