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Middle School 2D Studio

Middle School 2D Studio Art

Do you like to draw, paint, or take pictures? Whatever medium you prefer, this course will teach you the design elements and principles needed to create a work of art and explore your artistic inspirations. You’ll also travel back in time to look at art in different cultures and learn about the art of critiquing. Let’s turn your creative dreams into reality!

Review Course Outline

Units at a Glance

Unit 1: Breaking into 2D Studio Art

Let’s close our eyes and picture that we are in an art studio. What do you see? Do you see a clean pile of paintbrushes; a rainbow of paint colors lined up together in a row; a canvas on a table, with the beginning drawings of a meadow blooming with flowers? An art studio is where art is born. It is where we can use our creativity and expression to design an image that is currently only inside of our heads. We can share our ideas, feelings, and visions with the world through our own works of art. In order to reach our full artistic potential, we need to start with the basics. After all, you need to walk before you can run.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand colors, and how to create colors using the technique of mixing.
  • Classify colors into different categories.
  • Discover assorted tools used to create artwork.
  • Explore various art mediums to get unique looks for your artwork.

Unit 2: Detailing the Design

Let’s face it, creating art doesn’t typically come with a book of instructions. In fact, the exact opposite is likely the case! As an artist, you’re often left to your own creative devices, having to decide what to create and how to create it. But, if there was an instruction manual on “how to be an artist” or “how to create a work of art”, the elements of design, principles of design, and elements of content would be the main parts of the first chapter. These are the tools each artist uses during the process of creating a work of art. They put all the little pieces together, and create a completed drawing or painting. This is vital information you will need as you journey to become an artist, so get out your pad and pencil to take some notes (consider this your own personal chapter of your “how to be an artist” instruction manual).

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify the elements of design.
  • Distinguish between the different principles of design.
  • Understand the elements of content and how to use them in your own artwork.
  • Use art vocabulary to correctly describe different elements of your artwork.

Unit 3: The Creative Process of Art

Just because we aren’t physically in an art studio at this very moment doesn’t mean we can’t learn all about art as if we were! In this unit, we will gather all of the information we can about creating art as if we were in an actual studio. We will explore different types of genres and styles that many artists use and learn about the differences between representational and abstract art. We’ll learn and practice different tricks and techniques to make our own art shine. And, we will discover ways to connect art with other subjects to bring fun, creativity, and exploration to all learning areas. We may not be stepping into an art studio to do this work, but we sure will step into a digital one! Let’s get started!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify different genres in the art world.
  • Distinguish between representational and abstract art.
  • Relate art genres with other academic subjects.
  • Learn about famous artists and their exploration of particular genres and ideas.

Unit 4: Art and its Early Importance

Think about your life from when you first started school until now. You have grown and learned so much in the past years! What you knew and the way you acted in kindergarten is so different from what you know and how you act now, but the information you learned in those early years shaped you into the person you are today. This act of growing, changing, and maturing is also something that has happened in the world of art! This unit is going to look at art in some of its oldest forms. We’ll take you through the Stone Age into ancient Egypt, China, and Central America to see where and how practices commonly used today originated. We’ll also discover how these early influences shaped art into the subject we know and love today.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Examine ancient art from all over the world.
  • Learn how our early ancestors/artists created works of art.
  • See into the lives of people from years ago by their art they left behind.
  • Discover ways in which ancient art influenced how we create art today.

Unit 5: Everyone’s a Critic

EVERYONE’S a critic. Hearing the word “critique” can be quite scary, especially when someone else is critiquing your work. Knowing that someone is going to look at (and judge) the beloved piece of art you spent so much time and effort on, brings forth many feelings. Nervousness (what if they don’t like my work?!), judgment (they are going to think my art is terrible!), or embarrassment (I don’t want anyone to look at my art!), might all come to the surface. However, critiques shouldn’t be scary! In the art world, critiquing is an important part of the artistic process. Critiques are not meant to actually criticize but rather to provide new ideas, help artists improve their art, and let us better understand and describe pieces we are studying. We critique not only our own work but also the work of others. So get rid of your former fears of critiquing and jump into this unit knowing we are going to master the process of critiquing to improve our own artwork and help others improve theirs as well.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand what critiquing is.
  • Discover why it is important to critique.
  • Learn the critiquing process.
  • Use art vocabulary during the critiquing process.

Unit 6: Discovering Culture Through Common Themes

Just as people around the world are different in the best ways, so is their art! Different cultures bring different views and practices to their artwork, which makes viewing art around the world special and interesting. By looking at some of the common themes seen in different art forms throughout the world, we will develop a better appreciation for different cultures without even having to renew our passport! While on our journey, we’ll also have the opportunity to look at different people and places around the world, learn a little bit about their cultures, and see a few examples of how they bring their own creativity to art. Climb aboard! This train is leaving the station!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Talk about common themes that are used in art throughout the world.
  • See how the theme of daily life in art can show us differences in the cultures and lifestyles of people around the world.
  • Understand how art can freeze a moment in time and give us the opportunity to look back on historical moments.
  • Learn about celebrations and rituals that incorporate 2D art.
  • See how the beauty of nature inspires artists throughout the world.

Unit 7: Where Art Lives

Once a masterpiece is created, what happens to that piece of art? Where does it go? Art museums are a great place for us to visit famous pieces of art and see them for ourselves. There are also several other places you can go to see art—we’re going to learn more about these options and the proper etiquette to follow while viewing artwork. We’ll also discuss what you should do with pieces of art you personally create and love. Should you just throw them in the back of your closet to collect dust? No! You need to exhibit your art for yourself and so others can enjoy it as well! Remember, art can be found in many places, whether that be in an art museum or hanging on your own living room wall!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Discover best practices for visiting an art museum.
  • Understand proper etiquette for visiting an art museum.
  • Learn about other places art may live.
  • Explore reasons why we create, collect, and exhibit art.

Unit 8: Finding a Career Path Through Art

Did you know that one day you’ll be able to use your creative talents to make money? We have fully submerged ourselves in the world of 2D art, not only learning how to create art, but also how to look at, critique, and appreciate artwork created by others. If creating art, or even enjoying art, is your passion, you can turn that love into a career! Get ready to take a closer look at some of the career paths you may choose from in the field of 2D art—the opportunities are endless!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Explore the possibilities of future careers in the field of 2D art.
  • Learn details about particular jobs and what they might look like as a career choice.
  • Understand the different educational paths required to break into these careers.

Required Materials

  • Various sizes of white drawing paper
  • Various sizes of colored paper
  • Paintbrushes in varying sizes
  • Empty cans or jars to wash paintbrushes
  • Rules and/or protractor
  • Erasers
  • Scissors
  • Miscellaneous household objects to use for still life art
  • Digital camera, camera phone, or other type of camera


Paint: (at least two or more of the following)

  • Tempera Paint
  • Watercolor
  • Oil Paint
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Ink Wash


Drawing Tools: (at least two or more of the following)

  • Pastels
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Charcoal
  • Colored Pencil
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