Watercolors and Zentangles
Using AP- and CL-Sealed Art Materials
Grade Level(s)
Activity time: Two 60-minute class periods
  • Watercolors
  • Watercolor paper
  • Paint brushes
  • Permanent markers
  • Rubber cement
  • Variety of art pens
  • Containers for water
  • Paper towels
Download Lesson Plan

Stage 1 – Desired Results

Established Goal(s)/Content Standard(s):

6th Grade - VA:Cr2.6.1: Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.

7th Grade - VA:Cr2.7.1: Demonstrate persistence in developing skills with various materials, methods, and approaches in creating works of art or design.

8th Grade - VA:Cr2.8.1: Demonstrate willingness to experiment, innovate, and take risks to pursue ideas, forms, and meanings that emerge in the process of art making or designing.

High School Proficient - VA:Cr2.HS.1I: Develop art making skills and techniques while making/ designing works of art comparing methods of spontaneous and deliberate design.

High School Accomplished - VA:Cr2.HS.1II: Through experimentation, practice, and persistence, demonstrate acquisition of skills and knowledge in a chosen art form using various approaches.

High School Advanced - VA:Cr1.HS.2III:
Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices, following or breaking established conventions, to plan the making of multiple works of art and design based on a theme, idea, or concept.
Students will understand that:
  • Artists experiment with media and art-making approaches.
  • Non-objective art works do not look like anything specific or are nonrepresentational.
  • People evaluate art based on various criteria.
  • Color choice and schemes can affect the mood an artwork gives.
Essential Question(s):
  • Artists experiment with media and art-making approaches.
  • Non-objective art works do not look like anything specific or are nonrepresentational.
  • People evaluate art based on various criteria.
  • Color choice and schemes can affect the mood an artwork gives.
Student Objectives (outcomes):
Students will understand that:
  • Explore a variety of media.
  • Create a non-objective piece of art using patterns.
  • Combine efforts from two approaches into one unified artwork.

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

Performance Task(s):
  • Create a non-objective painting using watercolors.
  • Create abstract Zentangle inspired animal with art pens and/or markers.
  • Assemble both works into a collage.
Other Evidence:
  • Art journal
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Critical analysis
  • Peer critique
  • Self-reflection and assessment
  • Class critique
  • Teacher created handout

Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Learning Activities:
  • 1. Access prior knowledge of critical analysis via questioning. Review as necessary (see article and handout). Access prior knowledge of color theory. Analyze emotions and color connections through art journaling. Students can express their emotions freely with line, shape, and color to explore this connection. Discuss and share the different psychological connections between colors.
  • 2. Discuss the difference between abstract art vs. non-objective art. (See here) Find new modern artists working with patterns in non-objective and abstract art. Divide students into groups of four. Pass out art reproductions and ask students to work together to identify patterns and their characteristics.
  • 3. Pre-thinking | What materials will be used? What do you want people to feel and see when they look at your non-objective work? Choose an analogous color palette that is either warm or cool.
  • 4. Create two non-objective watercolor backgrounds that are based on an emotion. Possible techniques include:
  • Watercolor Painting
  • Painting in layers
  • Mixing Paint
  • Sponging
  • Tape
  • Solid Wash
  • Graded Wash
  • Glazing
  • Wet on Wet
  • Drop Color on wet color
  • Dry Brush
  • Opaque vs. Transparent
  • 5. Brainstorm a favored animal(s). Students pair up into groups of 2-3 for “Think-Pair-Share” to share their ideas for an animal and how to best illustrate this. Students experiment illustrating their chosen animal abstractly with Zentangles. Explore and experiment with Zentangles in this process. How can lines express emotions and feelings? Possible techniques include:
  • Zentangles
  • Art pens and markers
  • Hatching
  • Cross-Hatching
  • Stippling
  • Contour
  • Cross-Contour
  • Doodles
  • Contrasting lines
  • 6: Start creating chosen animal(s) abstractly with Zentangles using art pens and/or markers onto one of the watercolor papers. Draw out outline with pencil first and finish with pens and/or markers.
  • 7: Cut out animal(s) and assemble with rubber cement onto a second watercolor background to create a collage. Techniques include:
  • Collage and assemblage
  • Cutting
  • Tearing
  • 8: Facilitate a class critique emphasizing the differences of using different elements to express a variety of emotions. Solicit information about what unifies the work and determine the emotion/feelings expressed. Students use the Art Critique handout to aid them in discussing peer artworks.
  • 9: Provide students time for self-reflection and assessment.
Headshot of Kelsey Escue

About Kelsey Escue

Kelsey Escue is a Visual Arts Educator from Las Vegas, Nevada entering her fifth year of teaching. Her favorite types of art projects to create with students always include painting and drawing. With in-person, hybrid and distance learning models for teaching, Kelsey believes it is important to stay aware of which art supplies students are using and ensuring those supplies are used properly when creating.