Linear Shoes

Year Levels: 1 – 6


with Kylie Wickham

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Click Here to download Lesson Plan



In this activity, students will use observational drawing techniques to the mark making effects that can be achieved with line. Students will experiment with mark making and using different drawing mediums to achieve a variety of outcomes in their drawings.

Note from the Presenter:
This is one of my favourite drawing lessons and the student outcomes are always wonderfully surprising. Often, we get caught up with making our drawings perfect. This lesson is not about being precise and making a “good’ drawing. This activity teaches students to loosening up and embracing risk. Helps students see they can achieve awesome results with different methods of working.
This process is about speed, observation (really looking) and using line. Observational drawing is drawing what you see.
Seeing and drawing become one, your eyes and hand work together.


Art Elements & Principles

Line, Shape, Colour


Learning Objectives

Students will:


  • Enhance their observational drawing skills
  • Use seeing skills
  • Increase their hand-eye coordination
  • Experiment with line and movement
  • Build confidence with using line
  • Learn to be non-precious with work by overlapping line to create interest effects
  • Experiment with different ways of working and using time as a constraint




Create Artwork

Step 1: First let’s organise our space as we are going to work fast.


  • Set up a timing device.
  • Have your paper readily laid out.
  • Choose one shoe from a pile of 4-5 shoes.
  • Have a variety of drawing tools (different pens, pencils etc) readily accessible at your side.

Step 2: Set your timer for 30 secs

Step 3: Choose any of the drawing mediums.
Focus on one point on the shoe and as soon as the timer starts, start to draw.
You need to connect you hand and eye (Try to think that your eye and your drawing hand are connected. Wherever your eye goes, your hand follows)
Do not worry if things don’t match up or are not the correct dimensions or are a little bit wonky.

Step 4: As soon as your drawing of the outside of the shoe is complete. Start with the details of the inside of your shoe until time is up. Draw as much as you can in the set time.
When time is up you must stop.

Step 5: Now change shoes.
Change drawing tools (mediums) but keep the same piece of paper.

Step 6: Set the timer again and repeat the drawing activity, working on top of the previous drawing. You must not worry about drawing over the drawing underneath and pretend it is not there.

Step 7: Now change shoes again.
Change drawing tools (mediums) but again; keep the same piece of paper.

Step 8: Set timer and repeat drawing on top of previous drawings. Still pretending there are not two drawing underneath. Stop after this third drawing your work is complete. Set aside.

Step 9: Repeat this process doing three drawings on top of each other. You may change the time to 60 seconds, as this will allow for more detail.

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Step 10:Linear Shoes Pink Mix 250x333 Create rules and challenges for yourself!


  • Try doing up to four drawings.
  • You might restrict yourself to using only one black pen
  • You might restrict your colour choices e.g. only primary colours or only complimentary, warm or cool colours

Step 11: When you complete several drawings, you could choose to draw one shoe with no time restrictions. Really looking and trying to draw it as detailed as possible.

Step 12: Remember to relax, play some music and have fun!
Your mindset is important when working.
This activity is designed to be practiced. It is a fundamental drawing activity, that will help students build their observational drawing skills.


Discussion / Reflection



  • How did you feel about the time restrictions?
  • Did working to time restrictions help your drawing?
  • Did you have a preference to certain drawing tools, and do you know why?
  • Look at all of your drawings and the different lines and outcomes. What do you see?



Materials & Equipment


  • A Variety of Shoes (3-4)
  • A3 Paper
  • Assorted Drawing Mediums:
  • Greylead pencil
  • Coloured pencils
  • Crayons
  • Oil Pastels


*Recommended to use Colour Slicks; These are best to draw over the top of as they dry to the touch and are non-smudgeable.


  • Assortment of pens/markers;
        Felt Tip Markers
        Different Nibs (thick, thin, chisel, bullet)
      Calligraphy pens




Related Artwork, Links & Sources


  • Henri Matisse is a great artist who used a single line with incredible beauty and confidence.
    Research some of this works such as his Still Life series of fruit and flowers 1941-42, or his linear portraits and doves.



  • Pablo Picasso also did fantastic linear drawings of portrait and animals.



  • Australian artist John Perceval has brilliant energic linear drawings.



  • Look at different artists from different countries and eras and investigate how they handle line within their unique drawings.





Share Your Outcomes!

How did you go!? We’d love you to share your artwork with us on Facebook or Instagram!


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