Bird Collages featured image

Grade Level



Ten weeks, with single 90-minute lessons, about 15 hours total.
*Three weeks doing an investigation and analysis, three weeks drawing, and four weeks on the collage process, including making paper, etc.


paper, printer, collage paper (scraps of paper, magazines, newspaper, etc.), glue (teacher uses paste powder such as celmix mixed with water), brushes, acrylic paint, black Sharpie marker, and precut plywood or MDF as the board.


Mixed Media

Lesson Objectives

The student will…

observe, discuss, and analyze the works of collage artists Elisabeth St. Hillaire Nelson and Nancy Standlee

understand that color, texture, and form can be achieved through torn paper collage

Introductory Activity

Students start by looking at the torn paper collages of the two artists, Elisabeth St. Hillaire Nelson and Nancy Standlee. Students then do a brief investigation into one artist including a brief biography, a discussion of media and techniques, then an analysis of one of their artworks using relevant art elements. Following this, they’ll produce some line drawings of birds from the internet, then a detailed tonal and textural study of the bird they choose.

Lesson Process

Students crop an image of their chosen bird to the same shape as their board, then print on A3 paper (11.7 in x 16.5 in). Students transfer the shapes and blocks of color onto the board with carbon paper, outlined in a black permanent marker, before painting the shapes. Following this, students collect and prepare their colored paper by tearing and creating piles. Students paint newspapers to create their own colored paper for collaging. The teacher can encourage them to use a fork to scratch into the paint and make textural feather-like lines. Students then begin gluing and developing the collage until completion. After the collaging is complete, students dry brush paint to the backgrounds.


collage, papier collé, dry brush, color, value, texture, foreground, background


Elisabeth St. Hillaire Nelson
Nancy Standlee

Author & Website/Blog

Kingsley Gray

Supporting Images