Beyond the Border Art Lesson

Beyond the Border Art Lesson

Beyond the Border Watercolor & India Ink Project

My Beyond The Border project is geared toward middle school art & high school art classes although could be modified to upper elementary art. The placement of the focal point is important in this project, so we used the Rule of Thirds to position the area of emphasis.  Placing the focal point in the Rule of thirds made it more natural for the subject to extend out into the borders.

Prior to starting the project we reviewed Watercolor Painting Techniques and Pen & Ink Techniques.

Beyond the Border Watercolor & India Ink Project

FREE Beyond the Borders Project Lesson Handout PDF 2015 (Click)

(Copyright Michelle C. East-for classroom use ONLY- not to be copied or reproduced for any other reason!)

Beyond the Borders Project Lesson Handout 2015Project Objective:

Create a 2D mixed media art piece that explores the expansion of the main subject matter that is in the inner rectangle branching into  the border around it-going beyond the border. The main subject should remain in color, but everything else turns black & white outside the main rectangle.


  1. Choose on your subject matter (suggestions: butterflies, insects (colorful), birds, sea animals-with flowing fins or tentacles, flowers, candy (spilled candy!).
  2. In your sketchbook, draw a rough sketch of your design. Place your focal point in the Rule of Thirds. (Quiz Grade)
  3. Start with the outside border, then draw an interior rectangle.
  4. Creatively & selectively expand part of your design onto to the outside border.
  5. When you have your final design approved by me, you may begin on the final paper.
  6. Begin LIGHTLY drawing your interior rectangle by measuring 3 1/2” in from each side.
  7. Draw your main subject matter in lightly.
  8. Add your back ground extending ONLY PART of it to the edges of the paper. (visually, I recommend at least 3 sides)
  9. Paint your main subject with watercolors.
  10. Apply India ink to the subject matter (outline & add details) & to the area beyond the border (this part will ONLY be black & white- can use hatching & cross-hatching, stippling or other Pen & Ink Techniques to show value changes & textures).

Here are some beginning examples from my high school art class. They are painting now, then will draw with pen & ink. They are looking so awesome!

Ink and Watercolor Creatures Student Examples:

Teacher Examples:

Teacher Example (unfiinished)

Teacher Example (unfiinished)

Beyond the Border Art Lesson

If you choose to use this lesson (written or photo), please reference back to as this is my original lesson. This lesson is copyright by Michelle C. East and is not to be reproduced or used in any way except for classroom use ONLY!) It is not for sale or resale.

Let me know how the project goes for you or any alterations/improvements you made in the comments below– I am ALWAYS trying to improve my lessons for the students!! ~Michelle

  1. Jessica
    • micheast
  2. J. Spengler
      • J. Spengler
  3. Amanda
  4. Mandy
  5. Roberta
  6. Sarah
  7. Desiree Willson
  8. Diane

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