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Level: Primary, Junior, Middle School
Grades: K-8 | Age: 5-14 yrs| Written by: Kim Swanger
[Kim is a K-3 art teacher from Council Bluffs, Iowa]

This lesson requires planning and problem solving, much like a math problem or science experiment. Students will see that scribbles can become much more.

What You Need:
What You Do:

  1. Start by asking students if they've ever made scribble pictures. Have a student explain the process. (This kind of scribble is where you make a scribble and fill in the spaces with colors).
  2. Tell the students that they will be making scribble pictures today, but these scribble pictures have rules.
  3. The first rule is: you can only use three colors. The second rule is: the same color cannot share a "wall".
  4. Demonstrate how to make the picture by making a large scribble on the board or a large piece of paper. Choose three colors. With the assistance of the students, start coloring in the spaces. Discuss which colors may go in which spaces and which MUST go in certain spaces.
  5. When it becomes obvious that the students understand the rules, allow them to make their own scribble pictures. Emphasize that they should fill the paper and make large enough spaces to color. No teeny, tiny scribbles.
NOTE: If the students don't adequately plan, they'll color themselves into a corner where they can't use any of the three colors to fill a space. This is when they'll have to learn how to "cheat" by adding a new line. I explain that cheating in class or when playing a game is bad news but cheating in art is called "creative problem solving" and once they learn how to do it, they should teach a friend.


Here are some ways to add even more interest to the lesson once the students understand the technique.
  1. Ask the students to only use primary, secondary or monochromatic color schemes.
  2. Have the students make scribbles using straight lines and angles.
  3. Have groups of children cooperatively create a scribble picture mural.
  4. Have students use the same rules to color "overlap" pictures.
  5. Have students scribble using crayon, and then paint the spaces using tempera or watercolors. Discuss why the paint doesn't bleed over the crayon lines.

Recommended Books/Products:

Scribble Art: Independent Creative Art Experiences for Children
by: MaryAnn F. Kohl

ScribbleMonster Takes a Bath
by: Paige A. Dague

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