Art Education

Lesson Plan

Subject/Title: Color Theory Unit: Op Art Complementary Color Designs
Grade Level: 8-12

Goal: To enhance students' understanding of complementary colors while increasing their skills in mixing and paint application or in their application of colored markers.

Objectives: Students will produce an "Op" art design that uses complementary colors.

8x10 pieces of cardstock (or white sulphite if cardstock is not available)
Tempera paint, brushes
Rulers, compasses, circular objects
Colored markers


  1. Review terminology: complementary colors are those opposite each other on a color wheel.
  2. Look at examples of "Op Art" designs and discuss.
  3. Explain that they will be producing Op art designs that use complementary colors.
  4. Pass out paper and have students develop designs. ("Practice paper" is a good first step in planning their design.)
  5. Using straight lines, intersecting circles, etc., lightly pencil in a design that is both interesting and similar in style to "Op Art." Code color arrangement by lightly writing in first letter of color. For best results, erase pencil letters before painting light colors.
  6. If desired, students may work their name or other word(s) into the design.
  7. Student may either paint their designs with tempera or use colored markers.


  1. Completion of project/following directions.
  2. Even and smooth application of paint or marker.
  3. Interesting, challenging design.
  4. The emphasis on this project is to challenge students' craftsmanship. The most effective designs show hard-edge relationships between the colors.

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