Art Lesson Plan: Name Art

Name ArtPractise using rulers to make straight lines…horizontal, vertical and diagonal in this pretty art activity.  Students use rulers and pastels to make their NAME a thing of linear beauty…literally!  Pastel coloring reinforces their knowledge of lines, because all their diagonal lines must be one color (maybe orange), all their horizontal lines another color (might be red), and all their vertical lines another color (maybe yellow).  Also, the three pastel colors students choose must consist of 2 primary and their resulting secondary color.  The results are amazing.


  1. Knowledge of diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines (SEE LESSON “Line Hunt“).


  1. Practise drawing straight lines with a ruler
  2. Practise drawing diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines (and identifying each with a specific color).
  3. review of primary and secondary colors

Materials for each student:

  1. ruler
  2. pencil
  3. four oil pastels for each student (black, plus 2 primary and the resulting secondary colour, eg. red and yellow, and orange, or blue and yellow and green)
  4. for each student, white bristolboard cut like a hot dog into strips about 9″ high and about 24 or 30″ wide  (AHEAD OF LESSON, lightly print each student’s name in straight lines to fit within 1 1/2″ from border.  Trim off  excess width.  Do an example one of your name.) **older students can print their own names.
  5. Chartboard with the words and examples drawn, for review:  diagonal, vertical, horizontal (can be covered up when art begins)
  6. newspaper, to cover student desks
  7. for each student, kleenex or paper towels


  1. Discuss with students the meanings of diagonal, vertical, and horizontal.  What things are diagonal in the room, in the world?  (ladder leaning against the wall)  What things are vertical?  (sides of buildings, Spiderman can climb vertically)  Where do you see horizontal lines?  (line where the wall meets the ceiling, the “horizon” where the sun goes down).
  2. Review what secondary color results from which primary colors.  Students will use 3 colors, plus black.  Two colors will be primary and the third color will be the resulting secondary color, if the 2 primary colors were mixed.  For example, blue and red, and purple… and yellow, green.
  3. Show students your example art with your name on it (eg. SARA).  USE A RULER and a pencil.  Show students how to hold the ruler firmly and draw lines EXTENDING the outer lines of your name to the corners of the bristolboard.  Eg. if your name begins with an S, you will have 5 lines extending from the edges of your name.  The line from the beginning of the S can go vertically, filled to the left with vertical lines.  The 3 lines extending from the left side of the squared-off S can go left horizontally, with the resulting spaces filled with diagonal and horizontal lines.  The line extending from the bottom of the S can go straight down vertically and be filled with vertical lines.  The point of this is to create sections which the students fill in with lines.  Each touching section has different lines filling it.  If the second letter was an A, the 2 lines from the top of the A get extended right and left forming a triangle and might be filled with diagonal lines, following an upward side of the triangle.  The bottom 2 points of the A might get extended straight down, vertically and filled with horizontal lines.  The space between the “S” and the “A” might get filled in with diagonal lines, going right to left and top to bottom.  Tell students not to press too hard and not too lightly.  You want to be able to see the lines to trace with pastels, but if they make an error, they need to be able to erase it and not have it still showing.  THE IDEA IS TO USE ALL 3 TYPES OF LINES, SO THAT THERE ARE SMALL AREAS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF LINES ALL AROUND THE PIECE OF ART (more aesthetically pleasing/looks better, especially when colored).
  4. If there are any errors or crooked lines, have students erase them before beginning with pastels.
  5. (Name will be outlined in black at the end of the coloring, so that it will not be smeared around picture.)  After you have done 2 letters, so students get the idea, use an oil pastel to carefully trace the lines within the section.  Carefully, use a kleenex or paper towel to gently smear the entire area so that it is colored in.  For example, all the diagonal lines above the S might be orange, the horizontal lines to the left of the S might be red, and the vertical lines beneath the S might be yellow.  (On your piece of art:  ALL diagonal lines will be orange now.  ALL horizontal lines will be red now.  ALL vertical lines will be yellow now.  Whatever colors students choose will remain the same for all 3 types of lines on their work.  Other students may choose different colors for their lines, but all the lines need to remain the same on that piece of artwork. ) TELL STUDENTS NOT TO TRACE THEIR NAME IN BLACK UNTIL ALL THE COLORING IS FINISHED.  DON’T EVEN GIVE THEM THE BLACK PASTEL UNTIL THEY’RE DONE COLORING THE REST.  Tell them to pretend you are finished coloring the entire artwork example, then show them how they will color their name in black (color in the S and A
  6. Desks are covered with newspaper.  Hand out their name art bristolboard, plus oil pastels.  They choose the 3 they need, then pass the box on.  They have their pencil, eraser and ruler out at their desk.  They begin drawing their lines.  Teacher goes around checking and recording their knowledge of lines and secondary colors, ensuring they have chosen the correct 2 primary colors and resulting secondary color.  Ask students to show you a horizontal line.  Which lines are diagonal?  (they should all be the same color)  What’s the name of this line?  What are your 2 primary colors?  (what secondary color do red and orange make?  WRONG primaries)  What pastel is your secondary color?
  7. When students have finished coloring their entire page, they may have their black pastel to trace their name.

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One Response to “Name Art”

  1. Excellent idea to get them thinking!! Also, the note about not handing out the black pastel until the end is genius!! There’s always ONE 😉

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