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Futurism and Drawing Animations: Sketching Movement – A Rainy Day Lesson Plan

This project helps students to discover a creative way to enjoy times when they can’t go outside.

Choose an animation that the students will like. Madagascar and Aristocrats spring to mind.

Madagascar might be chosen because of the clever use of the spiral in the drawing of each and every character throughout the movie. The Movie Aristocrats offers examples of beautiful gesture drawings. Especially instructive for students are the drawings which dance across the watercolour backgrounds in the Introduction to the movie. In this animation the sequences of movement to music make the movie fun to watch and provide a wealth of rhythmical movement for the students to capture.


  • Visual Diaries
  • Pencils, erasers, sharpeners
  • Pencil case full of class room drawing materials. (Anything will do. Crayon, Felts, Pastels, Crayolas) Keep it simple so that they can stop and start the activity through wet lunches and wet weather times.


  • Watch the film for a while with the students.
  • Stop the clip and talk to them about Futurism and explain what it is
  • Ask them how they capture movement and rhythm on paper
  • Ask them to only use their pencils to make marks as whisper lines when they are starting out. This means they will not be worried about mistakes and can gently change lines at will
  • Tell them to dance with their pencils lightly
  • Locate a spot in the movie that the students really like. It might be the music lesson in Aristocrats or the dancing sequence to the song “I like To Move It Move It.”in Madagascar
  • Play their favourite sequences time after time while the students create moving drawings (Gesture Drawings)
  • Give them ample time and creative space to have fun – no need to rush as they are whiling away wet weather time any way
  • Have a check in from time in the style of Appreciative Inquiry (Prep and Primary Kids call this an Art Gallery) When you do this look at gesture lines, look at how movement has been captured and through the discussion move them towards the next stage which is –


  1. Choose beautiful lines and darken them, amplify them, keep the fluid quality of line
  2. Draw their attention to techniques cartoonists use when indicating movement in comic scripts
  3. Allow this stage of the process to develop naturally and individually
  4. Students may think of novel approaches – encourage this creativity

Moving Towards Abstraction

  • By talking with the kids about the quality of line and the way movement is captured you have led them gently towards the subtle world of abstraction
  • Capitalise on this intuitive loosening movement by turning of DVD or Video and ask them to work into and develop their drawings with colour
  • You can take these beautiful drawings further by inviting them to take the work to canvas and to paint with acrylic. (they could glue down textures in the style of Futurism too)
  • Encourage them to massage the surface and to delve into it exploring tension and movement