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Op Art Shaded Shapes

Op Art Shaded Shapes
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Students learn about “Op Art” and then create a picture (optical illusions) that can play tricks with the eyes.

By: Mrs. Brown from

Op Art

When something plays tricks on your eyes it is called an Optical Illusion. Op Art is artwork that plays tricks on our eyes.

Artist M.C. Escher is famous for having created lots of different kinds of Op Art.

Examples of MC Escher's Op Art.

Bridget Riley is famous for creating Op Art that looks like it is moving. Sometimes it hurts your eyes to look at it for too long.

Examples of Bridget Riley's Op Art.

Examples of Bridget Riley's Op Art. Examples of Bridget Riley's Op Art.

What You Need:

  • 9″x12″ white paper
  • Sharpie markers
  • pencil crayons
  • notes on Op Art (see end of lesson plan)

This lesson takes (on average) three 60 minute class periods. / Ideal for Grade 5.

Start by drawing a curved line across the paper with a Sharpie marker.  Think rolling hill… not roller coaster!

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 1.

Add 8 dots across the line.

They should be different lengths apart.

You need a dot close to the edges of your paper.

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 2.

Start connecting the dots with bumps.

The lines from the dots close to the edge will go off the edge of the paper to an imaginary dot.

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 3.

The lines will eventually go off the top and bottom of the paper .

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 4.

Fill the whole paper.

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 5.

Pick a group of colors you feel work well together (2 or 3).

Using pencil crayons, fill in the spaces. Press harder in the corners. As you get near the top of each bump, press lighter and lighter.

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 6.

Continue until the work is complete.

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Step 7.

Op Art Shaded Shapes - Examples.

Lesson plan used with the permission of Mrs. Brown of Mrs. Brown’s Art.

Op Art

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Op Art was an art movement which occurred in the 1960s. It was a time when the artist was very much interested in the idea of creating movement on a two dimensional surface by tricking the eye with a series of optical illusions.

“Op” for “Optical Illusion”
“The birth of Op Art began officially with an article in Time Magazine. In 1964, Time Magazine published an article featuring an art movement involving optical illusions. Since the artists focused on eye manipulation, Time Magazine coined this new movement “Op Art”.”
~Source Modern Masterworks

Important Artists:

  • Riley, Bridget
  • Stella, Frank
  • Albers, Josef
  • Poons, Lawrence
  • Noland, Kenneth
  • Vasarely, Victor
  • Anuszkiewicz, Richard

Also see: Op Art Bulletin Board

Recommended Books:

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