Pastel Cactus Drawing

Pastel+CactusOne of my favorite combos is blending chalk pastels over dried glue. I’m always on the lookout for new subject matter, so when I saw this cactus illustration, I knew it would make a great image, and allow for some simple shading practice.


1. I used 9″ x 12″ black paper, but recommend something larger for 1st or 2nd grade students. I had to really be careful to keep my glue lines from touching each other, so a larger format would make it a lot easier.

2. After drawing the cactus in pencil,trace all the lines with white glue.

3. When dry, use chalk pastel pencils to fill in the cactus. I decided that the light source was from the left, so I used a light green on all three left sides of the cactus, and a dark green on the right. I also had a medium green to fill in the middle, but you could just used two colors that meet in the middle.

4. Fill in the sky, ground and rocks with single shades. To finish, a little white pencil made highlights on the cactus, and a little black made a ground shadow for it and some rocks. Spray with a sealer or hairspray when complete.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Four
2.1 Use shading (value) to transform a two-dimensional shape into what appears to be a three-dimensional form (e.g., circle to sphere).

4 Responses

  1. featherbed

    this is a great project, I love how you used black paper to show thru the glue!!!

  2. Alex

    We did this project today and loved it. Thank you for the great instructions!
    I posted about it on my blog if you’d like to see.

  3. Sue

    I have never tried glue and chalk drawings before but I will give it a go with my group as one of my activities on Monday.

  4. Charlene

    Considering I teach in Phoenix, this is perfect!!!! I love glue and chalk drawings!

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