Lesson 3: Line 2: Exploring line (Original scheme)

Inspired by water and the artwork of Zaria Forman, children continue to explore lines but in a more expressive way. They will be using music to draw lines and marks that reflect their response to what they hear, creating a large collaborative piece.

Learning objective

  • To explore line and mark-making to draw water

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught:

  • To develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space, to use drawing to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination
  • Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design

Success criteria

  • I can use different materials and lines to make different types of marks, reflecting what I can hear in music.
  • I know that there are many different ways of drawing lines, and that they feel different to make, and that they look different
  • I can add plants and creatures to bring art to life 
  • I can evaluate my art and the work of others using the language I have learnt

Cross-curricular links


  • listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded


  • Animal, including humans: Identify and name, describe and compare the structure of common animals  including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammal

Before the lesson


This lesson is inspired by the artist Zaria Forman


  • Teacher video: Making waves
  • Pupil video: Making waves
Teacher video: Making waves

Pupil video: Making waves

Have ready

  • Pupil video: Making waves
  • Music on the theme of water e.g. Claude Debussy’s ‘La Mer’
  • Link: Zaria Forman - Maldives'this is an external website and we do not have control over its content – please check before showing it to the children.
  • A roll of white paper or lining paper
  • Masking tape to secure the paper to a row of tables
  • A range of materials: HB pencils and softer pencils (2B or 3B), coloured pencils, chalks, pastels, oil pastels
  • Aprons or painting shirts

Attention grabber

This is a great warm-up activity to get pupils used to standing up around a shared space and table. 

To enable pupils to work next to one another along both sides of a long table, you may have to split the class into groups – depending on the shape and size of your classroom and furniture. 

Play a piece of water/river/sea-themed music, such as Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ and ask pupils what colours they are imagining while listening to the music and what kind of lines would best represent water. 

Key questions:

  • What did we learn about lines in the previous lesson? 
  • What lines represent water, in a swimming pool, or a pond, or the sea, or a river? 
  • What colours do you think we would see?

Ask them to use their hands and arms to ‘draw’ the lines in the air, or respond to the music in their sketchbooks, using and thinking about what they have already learnt about lines in the previous lesson.

Main event

Show pupils a range of the work of Zaria Forman

Zaria Forman - Maldives'

Ask the children to describe how the artist has used different materials to represent water.

Key questions

  • What sort of lines are they?
  • Does it look like water?
  • Is water an easy thing to draw or paint?
  • How does light change the way water looks? 

Play the music again. On the paper you have laid out,  ask the children to draw big lines representing water. Set up a space for yourself so that you can demonstrate this and join in with the activity too! Give them approximately three minutes to work, encouraging them to connect to each other’s lines.

Now the children are going to work into the lines they’ve drawn, using a variety of different techniques. Take the class through the mark-making you expect of them and show them how to work into the lines by:

  • Using the different materials available and in different ways 
  • Demonstrating what dark/light, thick/thin, wavy/straight and broken lines look like.
  • Considering which colours to use.

Before playing the music again, ask children to look at and reflect on what they have done so far and make sure their lines connect to those drawn by the people on either side of them.

Then give the children a direction as to what material or line type they should be using/making when the music starts. Using music helps here because, like a game of musical chairs, they only draw when the music plays! 

Play the music while the children work, then stop it again to give another instruction and repeat, until a variety of materials and techniques have been used. 

Use the Pupil Video: Making Waves for further demonstration, and/or have on whilst pupils are working independently, for them to refer to as they work (the video is looped so will play continuously). 

When the water looks complete, ask the children what might live in the sea/river/water? Pupils’ suggestions of creatures/plants/shells etc can now be drawn in the blank spaces (these could be drawn on separate pieces of paper and added at a later session if you’re short of time).

You can adapt this activity by, like musical chairs, requesting that children change places and pick up where one of their peers left off.

Pupil video: Making waves


Pupils needing extra support: may need to be encouraged to use a range of materials and draw using big, wider arm movements.

Pupils working at greater depth: will control the materials more effectively and create more accurate work. Encourage them to develop greater detail in their drawing.



Wrapping up

Ask the children to wash their hands and put the materials away safely.

While they do this, make sure the table is clear so that only the work(s) created can be seen.

Then ask the class to walk around and talk about the effect of the large artwork and to point out interesting areas. You can be specific with questions, for example: show me a wavy line, show me a soft line.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Experimenting with a range of mark-making techniques able to respond to the music appropriately. 

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Linking their marks to others and responding to the music and the work of the artist and able to evaluate their work and the work of others.



  • Wavy

  • Waves

  • Water

  • Lines

Created by:
Susan Coles,  
Art and Design specialist
Susan is an educator, artist and an active advocate and well-known champion of art craft and design education. Her roles include: Secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Art, Craft, Design Education, Past President, and now Honorary Fellow of the…
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