10 Art Sub Lessons that only need a Pencil

By The Arty Teacher - November 17, 2018

No teacher wants to be off school.  You know your students make more progress when you are there and no-one takes care of your materials and room like you do.  In reality, I like to lock everything away and leave work that only needs a pencil.  Having said that, with art being trimmed and trimmed from the curriculum in recent years, every second counts and I still want my students to make progress.  Hopefully, these 10 art sub lessons will help to reduce your workload and be prepared. The art worksheets below all:

  • Come with a lesson plan.
  • Link to commonly taught themes
  • Are tried and tested.
  • Teach valuable skills.
  • Only need a pencil.
  • Are only $3 or £3
  • (Or are much, much less when you subscribe).

Click on the image to purchase the resource.

Converse Grid Drawing

Encourage beautiful drawing with this converse grid drawing. Ideal as part of any drawing module or this would make an excellent homework or cover lesson to improve drawing skills. There are two versions of this grid drawing.  One where the grid lines are already in place, and one where your students draw the lines using the little marks on the edge as a guide.

10 Art Sub Lessons

The Circle Game

A great art cover or sub lesson.  Students think creatively and turn the circles into different drawings on this one-page resource.

The Circle Game Cover Lesson

Copy the Pattern

A popular, one page, cover/sub lessons that required all students to copy the pattern accurately. Includes lesson plan.

10 Art Sub Lessons

Inspiring Hogarth

Your students will be inspired by the characterful faces in Hogarth’s engravings!  This worksheet and lesson plan asks students to create a page of detailed drawings inspired by the faces they can see on the worksheet.  This is an excellent resource to encourage detailed observational work and will link to many portrait projects.

Draw faces sub lesson
10 Art Sub Lessons

Drawing Dreams

The drawing dreams art lesson below is great for encouraging creative, imaginative drawing. You could also use this lesson to link to Surrealist projects as the Surrealists were sometimes inspired by their dreams.

Drawing Dreams

Drawing Fruit

This drawing fruit worksheet is a must-have for natural forms projects.  High-resolution images work well in colour and when photocopied into black and white.  Use it as a sub lesson or integrate it into fruit or natural forms projects.  The accompanying lesson plan is written as a sub lesson and includes a scripted paragraph for a non-specialist.

Drawing Fruit sub lesson
10 Art Sub Lessons

It’s all in the Eyes!

We all teach portrait drawing units of work, so it’s good to have a portrait sub/cover lesson in your bank of resources.  This drawing eyes sub lesson is ideal.

10 Art Sub Lessons
10 Art Sub Lessons

Cross Hatching Burger

This one-page resource with lesson plan asks students to practise creating tones/values with cross hatching and then to draw the burger using cross hatching.  This has been created as a sub/cover lesson but could also be used as part of a food project. The instructions suggest using a pen but these could also be completed in pencil.

Cross Hatching Burger
10 Art Sub Lessons

Draw the Butterfly

Draw the Butterfly sub/cover lesson is a super-useful download and will link to lots of projects you already teach.  Perhaps you already have an insect project or natural forms project? There is a worksheet that suggests pencil and another that suggests coloured pencil.

Draw the Butterfly
10 Art Sub Lessons

The Knot Challenge

Students love a challenge and ‘The Knot Challenge’ is certainly that!  The lesson plan comes with a script for non-art-specialists so you can use it as a sub/cover lesson too.

10 Art Sub Lessons

10 art sub lessons is a blog post about sub lessons but you can find many, many more art sub lessons on The Arty Teacher website.

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Zentangle Art Lessons

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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13 responses to “10 Art Sub Lessons that only need a Pencil”

  1. Lydia says:

    Hello, These lessons are amazing. Unfortunately neither any sub of mine nor my students could ever make any of these projects without my direction. They are simply too detailed, involved and require the student to have been studying in a class with students that are attentive and a strong art teacher for years to be able to do these successfully. They are simply not realistic for a sub to do. And you are not alone, I see very FEW sub lessons online that a sub can do with my students.
    I teach in a school where many of the kids have not had an art class with a regular teacher for years. And the subs are often random people in the school who cover the class. Thank you for the wonderful ideas though. I’ll work them into my curriculum when I am able to teach them. 🙂

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Lydia, Thank you for your comment. I’d be interested to know what age group and what sort of school you teach in. It sounds like you are facing a challenge if many of your kids have not had an art class with a regular teacher for years. That would be very unusual here in the UK. Poor kids! I’ve used these sub lessons successfully in high school with mixed ability classes. Please do email me if you can thinks of ways that I can broaden what I offer.

  2. Audrie trammell says:

    Great ideas

  3. Naqiba Gregory says:


  4. Cindy La Ferney says:

    Do you have any sub plans that might be a little bit less detailed? I teach 5 year olds to 11 year olds (grades kindergarten to 5th) in the states. Thanks..Cindy

  5. Piper Placencia says:

    Once I purchase a lesson, how does it come? A hard copy in the mail or digital and I print it?

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Piper, If you purchase a lesson it’s a digital download and you would need to print it. Sarah

  6. Julie says:

    These look so helpful! Thanks

  7. Janet Taylor says:

    Thanks, these are terrific!

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