Lesson Plan: Miriam Schapiro Mixed Media Action Figure

Miriam Schapiro Action
Figures Collage

Submitted by: Kathy Barger,
Welch Elementary, Cincinnati, OH
UNIT: Mixed Media - Collage - Portrait - Figure Drawing
Grade level: 5th grade (adaptable grades 3 through 8)


OBJECTIVES: The student will:

  • Complete a mixed media composition using the human figure with correct proportions

  • Become familiar with marbleizing as a craft

  • Create a figure that has been inspired by one their favorite activities (real or imagined).

  • Use cut paper to create their figure in an abstract and stylized manner

  • Become familiar with Miriam Shapiro

  • Will understand the meaning of collage

  • Will force their figure to become the focal point through the manipulation of color, pattern and size

  • Students will know the difference between realistic, and abstract art.

1 2



The learner will:

4.2.1 Explore and expand the range of possibilities that materials and procedures have and apply to the making of art forms.
5.2.1 Explore a technique by practicing it, researching it, and basing its artistic merit in the work of an artist.
5.3.2 Speculate about and research the common characteristics found in a specific artist's body of work.
     • Adapt a technique, process or art form from another cultural group to produce art work
      which is relevant to the individual or to her cultural group.


    - 8.5"x11" (21.5 x 28 cm) white
Bond paper . or Watercolor Paper . - Marbling Kit - Acrylic Paint .
    - Large deep trays for fluid -
Drawing Pencils . - Sequins variety of specialty papers
    - Wallpaper -
Glitter . - Scissors . - Optional: Watercolor Paint . / Brushes . /toothbrushes
    - Handouts on figure drawing - Colored
Construction Paper . - White Glue .
    - Practice
Drawing Paper . 8"x11" (21.5 x 28 cm)- Gold and silver Metallic Artist Pens . - Optional: Glitter . /confetti
    - Sport drawing-action figures packets for each table -ass’t sticker gummed shapes
      Alternate Marbling :
Shaving Cream (see lesson) - or Oil Pastels . or soft Pastels .


     - "
Rondo " . prints by Shapiro - Steps for project
Miriam Schapiro Biography   - Art and Man magazine on Shapiro (May 1993)
Miriam Schapiro | More links


-proportion -Miriam Schapiro
-collage -complementary colors
-mixed media -focal point
-contemporary -subject matter
-contrast -realistic/-abstract


  1. Students create a background with Marbling Kit (or other marbling technique) OR try spatter paint with tooth brush, wet in wet watercolor. Optional: Create a border paper using a different technique (on larger construction paper) - or find patterned wall paper that coordinates to "frame" finished work.

  2. Practice figure on 8 x 11 (21.5 x 28 cm) drawing paper. Use as guideline for finished figure.

  3. Plan figure from assorted papers - mix solids with patterns.

  4. Glue figure in place

  5. Embellish negative space with glitter accents if desired

  6. Optional - Mount onto larger paper with patterned border.


  1. Rubric on figure proportion - use of design principles/elements - variety of collage materials used - creativity - craftsmanship



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