One of my favorite combos is blending chalk pastels over dried glue. When I saw this cactus illustration, I knew it would make a great image and allow for some simple shading practice.



  • Black construction paper, 9″ x 12″ or larger
  • White glue
  • Chalk pastels
  • Spray sealer (optional)



  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. Important: Let dry flat or else the glue will run and make messy lines.
  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.