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Color Scheme Insects High School Art 1 Lesson

Art 1 Color Scheme Insects with a student art example drawing of a monochromatic red lady bug with a graphic black and white background design.

Looking for a High School Art 1 Lesson using Color Schemes?

My Art 1 students just began Color Scheme Insects artworks using colored pencil and marker.

Primary Colors Only Colored Pencil Color Wheel Worksheet for HIgh School or Middle School Art Class Color Theory lesson

Before we began our Color Scheme Insects, we studied a little color theory and practiced A LOT with colored pencils.

Students completed a couple of color wheels using colored pencils.  The first color wheel is just a color mixing assignment where they had to create the 12 colors using only the three primary colors.  .  

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The second color wheel they had to use colored pencil to color in the hues, tints, tones and shades of each of the 12 colors. For this one, the can use the secondary and intermediate colors of colored pencils. We use Crayola colored pencils for this and I’ve found, even with the cheaper pencils, the results are still really good! I always buy the huge Classpack of pencils.

In case you don’t know, for this pack, students can use Raspberry for Red-Violet and Navy blue for Blue-Violet. The only color from the color wheel that isn’t included then is Yellow-orange. So I just have students layer and mix that one.

Color Wheel worksheeet with Hue, Tint, Tone and Shade for High School or Middle School Art classes learning Color Theory and Color Schemes.
Color Scheme Worksheet with Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Split-Complementary, Triadic, and Double Split-Complementary Color Schemes.

We discussed the different color schemes and how the colors work together along with a little bit of color psychology.  We viewed example artworks from throughout art history and discussed their color choices.  Students then completed this Color Scheme worksheet.

You can find a video of me showing students how to complete this Color Scheme Worksheet on Youtube.

Lastly, we also practiced shading the basic geometric forms with colored pencils. For that, I use just the second page from this Colored Pencil Techniques Worksheet Pack. I’ve found this is REALLY helpful for them to learn how to use burnished colored pencil to shade forms.

Colored Pencil Techniques Worksheet Pack for High School Art Students.

Most of these worksheets and MORE are available with a bulk discount in my Big Color Theory Unit Bundle on TPT.

Next, students viewed real images of insects and/or spiders from textbooks in my classroom and/or using their cell phones.  (Here is one of my favorite books for photo references!) They practiced drawing them in detail.  I stressed that the insects must be drawn realistically (no smiley faced butterflies!) and must have as much detail as possible.  

Then, they chose a color scheme to add color to turn these insects into Color Scheme Insects.  They could choose monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split-complementary, triadic, or double-complementary (the ones that were on their worksheet)  The colors do not have to be realistic and may be arbitrary.  

Students complete a quick thumbnail sketch where the Color Scheme Insect was not located in the center of the composition.  They had to create a graphic style black and white background (recognizable, abstract or non-objective) where they divided the artwork into 3 sections.  They were encouraged to flip the positive and negative shapes in their sections.  This is a technique we had previously used when we learned about the Element of Art, Shape, so they were familiar with the idea. 

While they are working, I continually go over my large list of requirements for their work. They know I will be looking for this things while grading. I write a list on the board and we go over it and over it! My list of requirements looks like this:

Color Scheme Insects High School Art Lesson Requirements

  • Realistic Insect Drawn from a PHOTOGRAPH (not a sketch, painting, illustration, cartoon, etc.)
  • Must be an INSECT, SPIDER, Small AMPHIBIAN, Small REPTILE or get subject matter approved before beginning.
  • Insect MUST NOT be located in the Center of the Artwork.
  • Insect Must be BURNISHED with Colored Pencils using a Color Scheme.
  • Insect Must have Hue, Tint and Shades.
  • No Sharpie Marker on the Insect. Use Black Colored Pencil if you need black.
  • Background Must be Filled with Black and White Designs.
  • Students are ENCOURAGED to divide the Background into Sections and Flip and Positive and Negative Shape.

I am so proud of the way these Color Scheme Insects turned out!  Even my students that typically struggle artistically were really able to create a fantastic product.

Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  An analogous orange salamander on a black and white graphic design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  A monochromatic blue box elder bug on a black and white graphic design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  An analogous orange moth on a black and white graphic design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  A monochromatic red ant on a black and white graphic design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  An analogous orange monarch butterfly on a black and white graphic design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  A bright yellow luna moth on a black and white graphic design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  A monochromatic black widow spider on a black and white broken glass design background
Color Scheme Insect artwork example by high school student.  A monochromatic red lady bug on a black and white graphic design background

This lesson was adapted from www.createartwithme.com’s Watercolor Butterfly with Graphic Background. 

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Meet-Erin-Taylor-sidebar-photo

Hi, I’m Erin!

I’ve been a high school art teacher at a rural school in WV for the past 14 years. I teach Art 1, AP Art + Design, Art 2 and 3. 
 
I’m a little obsessed with my sweet husband. Together we have FOUR kids and a rescue dog named Boomer! 
 
I love a bad pun and terrible dad jokes. I spend time looking at MBTI memes, cooking, listening to serial killer podcasts and Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat. I also teach yoga and indoor cycling. Click the button below to learn more about me. 

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