Signe Hancock

A World without Color and a World with Color

Lesson in drawing with black and white and color

Grade Level: Sixth Grade

Class Size: 30 students

Lesson Duration: 2; 45-minute lessons

Lesson Topic: Visual arts lesson involving the creation of a black and white picture followed by a re-creation of the same picture using color with an emphasis on contrast, depth, and mood.

Rationale: The visual arts provide an opportunity for students develop perception, acquire skills in creative expression, and develop skills to make critical judgments. Creating and comparing black and white and color pictures will help students learn to create, analyze, and critique works while learning the concepts and skills involved in using contrast, depth, and mood.


Artistic Perception: Each student will identify depth and contrast in their pictures by identifying foreground and background in their drawings and by using shade and colors to create emphasis and de-emphasis and contrast.

Creative Expression: Each student will create two unique drawings one using black and white as a medium and one using color as a medium.

Aesthetic Valuing: In the role of art critic each student will critique a set of drawings (one black and white and one color) and, in written form, discuss the use of depth and contrast and compare the mood of the two drawings.

Strategy: A combination of Direct Instruction and Inquiry will be used

Vocabulary: depth, dominant, subordinate, foreground, background, contrast, mood, and art criticism.

Depth: The creation of distance or deepness within a drawing.

Dominant: The most prominent or most obvious in influence or position.

Subordinate: An element that holds lesser importance within a design.

Foreground: The part of the scene nearest the viewer.

Background: The distant part of a scene. The part that is subordinate.

Contrast: Opposites, such as light and dark, rough and smooth, soft and hard, in close proximity.

Mood: A predominant feeling or spirit.

Art Criticism: A systematic analysis of a work of art.



Session #1


    1. Each student will close his/her eyes and imagine a black and white world. The teacher will lead students through a variety of "imagination experiences" such as; imagine walking to school in a black and white world, imagine playing on a playground in a black and white world, imagine going to the store in a black and white world.
    2. After students have had time to think about their black and white experiences, have them share what they saw during each imagination experience.
    3. The teacher will prompt students through questions to discover artistic components such as contrast, depth, and mood.
      1. Were the pictures in your head completely black and white? Explain what colors you saw?
      2. How do you think we can tell if something has depth? Explain how the pictures in your head had depth?
      3. How does living in a black and white world feel? What kind of "mood" do you have in a black and white world?
    4. The teacher will show a black and white drawing. The students will engage in discussion about the use of color, contrast, depth, and the creation of mood.

Pupil Activity Sequence

    1. The students will be seated in five groups of six students. One student (a designated group leader) will be in charge of collecting art supplies to distribute to other students. The art supplies will be set out in the back of the room.
    2. Each student will first create a black and white scene in his/her head thinking about contrast, depth, and mood.
    3. Each student will recreate the picture in his/her mind on paper by drawing with charcoal using shading and creating a foreground and background
    4. Each student will sign the back of his/her picture.


    1. Group members will help with clean up.
      1. one student will return the art supplies to the proper place
      2. one student will clean the top of the desks
      3. one student will clean the floor
      4. one student will collect the drawings and put them in the craft area
    2. The group leader will draw clean-up jobs from a can and then delegate

Session #2


    1. Review vocabulary: depth, contrast, mood, foreground, background
    2. Paper Passer - pass out black and white drawings
    3. Students will discuss their drawings in pairs. Each student taking a turn to present their picture to the other student
      1. Each student will point-out the foreground, background, dominant and subordinate objects in their pictures.
      2. Each student will discuss the use of shading and how it creates contrast.
      3. Each student will discuss how he or she will add color to their picture.
      4. Each student will predict how he/she thinks the mood will change when they add color to the picture.

Pupil Activity Sequence:

    1. Each student will redraw his/her picture using color pencils.
    2. As students finish the drawings will be displayed
    3. Each student will assume the role of art critic by choosing one set of drawings to critique in writing.
    4. Each student will write a critique discussing the use of contrast, depth, foreground, and background, and they will compare the mood between the black and white and color drawings.


1. As before


Once each student has completed both drawings and a critique, students will use a pair/share format to share their drawings and discuss how they used depth, contrast, and mood in their drawings.


Evaluation will occur when each student has finished the three final projects: black and white drawing, color drawing, and critique. The two drawings will be evaluated based on use of depth and contrast. The critique should display an understanding for the vocabulary along with displaying how well the students can apply the vocabulary to an art form.

Evaluation Rubric

Exceptional Achievement

Adequate Achievement

Limited Achievement

  • 3 assignments completed with at least 2 out of 3 assignments as described below.


  • Completed b/w drawing clearly using depth and contrast
  • Completed colored drawing clearly using depth and contrast
  • Completed written Critique, and clearly identifies depth, contrast, and mood.
  • 3 assignments completed with 1 of 3 assignments as described below
  • _________________________

    • Completed b/w drawing clearly using depth and contrast
    • Completed colored drawing clearly using depth and contrast
    • Completed written Critique, and clearly identifies depth, contrast,
  • 3 assignments completed, but 1 to 2 assignment as described below
  • ________________________

    • completed b/w, but clearly did not follow directions and/or understand concepts
    • completed colored drawing, but clearly did not follow directions or understand concepts
    • completed written critique, but did not correctly use the vocabulary.


      1. Black and white drawing
      2. Charcoal & charcoal erasers
      3. White paper
      4. Colored pencils
      5. White lined paper

    Incorporating Different Learning Styles


    The visual learning is accommodated by the use of a black and white example drawing exemplifying vocabulary and the products of black and white and colored drawings.


    The auditory learner will benefit form the partner discussion, imagination experiences, and the presentation during closure.


    The kinesthetic learner will be accommodated by the hands-on nature of this lesson. They will have the opportunity to create drawings that reflect key concepts.


    The partnership discussions will benefit inter-personal learners by allowing them to interact with others while learning.


    The independent nature of this lesson will benefit intra-personal learners by allowing them to work independently to create a work of art.


    The spatial learner will benefit from the emphasis on depth, for use of depth will help create an accurate portrayal of the visual world.


    This lesson could be used to enrich a social studies lesson, by having the students draw a scene from a time and place in history. It could also be used as a cross-cultural exchange by having students draw a cultural scene. For example, students could draw Christmas around the world; each student drawing a different Christmas tradition from a different country or cultural group.