Abstract Art Guitar or Music Instrument Mixed Media Lesson

abstract guitar mixed media lesson

Abstract Guitar Mixed Media Lesson Abstract Guitar Mixed Media Lesson

Cubism is an excellent art movement to teach children about abstract art. Abstract are is different than non-objective art (see below). This lesson is geared towards 1st-4th grade students, but can be adapted to any level above 1st grade. My Cubism Instrument Oil Pastel and Collage Art Lesson is the adapted cubism music instrument lesson I do with my middle school and high school students.

Supplies: 2 sheets of 9×12″ construction paper-diff. colors, glue, charcoal & white pastel, Aqua Net hairspray







  1. What is the difference between non-objective and abstract art?
  2. Non-Objective Art- Art that is not representational, containing NO recognizable figures or objects. The elements of art (lines, shape color, etc.) are the main subject. In other words, you don’t look at it & see a person or a dog or a flower.
  3. Abstract Art- In abstract art the artist takes recognizable objects or figures and changes them so they no longer looks realistic. The artist may leave out details, shift the point of view, exaggerate size, simplify or otherwise distort the image.
  4. Abstraction Techniques:
    1. Change the viewpoint, have multiple viewpoints.
    2. Change the colors to unrealistic colors.
    3. Distort the images: shrink, enlarge, stretch, pull, twist, etc.
    4. Cut the image up & re-position it on the picture plan.
    5. Collage additional materials onto the surface.
  5. Look at Pablo Picasso’s painting “Violin & Grapes”. Notice how he has abstracted the recognizable shapes by cutting them up, changing the viewpoint & changed the colors (muted). Cubism is a excellent example of abstraction in art. (Pablo Picasso Biography)

Instructions: Abstract Guitar (Length 6-7 30 min. class periods)

Choose an instrument (Saxophone, guitar, violin, piano, tuba, trumpet) to have as your main subject matter. Symmetrical instruments work the best for this project. I chose the guitar, so the rest of the directions are based on a guitar.


  1. Choose 2 sheets of 9×12″ construction paper, I used brown & grey, but really you could use any 2 colors. Paper for Abstract Guitar
  2. Fold the papers in half vertically & draw half of the body of the guitar. half paper abstract guitar
  3. Cut out the shapes while they are still folded in half.
  4. Cut the body in half down the fold line so you have a total of 4 half guitar shapes.
  5. With the same color halves facing the same direction (as in the picture above), use charcoal to color & smudge around the curved edge of the piece that will go in the back. Next use white chalk/pastel to draw an outline only (don’t smudge) around the curved edge. Also on this front body draw a half circle & fill it in with black charcoal. On the next color paper, turn them over so they look like they would complete the body. Repeat the same instructions to the other color halves.
  6. Cut “necks” out of construction paper. My strips were 2″x8″ long, then I used a paper crimper to give it some texture. The kids LOVED doing this part!! You can also lightly rub charcoal along the crimped paper to show the lines better. Make 2 necks. guitar neck
  7. Glue the black edged body to the front body. Also glue the neck onto the bodies. Abstract Guitar
  8. Spray the guitars with “Aqua Net” hairspray to keep the charcoal/pastel from coming off. (This works for all charcoal & pastel drawings!)


Supplies: music sheets (one per child), 12×18″ white Tag board, watercolors, black oil pastels

  1. Pre-cut music sheets into triangles (older children can do it themselves). Do NOT make them all the same size or shape! I got my music sheets from our music teacher-she was going to recycle them & I asked if we could have them for collaging.
  2. Give each child 3-4 music sheets. Have them glue them to a 12×18″ sheet of tag board. music sheet collage
  3. Use an oil pastel to draw dividing lines across the background. I told students to follow the edges of the music sheets & continue the line until it hit the edge of the paper. If it looked like the lines were going to run into another music sheet, then just skip over the music sheet & continue the line on the other side. You can even add circles to brake up the space more. collage music sheet
  4. Using watercolors, choose 3 colors to paint the background. Try to repeat the colors without having the same color right next to it. Here are 2 examples. Abstracted music sheet background
  5. Finally, glue the guitars to the background. Play around with placement until you find the most interesting one, then glue it down. Cut off any extra necks that are hanging off the edges.

This lesson was created by Michelle C East. If you choose to re-blog or use this lesson in any way (written or photos), then please make sure to link/credit to Create Art with ME.

    • Ditte

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