Unity is a principle of design that means that all of the parts of the picture look like they belong together. In a still life, a bowl of fruit can have unity if all of the shapes are circles, and all of the items have something to do with a kitchen. In a landscape, unity is achieved when all of the parts have the shadows of sunset, and are in keeping with that location. Unity is not achieved when, for example, a sail boat rests on a desert dune, or when one object is a bright intense color and all the rest of the items are dark shades mixed with black. Unity is the opposite of contrast.
Students in fifth grade and up can explore unity by making a tracing picture. It also meets the Cub Scout requirement to use a stencil. To make this project you will need:
- White paper
- Soft pencil
- Colored drawing medium such as colored pencils or markers
Tracers are flat plastic objects that can be traced to make a contour shape. They can sometimes be found in the party supply section of a store, outlets like Oriental Trading Company, or children’s art supplies. They can be found in all kinds of shapes; animals, dinosaurs, etc.
Tracers can also be other objects that can be used to make an outline. Old CD’s, poker chips, plastic lids can all be used to trace circles. Fun foam shapes used for holiday decorations come in pumpkins, acorns, leaves, Christmas trees, shamrocks and hearts. Tools such as cookie cutters or scissors can also be used for this project. The item should have a recognizable outline; scissors look like scissors when traced, but a paperclip is just an oval.
To make the areas big enough to color, choose tracers that are at least three inches wide. Very small tracers will make very small spaces.
Choose one object to trace. Trace around it several times, overlapping the lines. Choose a color palate that also has unity; primary colors, colors of the rainbow, dark shades, pastels, etc. Color in each area a different color. The result will look like a non-objective picture at first, but upon closer inspection, the viewer will see the outline and recognize the object.
Sunshine State Standards:
VA.A.1.2.1 Uses and organizes two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, techniques, tools and processes to produce works of art that are derived from personal experience, observation or imagination.
- The student demonstrated an understanding of unity by choosing one object to trace.
- The student demonstrated an understanding of unity by choosing a color scheme.
- The student made a nice arrangement using previously taught principles of design: balance.
- The student traced the object by running a pencil along the edge.