Art Workshop: Still Life Drawing              


Kids: The History of Still Life

Teachers: Preparing for the  Art Workshop

Follow up lesson plans



Objects used in the lesson:

This workshop covers the technical aspects of Unit 5A of the National Curriculum for Art - how to draw still life subjects. It lasts all day and takes place in your own classroom. The workshop should come early in the unit, so that in future lessons teachers can give children the chance to practise the skills covered.


  Children's artwork from the workshop:

Y5, Grange Junior School, Runcorn

Y5, St.Catherine's Prep, Marple Bridge

Y4, Little Leigh Primary - Musical Instruments

Jenny, Y5, at St.Vincent's



Teacher's Comments:

'Excellent - really taught the children skills.'

  -Y4/5 teacher, Norris Bank Primary, Stockport


More teachers' comments


      Skills Covered:

  • How to see objects as they appear to the eye, rather than in memory - this is a vital skill in figurative art (representing real objects, scenes, people etc.). We tend to draw what we think we see, rather than the 2D image which falls on the retina. We have to train ourselves to see, for example, the top of a cup as an ellipse, rather than as a circle.

  • How to draw underlying shapes - how to draw lines which accurately show the basic outlines of simple or complex forms.  I will cover such features as angles, symmetry, proportion, and ellipses - a very common still life shape.

  • How to create tone - by shading with pencils, charcoal, and charcoal pencils, and using putty erasers and chalk. Children will learn to see tone in drawings and art by masters such as CÚzanne, to identify where light comes from and where shadows are, including on the table top, and to see light areas within shadows. Recreating accurate areas of tone is vital to giving objects a sense of solidity.

      Lesson Plan


      More Useful Pages:



 Jan Lievens, Still Life - used in workshop


I will provide:


Putty erasers


Photos for children to draw from

Plastic cups for drawing

Wide range of objects for still life composition - see above

Examples of classic art, A3-sized

Other visual materials, photos etc.


You will need to provide:

Pencils, Pencil sharpeners

Sketch books (A3 if possible; if not, A3 paper for final works)


Free with the workshop you will receive:

An extra box of charcoal

An A3 sized CÚzanne print used in lesson (see below)


Still Life with Ginger Jar, CÚzanne