SPACE Illustrations – 10 year olds


After the rain forest mural project I had a strong sense that the 60 young artists needed a complete break from observational drawing. I set a new topic that complimented our term’s topic of SPACE.


I created a power point showing some stunning photographs taken by NASA of black holes, nebula, galaxies, butterfly nova , etc. I showed them a couple of examples of Zentangles, and lastly they looked at a some, monochrome illustrative drawings like this and especially this.

The purpose is to INSPIRE, STIMULATE, DISCUSS, and enter the realm of imagination.

ASK QUESTIONS LIKE…What do you see here? (chat on your tables/with your partner) What do these remind you of? Does it give you a certain feeling? Can you see an end and a beginning? What’s interesting about it? Which is your favorite and why? Highlight to them that pattern does not finish at the edge of the paper. It is free. There is no right and wrong.

They will need: Square paper (2 small and 1 large-I cut up A4 sheets), 4 different thicknesses of black Berol pens (hand writing thin one, thicker gray one and the broad red ones. Plus a very thick one.), some inspirational material on each table and on white board e.g. space photos, illustrations etc. NO PENCILS!

After an engaged discussion you can get them going by taking them through how to do this Zentangle star called an Auroknot. Do it on the scrap little squares, or on the big one.(Remember Zentangles are copyright so you’ll have to bear that in mind).

I really enjoyed teaching myself this Auraknot and the children will find it a challenge but fascinating. It sets the standards high and gives them a starting point.

Invite them to use the Space reference pictures to start their own space inspired illustration. You can show them my one if you don’t have time to do your own!


(Please note that the Auraknot in the centre is taken from Zentangle how to video and I do not claim it as my own work. The surrounding images are my own! This was purely for the purposes of education and not for financial gain.)

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The main pattern below was inspired directly from Zentangle’s Mooka, purely for the purposes of education and not for any financial gain.


I showed the children some of these patterns on the white board and they worked them out with me on their little squares. I demonstrated how to make a tube look curved and 3D, and I gave them ideas of how to fill area with pattern.

The children absolutely loved the lesson and continued to finish their Space illustrations during break time duties, and other little moments throughout the day. Here is some of their work in progress.

IMG_1550 Every now and then, stop the class and remind them of composition, drawing the person’s eye around their picture and most importantly balance. Use your hands as a way of showing a weighing scale and show how a very large dark area on one side of a picture can unbalance the work.

Challenge the children to silently stand up, tuck their chairs in, and with no comment or facial expressions, wonder around the room to see what other people have been working on. Reward them if they can do this maturely!IMG_1549


I was blown away by their ingenuity, and creativity. No one struggled with this out of the 60 children, and very often the children who did not shine so much during the rainforest mural project, certainly shone here!

During this lesson I had a table with two marbling trays, every one took two minutes out of their lesson to have a go at Space inspired marbling. We then displayed the work like a chequerboard in school, which received many wonderful compliments.


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As they did the marbling they were encouraged to remember the theme of Space and use the black holes, galaxies, nebulas to explore with the marbling. You can really see the space influence in these pieces.

NB There is the temptation to call these doodles. They are not doodles, they have  purpose, meaning and are the catalyst for further developed work.

Space illustration

My next post will show how this project progressed to incorporate calligraphy, pattern and illuminationIf you need any advice, have any suggestions or wish to share photos of your class’s work,e then pleas don’t hesitate to contact me below.


2 thoughts on “SPACE Illustrations – 10 year olds

  1. Pingback: How to improve school children’s handwriting. | flaircreationsblog

  2. Pingback: Islamic symbols, Hand of Fatima & creativity with children | flaircreationsblog

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