Learning Objectives: 

  • Observation
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Exploration & curiosity
  • Confidence in drawing
  • Choice
  • Compositional skills


  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Watercolor or diluted food coloring
  • Objects found outdoors (seashells, leaves, feathers, flowers, twigs, etc.)


  • Paintbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton Swab
  • Water Cup
  • Straw


  1. Source about 3 to five natural objects of various sizes
  2. Set up an area to draw with pencil
  3. Make sure you are in the sunshine at an angle (before noon or after)
  4. Hold an object above the paper to observe it’s shadow.
    • Think about where the shadow looks interesting on the paper (composition)
  5. Using a pencil, as you hold the object above the paper, trace only around the shadow without picking up your pencil. (You might need someone to help you hold the object as you draw!)
    • This is called continuous contour line drawing
  6. Repeat this process with 2-3 other objects of various sizes, overlapping the images.  It’s OK to have the lines criss-cross over each other.
  7.  Next, take a fine line marker and trace around what you drew in pencil.
  8. Final step is to add some color and texture!  Use a paint brush, tooth brush or a cotton swab
  9. Watercolor that is very watery with more water than paint OR you can use very watery food coloring if you do not have watercolor.
  10. Add some splashes of color by flicking the brush or other applicators, or blow with a straw!
  11. Add some color by painting in the shapes that you see because of criss cross lines AND/OR outline around shapes.
  12. Any and All Above!

Holding twigs above a piece of paper to make a shadow.Holding a leaf above a piece of paper in the sunlight makes a shadow you can trace.Paper with a bunch of found objects traced from their shadows.