Oil Pastel Buildings, Grades 4 & 5

Basic Building Shapes from California Missions. Ideas for how to combine the shapes to create a new building: stack, side-by-side and one shape inside another shape.

For this oil pastel drawing assignment, I invited students to use their imaginations to create their own building compositions on black or purple construction paper.

They could start the building drawing using the basic building shapes from the California Missions and think about stacking, side-by-side or one shape within another (see photo to left). They could also use the photos of missions or houses as reference. Or they could use imagination or memory to begin the drawing. I mostly left the content of the drawing up to the students--my only 'must do's' were that the students use oil pastel, draw one or more buildings, follow the drawing expectations (see photo to left) with the addition that if they wanted an area to be black on black paper to use black oil pastel to fill in the space (the same for purple paper--spaces to be left purple must be filled with purple oil pastel.)

Drawing Expectations


I gave early finishers a challenge: draw a second scene with the building far away (in the distance) and think about if they could draw something else in the foreground (close up). See drawing # 6 below for an example of a student who took this challenge.

The examples below show the wide variety of ways the students approached this assignment. Some drawings are based on observations of the building photos--an example is #1 below. Other drawings, #2 for example, are drawn from prior knowledge of conventions for drawing a house. In other drawings (see #11), the students used combinations of the basic shapes to create their building compositions. In one class, students came up with the great idea of taping several sheets of construction paper together to create a larger drawing--see # 9 and #14.

To view more oil pastel building drawings click here and here. For the next couple months, the drawings will also be up on the bulletin board across from Ms. Smith and Mrs. Papciak's rooms.