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Henri Matisse was a famous French painter who inspired other artists with his use of bright, vibrant colors. When Matisse grew older and could no longer paint with a brush, he began to create a new kind of art. He studied leaves and other forms from nature. He then cut out these shapes from colored paper. He called this technique “drawing with your scissors.” He arranged the shapes on his paper creating beautiful and balanced designs. This kind of art is called collage.


scissors ~ glue ~ pencil
assorted pieces of colored paper
large sheet of paper
raw fruits or vegetables, leaves, shells or other items from nature

"Organic" shapes are shapes that are inspired by looking at nature. Using a pencil and paper, carefully look at your various nature samples and draw what you see. Start with the basic outline of the shape. Do you see an oval, circle or triangle? Look carefully at the corners and edges. Draw any jagged or wavy lines you see.

Now try using your scissors to cut out the organic shapes you drew with
your pencil. First select a color of paper. Try cutting your shapes free-hand
without drawing it first. Try this several times, cutting out your shape
in big and small sizes. Then try cutting the same shapes out of a variety
of colors of paper. Remember it’s okay if it doesn’t come out exactly the
same every time. This will make your collage more interesting! Now use
your scissors to cut out geometric shapes like rectangles, triangles or squares.

Arrange your shapes on top of a large piece of paper. Try to create balance.
Don’t place everything on one side of the paper or the other! Move the shapes
around several times. Try overlapping them and mixing them up. When you find an arrangement that you like, use glue to attach the shapes to the paper.

Hang your collage on the wall for display or try hanging your art on the window.
The light will shine through your design and bring your creation to life!

To learn about the artist watch Matisse: The King of Color by Laurence Anholt on You Tube.

Click here for a printable PDF.

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