Art Lesson Plan: El Greco: Drawing Tall People

Making a masterpiece like El Greco’s tall figures is easier for students when they use a magazine picture and cut it apart to   s-t-r-e-t-c-h   it.  They trace over it to end up with a very tall person.  The finished El Greco drawings are true masterpieces.

El Greco - Drawing Tall PeopleObjectives:

  1. learning about different artists
  2. imitating the work of different artists
  3. tracing magazine picture


  1. old magazines where students can cut out a whole person’s body
  2. rulers
  3. scissors
  4. tracing paper
  5. pencil crayons
  6. white mounting paper (ordinary paper), at least 8 1/2″ X 11″ or larger, depending on size of magazine picture once “stretched”
  7. white background paper to glue finished picture to
  8. glue sticks


  1. Show students pictures of El Greco’s tall drawings.  Give them some El Greco Background (see below) and let them know that they will be creating similar El Greco works of art.  Give them a brief outline of what they’ll be doing:  finding a magazine picture, cutting it apart neatly, gluing it down, connecting and filling in stretched parts, tracing it and redrawing it, then mounting it on a background sheet.  I show them an example or demonstrate it.  (You can have it partially done – cut in strips, glued on and filled in, then you can trace a little and show them how it will look “stretched” out.)
  2. Student’s look through magazines and select a full-body picture and cut it out.
  3. Using a ruler, students draw lines to divide the photo at least 6-10 times, at the body joints at least.  The face can be cut up around the eyes, around the nose, through the forehead…  The idea is to “stretch” the person’s body to make it look very tall and thin.
  4. Starting at the top, cut the picture apart, careful to place the pieces in order on the mounting paper.  Leave about 1/4-1/2″ between the pieces.  When finished, if the picture looks “stretched” enough, glue the pieces onto the mounting paper, being careful to match sides and keeping the spacing at a consistent 1/4-1/2″ between pieces.  If not,  more divisions can be made.  Only glue down picture pieces when satisfied.
  5. Use the pencil crayons to match the two sides of the picture, filling in the gaps to make the picture whole again.  (This doesn’t have to be exact color matches or time consuming because it’s only an interim step.)
  6. When coloring is complete, cover with tracing paper and draw the tall person in it’s new tall form.  This is the good copy, so coloring must be complete and neatly done.
  7. Glue completed tall picture onto background sheet.
  8. Post of bulletin board with a note about El Greco’s life (see below), your learning objectives (as stated above), with a title, “Grade 1 and 2’s   S-t-r-e-t-c-h their artistic talents to bring you   E-l   G-r-e-c-o   T-a-l-l   O-n-e-s “.

El Greco Background

Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known as El Greco, which means “the Greek”, moved from Greece to live in Spain and was a painter, sculptor, and architect.  He drew religious pictures for churches and cathedrals.  The people in his drawings were taller and thinner than real people and he believed that showing feelings was more important than showing people as they really were.

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