julianna kunstler logo
surrealist landscape

mixed media
Instagram icon

by JuliannaKunstler.com

WI State Standards:

  • AA Cr11h
    Plan: Formulate original concepts by practice, experimentation, and revision. (planning/experimentation)
  • AA Cr12h
    Make: Create works of art that introduce students to media, care of tools, and basic craftsmanship skills.
  • AA Pr10h
    Develop Meaning: Curate a body of work incorporating personal, historical and contemporary art to communicate one or more points of view.
    (aesthetics / communication)

Learning targets:

  • Use planning (sketching) to develop a unique outcome
  • Create an original artwork
  • Combine multiple media to achieve an aesthetic effect.
  • Learn about surrealism
  • Create an art piece in surrealistic style
  • Exercise drawing trees
  • Learn to paint with bleach
  • Learn to achieve a necessary value using bleach over a black surface
  • Learn to apply highlights and shadows on a black illustration board
  • Learn to use oil pastels and pencils to add depth
  • Exercise and demonstrate use and mastery of the elements of art
  • Exercise and demonstrate use and mastery of colored pencil drawing and shading techniques
  • Demonstrate understanding of color values and chiaroscuro pattern.

Draw a surrealist landscape that includes:

  • Depth - background, middle-ground, and foreground
  • At least three trees
  • All objects should look three-dimensional and realistic in appearance
  • Drawing should be surrealistic in nature - dream-like subject matter

Media to use:

  • Black illustration board
  • Bleach
  • Oil pastels
  • Colored pencils
open in a new window


tree drawing
tree imagination



Spend 2-3 hours sketching surrealist landscapes.

Your landscape should include:

  • At least 3 trees
  • Landscape should be surrealist

Visual characteristics of surrealism are:

  • The element of fantasy
  • Metaphysical atmosphere
  • Dreamlike imagery depicting mysterious environments and landscapes
  • Representation with almost photographic precision. Hyper-realistic rendering of form and volume
  • A distortion of reality with contradictory elements and random associations
  • Eccentric, shocking, and mysterious
  • Eerie creatures and fantastical forms from everyday objects
  • The use of the visual form to express and translate the unconscious
  • Experimental techniques and forms such as collage, mixed media, doodling, etc.

Final sketch should look realistic, but "with a twist". Create a dream-like reality.

Research surrealists and their artwork for inspiration.


Sketch should be turned in as a part of the grade.


Draw your landscape on a black illustration board.

Your drawing should be based on your sketch.

Use HB or H pencil:

  • very fine lines
  • no shading

Add as many details as you can at this point.


Use a regular household bleach to lighten up some areas, to support the light source, and to create textures.

Use a small scrap piece of the same type illustration board as your drawing to practice the bleaching technique.

Use a brush or a cotton swab to apply bleach.

Make sure you wash brush really well after you are done to prevent the bristles to deteriorate.

Give it some time for the bleach to "eat" the color. It may take up to a minute or more.

The lightness of the bleached area will depend on the amount of bleach applied.

Always let one layer (or wash) dry completely to reveal the actual color before you apply a next layer.

Make a cup of diluted bleach for the areas that you want to be lightened gently.

Start with water, then add a little of bleach.

You can control the intensity of the bleach power by adding more water or bleach.

Different manufacturer illustration boards will result in different bleached color.

It depends on the dyes that were used in the process. So always try the czme brand scrap piece as your main drawing.

Some boards are more resistant to bleach than others.

Bleach strength may vary as well. So always try first!

You can use bleach to add texture to your trees.

You can emphasize this texture later with colored pencils.

colored pencils & oil pastels

Use color pencils for coloring details and backgrounds.

You won't be able to use oil pastels for small areas and stay precise.

Leave oil pastels for the foreground textute or simple backgrounds.

Keep in mind that you can use oil pastels over colored pencils, but not the other way around.

  • Use small pencil strokes
  • Blend and mix multiple colors
  • Strokes should not be obvious - they should support the form of the object and its texture

Apply colors, values, and textures to the trees - make them look round.

Each tree and its parts should have at least 3 values:

  • highlight
  • light
  • shadow

Treat each part of a tree as a cylinder - apply values to support the "roundness" of the tree and its parts.

Do not outline your objects - use value contrasts and shadows .

Keep the light source and light-and-dark pattern consistent throughout the drawing.

Make sure that if your light is coming from the right, all shadows should be on the left, etc.

That should be applied to all objects.

Apply colors, values, and texture to the leaves.

Remember how to draw tree? (here)

  • Tree crown should be three-dimensional, not flat.
  • Tree crown can be any color

Details will make your drawing a success.

Use oil pastels to color close-up objects.

Pastels are also great for foreground or background.

  • Oil pastels should create contrasts and color blending.
  • Use only small strokes when working with oil pastels
  • Use at least 2-3 colors for each shape
  • Use oil pastels to support the forms (different values) and textures (strokes)
WI standards Grading Rubric
standard no evidence beginning emerging proficient advanced


planning / experimentation

No preliminary sketches were made

Assignment does not show enough evidence or is missing

No evidence of careful planning.

A sketch was made.

Artwork is based on a sketch.

Does not demonstrate effort and attention to details.

Artwork is based on multiple sketches and research;

Artwork is unique and creative.

Artwork demonstrates accurate planning, effort, attention to details.

Artwork demonstrates an extensive research and practice;

Work represents an advanced use of elements and principles of design. Student displayed an outstanding effort in regards to application and understanding of the content.

Artwork shows individual style, careful planning, multiple revisions and attention to details.



Assignment does not show enough evidence or is missing

Student somewhat followed the process. Some steps are skipped or incomplete.

Work requires major improvement.

Student mostly followed the process.

Work shows some skills and basic/partial understanding of the process.

Student followed the process exactly as the instructions specified.

Work shows proper use of skills and techniques

Objects are realistic - appear 3D

Coloring and other value techniques (bleach painting) support the realistic effect

Student followed the process exactly as the instructions specified and, in addition, the piece exhibits evidence of creative experimentation beyond the required task.

Craftsmanship and attention to details are flawless;


aesthetics / communication

Assignment does not show enough evidence or is missing

The artwork communicates little effort and personal emotional involvement in the process.


Student tried using elements and principles of art to solve the aesthetic task.

Some areas need improvement.

Artwork shows individuality and effort.

The artwork displays a clear meaning and style of the assignment.

Artwork communicates surrealism.

Student went above and beyond in the use of Art Elements and Principles to convey a clear message, showed understanding of the task, and solved the task in the most creative way.

Artwork shows individuality and emotion involvement.