Abstract Design with Markers

This project offers a great oppor­tu­nity to intro­duce the work of abstract artists Robert & Sonia Delau­nay. I first saw this idea almost 20 years ago — I have no idea where I got it from, but I’ve used it almost every year since then and its always been a hit! The results are con­sis­tently amaz­ing!!
Direc­tions:

1. With your paper laid hor­i­zon­tally in front of you, draw 6 straight lines (in pen­cil) from top to bot­tom, ver­ti­cally or diag­o­nally, but not cross­ing each other.

2. Next, draw cir­cles over these lines, over­lap­ping each other and some­times going right off the page. (We used plas­tic lids recy­cled from yogurt and sour cream con­tain­ers, etc., but you could also use a com­pass to draw your cir­cles.) Focus on cre­at­ing inter­est­ing shapes and a bal­anced com­po­si­tion, but avoid cre­at­ing shapes that are really small.

3. Now choose two con­trast­ing col­ors (or one color plus white) and color your design in an alter­nat­ing pat­tern. Work­ing ver­ti­cally, color one “col­umn” at a time. Begin with the shape in the top left cor­ner and work your way down the first col­umn, alter­nat­ing your col­ors as you go. When your first col­umn is com­plete, move on to the next one, mak­ing sure to alter­nate your col­ors from left to right as well as top to bot­tom, so that match­ing col­ors only touch at the cor­ners! Work from top to bottom, left to right, one col­umn at a time until your design is com­pletely col­ored in.

You can also try this project with other shapes in addi­tion to cir­cles, just make sure you start by cre­at­ing your ver­ti­cal “columns” first! The biggest chal­lenge with this project is to avoid hav­ing any two shapes with the same color touch each other, other than at their cor­ners. The trick is to color method­i­cally, work­ing top to bot­tom and left to right, one “col­umn” at a time! Some­times plac­ing a small dot of the appro­pri­ate color in each sec­tion before fill­ing in the whole area can help to avoid “accidents”!



Rhythm, Joy de Vivre” by Robert Delaunay
and “Rythme Colour I” by Sonia Delaunay

Robert Delau­nay (1885–1941) and Sonia Delau­nay (1885–1979) were hus­band and wife artists (from France and Rus­sia, respec­tively) who co-founded the Orphism art move­ment, known for its strong col­ors and geo­met­ric shapes. Their work, which included paint­ing, large murals and stage set design, often looked strik­ingly sim­i­lar to each other’s. Sonia out­lived her hus­band by many years and went on to design dresses, fab­rics and interiors.

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One Response to Abstract Design with Markers

  1. Toni June 20, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    so lovely and so easy:-) This would make a cool dads day gift.

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