Still Life Exercise

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



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.

Further Discussion: 

This lesson plan can be adopted for drawing other objects besides gourds.  Try and choose objects that relate to each other in both size and subject.  When drawing fruit, pick similar size items, such as example, a pear, banana and an apple. Tip: groupings of odd number objects often works well together to create a visually interesting design.

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