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“Everything Has a Purpose”: Acrylic studio workshop for Oasis Skateboard Factory

April 22, 2011

by Sophia Lee

title page

The Oasis Skateboard Factory is an educational facility that is constantly growing and gaining attention from all across the school boards. The uniqueness of this facility is the fact that students are able to create, design and get sponsored for their board on wheels. They designs graphics for both skateboards and longboards, earn credit while also gaining opportunities and experiences that other schools’ students could never imagine. This facility is the place that proves to everyone that students can create positively mind-blowing work when they are given proper encouragement. Because the students at the Skateboard Factory have a history of one to several failures in their previous high school, it is a haven for those who have lost their path of learning.

One aspect that must be kept in mind while creating this lesson was all of the students felt there was “no point” in the assignments they were given in their previous high schools. Having heard that, it is evident that the instructions and the assignments given to these students were hard to relate to the everyday stress that they bear in mind. However, through the Skateboard Factory and seeing both the process and outcome of each assignment they complete, these students have found new hopes in earning their final credits. Furthermore, the surfaces that they create their graphics are wooden boards and they predominantly use spray paints as their medium. Since spray media has a wider radius of application compared to conventional brush tools, the students must create stencils for their boards. Acrylic is a great medium they could also use because it adheres to wooden surfaces. By learning to control the brushes, students can directly apply colour to their board without the creating stencils. Creating stencils can take long period of time. Though it will most likely be wise to create stencils for some parts of the design, having to create each and every aspect of a design into stencil will be a great headache. This will promote less detail in a design due to the fact that there is a deadline to be met. Thus, reminding these students of the different uses of acrylic will widen their choices and methods to approach their designs. Through this they will learn to create designs outside of their conventional stencils and obtain greater freedom to apply their ideas onto future boards.

Lesson Plan pt.1           

Objectives: Introducing and familiarizing the students of Oasis Skateboard factory to Acrylic paints.

Method: 3-step Exercise with Acrylic on Illustration board. Students will be given structural instructions during exercise to give them more understanding as to different application of acrylic.

Time: 75 minutes.


  • Illustration boards (17”x11”)
  • Standard Acrylic paint set (primary colours, black, white, and white gesso)
  • Brushes (flats, rounds, liners and stencil brushes)
  • Toothbrush
  • Sea sponge
  • Stencils

Outcomes: Students will be more comfortable with the idea of using acrylic. By showing examples of different application of this media, they will be able to create further extensions of their future designs and promote multimedia through using spray paints and paintbrush. This way, they will have greater options to approach their designs.


1) Exploring and having fun with Acrylic (20 minutes)

This part of the Exercise will be a great warm up to familiarize with acrylics. Students will be instructed to apply paint onto their illustration boards while changing water levels and mixing different colours to achieve variety of hues. In this section, they will explore how the paint’s saturation can change with different water levels and discover the perfect amount of dilution to create the desired application of each colour. They will be encouraged to use different shapes and sizes of brushes, sponges and even their hands to spread the colours into their ideal look. The purpose of this part is to make a mess of colours with no actual form to create the background and base for their next step.

In the example, I have used primary yellow with wet brush, then raw sienna with dry brushing. After I decided to combine red and purple to dab cloudy patterns using a sea sponge.

2) Stenciling with Acrylic and How to layer paint (25 minutes)

Students will be instructed to put a second layer of paint with pre-made stencils provided. They will have a choice between alphabets for those who love graphics and stencils of critters  (animals, bugs and nature) for those who enjoy symbolistic representation. This part of the exercise will be teaching how students can constantly layer colours with acrylic.

They will be instructed to do a base coat of their stencil with white gesso before applying their colours of choice. This is to promote authenticity of the colour and the form of the stencil to pop up in the swirl of background they produced in the first part. After the gesso has dried, the students will then be encouraged to keep layering on stencil colours to achieve desired affect.

In the example I laid out all of my custom cut stencils to decide my position of the graphic. I then applied the white gesso, and then purposely aligned the stencil a little off to keep the white layer visible. This creates more focus on the graphics, letting the white act as a shadow and popping the graphics up on the background. I have used purple as my first colour layer then finished it off with black, continuing to misalign the stencils.

3) Special Effects (30 minutes)

The last step of this exercise is to add more elements of their current work. This part will be similar to the 1st step in which that they will be continuing to explore different methods of applying acrylic, but the difference is that their work must be carefully thought out and planned to further bring out their stencils by adding special effects. Students are given toothbrushes to achieve sprays, sponges to create abstract blotches and thin brushes to clean up and or draw. They could also purposefully use highly diluted colours to drip the paint.

For the example, I sprayed the illustration board using a toothbrush with white paint then black.  I continued to add thin wispy lines using black around my graphics to promote liveliness and flow of my design. My work still looked unfinished so I have decided to use black again to create splotches of dripping paint. Add more wispy lines, and finished.



How well has the student followed the directions of the exercise? (   /4)

Has the student explored variety of colours outside of the colours given? (   /4)

Does the work show methodical and clean application of stencil? (   /4)

Has the student achieved unity in overall composition? (   /3)

Total:    /15

Next steps:

Since students have better familiarized with themselves of the usage of acrylic, they will need to practice further with different painting techniques. Because the exercise I have planned is for the sole purpose of introduction, being able to be comfortable with acrylic without clear instruction will take further practice. Thus they will be given the second illustration board where the students will draw and paint without the use of stencils.

Homework and Prep for Next Lesson:           

Students will be asked to brainstorm and provide thumbnail sketches of a subject matter that they are truly passionate about. They will be asked to answer the following questions:

“What makes life worth looking forward to?”

“Your favourite animal?”

“Your favourite saying?”

“Was there an image that you always wished to see but have always remained within your imagination?”

“Is there a situation and/or a concern that you’d like to express?”

The students will need to do research on their subject matter that they will like to draw for the second illustration board. They will be required to do at least 6 thumbnail sketches. Note for this homework is that they will need to stay away from the 3 G’s (No ganja, guns and gangs).

Evaluation: Check mark for Brainstorms and Thumbnails.

Lesson Plan pt. 2           

Objectives: Further Practice with Acrylic by creating a work of art of the student’s own freedom using acrylic on the second illustration board given. Students will not be allowed to use the stencils and will be instructed to do a pencil outline of the image they wish to paint.

Method: Continuation of previous lesson, Students will be given less instruction compared to the first exercise to promote freedom to explore how they would like to use acrylic.

Time: 75 minutes x3 (3 classes, or full day of practicing if permitted)


  • Illustration boards (17”x11”)
  • Pencils and eraser
  • Standard Acrylic paint set (primary colours, black, white, and white gesso)
  • Brushes (flats, rounds, liners and stencil brushes)
  • Toothbrush
  • Sea sponge
  • Wooden boards

Outcomes: Students will be more comfortable with the idea of using acrylic. By applying the different application of acrylic learned from previous lesson, students will continue to practice acrylic and refine their painting skills. Through continued practice they will be able to learn how to better manipulate the acrylic media and gain further control to produce the images and designs in their minds without the restriction of stencil making.


Students will create a pencil drawing of an image that they wish to paint under the guidelines of 3 G’s. The 3 G’s are a rule that Craig has set up and they stand for No Guns, No Ganja and No Gangs. The image they create can be as detailed a student wishes however they will be encouraged to create a subject matter that they will be excited to paint. Homework was given in the previous lesson where students had to research what they wish to draw on the second illustration board:

“What makes life worth looking forward to?”

“Your favourite animal?”

“Your favourite saying?”

“What is an image that you always wished to see but have always remained within your imagination?”

“Is there a situation and/or a concern that you’d like to express?”

These questions were asked in order to help students brainstorm their desired image. They are questions that address what each student would like to express. By drawing something they find exciting, the students of the Skateboard Factory will be more inclined to paint it. This way they will not be hesitant to do the exercise as the subject matter should be easily related to each students. Thus the students will have a better motivation to further practice with acrylic, which is the purpose of this lesson.

Students will be instructed to do a basic line drawing of the image they have selected on the illustration board using pencils. This part should take no longer than 20 minutes. Then they will need to carefully plan out the colours. When they are confident of the colours they planned out, they will start to apply the colours as desired.

As an instructor, I will continuously go around the class to help out students if they need help and also to make sure they are on track.

Note*: Since students have a different work pace, for those who finish earlier than others, wooden boards will also be prepared to be handed out early. This way, students will be able to practice further on a surface that simulates that of a skateboard while maximizing class time.

Acrylic will act differently depending on the surface of the medium. The exercises have been on illustration boards, which will soak up the colour pigment even when the paint has been diluted. On the wooden boards given at the end of the lesson they will learn that compensation has to be made for the different surfaces, especially since wood will less likely to soak up the colours compared to illustration board (particularly for treated wood surfaces, which most skateboards are).

The wooden boards are originally prepared for the students to promote further practice on their own time with acrylic. They will be encouraged to try out using both spray paint and acrylic on the wooden boards. Hopefully they will see how spray paint and acrylic work together like a gem.


How clear is the subject matter portrayed? (   /4)

Does the work show originiality? (   /3)

Does the student show clear understanding of the media? (   /4)

How well was the student able to create and use colours to his/her ability? (   /4)

Total:   /15

Next step: Students’ self-motivated practices of acrylic. Continue to practice and add acrylic as the next go-to medium!!

Works Cited


“Basic Lesson Plan.” usask. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr 2011. <;.


Morrison, Craig. Oasis Skateboard Factory. Blogspot, 2008. Web. 16 Mar 2011. <;.

“Skateboard-Decks.” Keep your face Radical. Web. 7 Apr 2011. <;.

Tauchid, Rheni. The New Acrylics Complete Guide to the New Generation of Acrylic Paints. New York: Watson-Guptil Publications, 2005. Print.

To see lesson plan complete with images click here: Lesson Concept

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2012 12:12 am

    Acrylic is this sort of a versatile and well-known material with a wide range of organisations and merchandise. It is typically favorite to use instead of glass, acrylic has several characteristics that glass does not. It may be a very little extra to get at primary, regardless, more and more men and women however favor to use acrylic. It is truly quickly shaped which really will help if the use for acrylic has a incomparable function. Countless aquariums in sea life centres and so on are generated from the content, this is more than likely as of how trouble-free it is to form it is also truly effective and unlikely to shatter. Acrylic is also a whole lot added opaque in comparison to glass, this would make it less complicated to see as a result of in comparison to glass, wonderful for hunting at all the fish!

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