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Still Life Drawing


Students will learn how to use composition, scale, and value to create still life drawings.

Grade Level




Theme/ Big Idea

Artists use different techniques to accurately depict objects as they see them.



Materials and Tools

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser (kneaded & vinyl or gum)
  • 3 different objects, ideally of different sizes and forms
  • Value Scale


Students will understand that:

  • Artists can adjust the way they arrange objects in a still-life to create different compositions.
  • Artists often plan their compositions using thumbnail sketches.
  • Through careful looking, an artist can accurately enlarge a composition from a thumbnail sketch to make full-sized drawing.
  • Adding a full range of value can make artwork look realistic.
  • A finished drawing has a background

Students will be able to:

  • Create a series of thumbnail sketches of different still-life compositions to select from for a final drawing.
  • Accurately enlarge a composition from thumbnail sketch to full-sized drawing.
  • Use a full range of value to create volume in their still life drawing.
  • Add a full range of value and a background to complete their drawings.
  • Adjust values throughout the drawing.


Wayne Theibaud, Candy Apples, 1961

Wayne Theibaud, Still-Life with Kleenex, 1969


Still Life Drawing
Written by Matthew Mahler
Based on lessons by Katherine Huala, Jamie Powell, and Matthew Mahler

Lesson Development
Julie Applebaum, Senior Director
Andrea Burgay, Associate Director

Studio in a School NYC
Hasna Muhammad, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Studio in a School Association
Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio in a School NYC

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