Fall Still Life Exercise

  • Art & Art History
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 1-3
  • All Ages

Use fruit, fall gourds or any 3D objects and learn how to set up and draw a still life picture.


  • Paint Brushes Triangle Handle
  • Watercolor Paint Palette
  • 3 Gourds, in assorted shapes and sizes
  • White Card stock
  • Pencil
  • Black Marker


Step 1. Gather your supplies.

Painting Gourds


Still-life exercise


Step 2. 


Arrange your gourds on the table in front of your workspace in an interesting way. Try a few different arrangements, including overlapping your objects. Begin drawing the gourd that is closest to you, in this case it’s our white gourd. Discuss with children all of the different shapes and sections that they see in each form. A gourd might start out as a simple oval shape but then all of the interesting bumps and wrinkles may be added to the form. This is a great exercise in observational drawing for children!

Simple still-life drawing for children


Step 3.


Begin drawing your second gourd. in our example, we added the large dark green gourd, which is resting on top of the first white gourd.  As the second gourd is overlapping first, we erased some of the lines previously drawn for the white gourd. This shows the second gourd in the foreground and the first one behind it. To learn more about foreground, middleground and background, click here.

How to draw gourds


Step 4. 


Draw the final gourd, in this example, the yellow gourd. As the yellow gourd is behind the white gourd, you may need to erase the lines of the yellow gourd to show it is behind it in space. This puts the green gourd in the foreground, the white gourd in the middleground and the yellow gourd in the background.

Still life exercise


Step 5.


To complete, create a festive border, phrase or additional shapes on your design. Use a black marker to outline your final drawing.

Painting a simple still life for children


Step 6.


Paint your picture using your watercolor palette. Tip: for a fall theme, use warm colors, such as oranges, reds, and yellows to complete the picture. Click here to learn about additional watercolor techniques that can be done on your picture.



Capture all the festive colors and shapes of fall by sketching a still life masterpiece!  

Gourd-geous Art: Still life art depicts non-moving objects of all shapes, sizes, and colors — like the gourds you’re using for this project! Before your students begin sketching, ask them to describe the gourds as a way to plan what they’ll capture on paper.    Still Life Lesson: From a vase of flowers to geometrical shapes, every artist infuses their unique style in still life art. As a class, compare the similarities and differences between two popular still life pieces with the help of the Getty Museum!  

Still life drawings don’t always need to be festive! Once your students finish this Autumn-inspired project, continue exploring other still life art. Pick a new topic to focus on, like “Objects On My Kitchen Table” or “Items By My Nightstand,” and have each student bring a few small items from home. Working with all kinds of shapes and sizes will allow them to explore new dimensions in their art!