Home » Teach » Lesson Plans » Lesson 9: Drawing Imaginary Plants

Lesson 9: Drawing Imaginary Plants


Students will draw their own imaginary plant, exaggerating or combining different features, and using different lines, shapes and visual textures.

Grade Level



Paper and Ebony pencils

Theme/ Big Idea

Artists make drawings using both observation and imagination. Artists also use observations to inspire ideas for imaginary drawings.

Essential Question

How can I use my pencil in different ways to draw and respond to what I see? How can I use lines, shapes, textures and details observed in natural objects and plants to create my own imaginary plant?

  • Unit & Lessons
  • Video
  • Slide Deck
  • Teaching Guide

Materials and Tools


Students will understand that: 

  • An imaginary plant can combine features, textures, lines and shapes from different sources.
  • An imaginary plant can have exaggerated features from different plants. These features can be larger or there can be more of them.
  • The expressive qualities and distinctive features of plants can be represented by lines, shapes and marks.

Students will be able to: 

  • Identify features of different plants or natural objects to use as inspiration for their own imaginary plant.
  • Use and combine different lines, shapes and marks to draw an imaginary plant.


Step 1: Introduction to the lesson, view Drawing Imaginary Plants video (11 minutes)

Hello artists! In the last lesson, we drew two different plants from around the world, looking closely at photos. What was it like to draw from a photo? How was it different from drawing an object from observation in the previous lesson?

In this lesson, you will create your own extraordinary plant from imagination. What does it mean to draw from imagination? How is it different from drawing from observation, or from photos? How can we use what we learned while observing natural objects and drawing plants from photos to create our own imaginary plant?

There are different ways that we can create our own plant. We can combine features from different plants. We can also exaggerate the features of plants, making them bigger or making more of them.

Let’s view the Drawing Imaginary Plants video to learn how an artist imagines and draws their own extraordinary plant.

Step 2: Imagining our plant with our senses, with student slides #4 – 5 (5 minutes)

Let’s explore ideas for your imaginary plant using our 5 senses!

Melita Couta. Untitled. 2014, Colored pencils on tissue paper, 29 X 42 cm
  • How will your plant look? 
  • What distinctive features will it have? Will you repeat or exaggerate any of them? 
  • Is your plant tall or wide? 
  • Is it growing upwards or outwards? 
  • What kind of stems, roots, seeds or leaves does it have? How many?
  • How will your plant feel if you touch it? How will you draw this visual texture?
  • How do you imagine it might smell?
  • Is there a part you can taste?
  • Does it have fruit or flowers?
  • Can it make a sound?
Melita Couta. Untitled. 2014, Colored pencils on tissue paper, 29 X 42 cm

Step 3: Drawing your imaginary plant, with student slides #6 – 7 (15 minutes)

Consider these prompts as you begin to draw your plant:

  1. Where on your page will you draw your plant? 
  2. Will your drawing paper be vertical or horizontal?
  3. How big do you need to draw your plant to fill your paper? 
  4. Which part of the plant will you focus on?
  5. What kinds of shapes will you use to draw your plant? 
  6. What kind of lines will make the edges of these shapes?

Start by drawing the largest parts of your plant, using light lines. Then, continue drawing smaller shapes. After you have drawn all the shapes of your plant, think about the details and textures that you will add.

Remember that you can combine features from different plants, exaggerate parts of the plant, or make more of them, to make your imaginary plant!

Step 4: Reflection Questions for Discussion (10 minutes)

Questions for Individual Artists

  • What lines, shapes, details and visual textures did you use in your drawing?
  • What distinctive features did you add to your plant?
  • How did you make your plant imaginary?

Questions for Whole Group

  • What lines or shapes did this artist use?
  • How do you imagine this drawing might feel if you touched it?
  • How did the artist create this visual texture?
  • What do you notice about this plant that makes it imaginary?





Luigi Serafini. From Codex Seraphinianus. 1981
Melita Couta. Untitled. 2014, Colored pencils on tissue paper, 29 X 42 cm
Melita Couta. Untitled. 2014, Colored pencils on tissue paper, 29 X 42 cm

Resource: The Garden of Fantasy Flora: 80 Plants from Fiction: https://www.avasflowers.net/infographic-garden-of-fantasy-flora


For Multilingual Learners

Have students turn-and-talk to share the plan for their plant with a partner. What features will they combine? What will they exaggerate?

Have students interview each other about their imaginary plant when finished.

Have students create a graphic organizer to plan their plant, naming plant features that they will use. Let students know that their plans can be changed as they work.


Add Color to Your Drawing

Use colored pencils to add color to your drawing. Consider how you can make light and dark shades.

Imaginary Plant Sculpture

Create an imaginary plant sculpture using recycled materials. This lesson plan from Dick Blick suggests materials and ideas: https://assets.ctfassets.net/f1fikihmjtrp/4w1ptz9PnF48SZdE3lXsHP/759298225406abc51938764b01c0e8f7/Imagined_Plants.pdf