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Art on Experimental Surfaces

By The Arty Teacher - March 25, 2024

The artworks below are created by the students of talented art teacher Rachel Steffan. She used the download you can see here, but I was delighted to see how she differentiated the task for her students and allowed them to push it further, make individual choices and using experimental surfaces. She told me:

“I had to share these drawings with you!  I was excited about your stippled skull project but needed to amp it up for 2d art as many of the students are highly skilled and needed a challenge. Some followed your steps if they didn’t feel confident but others free-handed skulls which they chose themselves…”

experimental surfaces

Rachel gave her students the choice of different techniques, such as cross-hatching, stippling, or scumbling, and encouraged them to be experimental with surfaces. “Some used book pages stained with coffee, others drew on plain white or stained white paper,” she said.

experimental surfaces

She told me that the cat skull drawing above is not only from direct observation but also the skull of the student’s beloved pet, who died last year. It is very sad, but wonderful when art is meaningful to the student.

Drawing on a collaged surface
Stippling on experimental surfaces
experimental surfaces

Rachel teaches at West Branch High School in Morrisdale, Pennsylvania. Her 2D Art students are aged between 15 and 18. 

Stippling drawing of a skull

Boosting students’ confidence in drawing is important. “My students loved this project! And because transferring was an option, it gave some of them a confidence boost as we head into drawing from observation,” she revealed. 

experimental surfaces
skull on experimental surface

If you’re looking for artists who work on experimental surfaces, Ekaterina Panikanova and Kristy Patterson both use book paper. Artist Mark Powell works on maps, old letters, and postcards.

experimental surfaces

Popular Resources with Experimental Surfaces

The first resource shown below is the resource art teacher Rachel Steffan used with her students. All the resources below use experimental surfaces.

Stippled Skull on Book Paper
Drawing Star Anise
Jim Dine Tools on Packaging Art Project
Drawing a Lobster with Different Media

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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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2 responses to “Art on Experimental Surfaces”

  1. Rachel Steffan says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Sarah. I shared your blog with the students today; I’m so proud of them. 🙂

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