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Easy Black and White Op Art Drawing Tutorial

This simple step-by-step tutorial will show beginners how to create an easy Op Art design with only a few materials.

black and white op art drawings.

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We love using art movements and other famous artists as inspiration for our lessons. We are working to cover a broad range of artists, from Laurel Burch to Monet we love talking about artists with children.

What age is this project for?

This easy drawing is perfect for children older than 8 years old or 3rd grade or higher. With adult assistance, younger children could complete it, they just might need help marking where to color.

Adults will also like making this fun drawing and can add more detailed shapes or designs if they want.

Explaining Op Art To Kids

Have them guess what they think “Op” stands for. They are aware of optical illusions and understand that artists made art around this concept.

Understand Art Movement For Kids

This is a great time to help explain what an art movement is.

We liked to explain to kids that it would be like 4 of them realized they were all making art with the same style and ideas in the 1960s.

Artist Inspiration

Bridget Riley: is best known for her black-and-white images that appear to move or blur together.

Our Favorite Riley Artworks

Analyzing and Discussing

Look at a variety of artworks from the Op art movement. Use some of the following questions to get a discussion going with children.

  • Why do you think some are only black and white?
  • How does the artist challenge your eye?
  • If something is repeated, what happens to the shapes or sizes?
  • Why would they use patterns?
  • Do you like this type of art? Why or why not?

Coming Soon! You can use these same discussion questions before creating this wiggly op art line drawing project, too!

white paper, markers, pencils and ruler on marble table.

Recommended Supplies

  • White Drawing Paper: Either 9″ x 12″ or 12″ X 18″ will work
  • Ruler 
  • Pencil: We draw our example with Sharpie so it is easier to see, but we recommend you do your Op Art drawing in pencil first.
  • Black Permanent Markers: Chisel Tip and Regular will help you color different-sized areas

Op Art Drawing Tutorial

Step 1: Draw Equally Spaced Lines Across The Page

Use the width of the ruler and start on one edge. Line the ruler up to get straight lines. Sketch a light line across. Repeat until the drawing has vertical lines going all the way across the paper.

white paper with vertical black lines drawn across it.

Step 2: Draw 5-7 Shapes

You can use your ruler, freehand or trace other medium-sized shapes. You can see that we used a tape roll to get our circular shapes in our project.

tape roll on black line and shape designs on white paper.

Step 3: Mark Background Shapes To Color

Make a small dot or x very lightly in every other back stripe only. It would be best if you did not have any coloring inside the shapes yet.

Op art drawing with black lines and marks on stripes.

Step 4: Color The Background Pattern

Neatly color the spots you have marked.

zoomed in view of abstract black and white drawing.

Step 5: Mark The Opposite Stripes Inside The Shapes

Okay, this is the trickiest part. If the background stripe is colored, you will leave that part white. Mark the stripes in the shapes that are in the same as the white background shapes.

white and black abstract drawing with background stripes colored in.

Step 6: Color In The Stripes Inside The Shapes

easy black and white op  art drawing on marble table.

Tips For Drawing

This is such a great marker drawing project for kids because you talk about how to use markers neatly.

hand holding ruler on white paper with black lines.
  • Show children how to add equal pressure to the ruler when drawing straight lines.
  • Outline the shape first then color in one direction. You can also show how to color in “lines” to get a nice marker overlap inside the shapes.
  • Use a regular-sized marker for small areas and a chisel for large ones. Yes, we know this seems very basic, but showing and discussing this will children will equal better results.
  • Beginners can practice using a chisel tip marker on a separate paper to get used to making skinny and broader lines.

Lesson FAQs

Why teach Op Art to kids?

Op Art is the perfect way to talk about the Elements and Principles of design. You can discuss line, shape, pattern, contrast, balance, rhythm, movement and more simply by looking at Op Art examples.

How do you explain Op Art to a child?

First, have them look at Op Art and tell you to want they feel and notice. You can then explain that these paintings are meant to challenge how your eye is seeing by using a variety of visual effects. Artists can use repetition, shape and color to make art look like it is moving or blurring.

Can you do these drawings in color?

Yes, complementary colors (red/green, blue/orange and yellow/purple) would work really well because they contrast each other so well.

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Related Art Lessons

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Easy Black and White Op Art Drawing

Use this step-by-step tutorial to create an easy black and white Op art drawing.
Print Tutorial
black and white op art drawings.
Prep:2 minutes
Creating:30 minutes
Total Time:22 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 Pencil
  • 1 Ruler

Supplies

Instructions

  • Draw vertical lines across the page. Use the width of the ruler and start on one edge. Line the ruler up to get straight lines. Sketch a light line across.
  • Draw 5-7 shapes on top of the lines. Create balance by spacing out your composition.
  • Make a small dot or x very lightly in every other background stripe only.
  • Neatly color the spots you have marked. You should not have any coloring inside the shapes.
  • Mark the stripes in the shapes that are the same as the white background shapes. You will be marking the opposite stripes to color inside the shapes.
  • Color the marked stripes inside the shapes.

Notes

  • You can use your ruler, freehand or trace other medium-sized shapes. You can see that we used a tape roll to get our circular shapes in our project.
  • Outline the shape first then color in one direction. You can also show how to color in “lines” to get a nice marker overlap inside the shapes.
  • Use a regular-sized marker for small areas and a chisel for large ones. Yes, we know this seems very basic, but showing and discussing this will children will equal better results.
  • The time to complete this drawing will depend on the size of the paper and skill level.
Author: Erin
Cost: under $5

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