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FREE Secondary, High School art, craft & design lesson plans

I spent many years on the treadmill of Secondary examination art and I did very well as a department leader and getting my team to help student's reach those all important grades. I was deemed an excellent subject leader by Ofsted and we became a Specialist School for art. It was only when I became an Advanced Skills Teacher that I began to question what it was that I was teaching and more importantly, what an excellent art education was. This led me to a very different style of teaching to the top down, teacher-led model, into a Self Directed Learning model where real innovation and creativity took place. I began to realise that excellence in an art exam is not the same as excellent art practice. The real challenge has been how to do both!

This page contains free art lesson plans and low cost plans for key stage three and four art, international, middle and high school art, plus lots of advice on:

GCSE art,     KS3 art,     Secondary art assessment,    Drawing Skills,   Ideas & Thinking Skills,    Knowledge in art,    

Boys learning,    Ebacc and much more.

Progress 8 art
UK Ebacc - The Case for Art 

Free to download

This download outlines the changing role of art and design as a measure of UK school performance. It argues that the subject will become increasingly important to help schools meet their new floor targets.

Key to the future of art as a secondary subject is the UK Parliaments decision on whether to go ahead with a compulsory Ebacc for all students. At the time of writing (Aug 17) this looks likely but is not certain. If it does go ahead as expected it will likely have dire consequences for all of us who teach so-called Bucket 3 option subjects since the Ebacc subjects can be taken in Bucket 3 also and in all likelihood schools will streamline the option subjects available in order to focus on the Ebacc floor target.

We do have one saving grace in art however; art is a high value subject where significant gains can be made in GCSE grades. This means that you can argue with some confidence that art is able to provide a secure platform for the Progress 8 target, the most significant target the school has for Ofsted evaluation.

As art teachers, we NEED to support the Bacc for the Future campaign to ensure Parliament is aware of the dire consequences of the Ebacc for subjects like ours. Please sign up and lobby Parliament.


"My resources are recommended by the NSEAD Expert Advisory Group."

Environment art project lesson plan

Environment Project

A project that asks pupils deep questions about the world they live in then asks them to respond with art in a wide range of ways. One of my personal favourites

Free to Download

Giger photoshop art lesson plan

Giger Photoshop Project​

This free powerpoint lesson provides students with images of Gigers aliens and a powerpoint set of instructions on how to produce layers, masks, type and design effects.

Free to download

natural forms art project lesson plan

Natural Form

The classic Natural Forms Project Pdf has a Full Scheme of Work, lesson plans and photos. Use this plan for a whole host of classroom activities from drawing to painting and from lino printing to sculpture.

Free to Download

Aliens art project lesson plan


For Year 7, 8 or Middle school. Perfect to go with the Alien landscape project! Design an Alien creature to live on an inhospitable planet. This works great in conjunction with Science!


Free to Download

Pop Art lesson plan

Pop Art 

Age 7-14

A traditional Pop Art project that works well and gets great results. Save yourself loads of time and get it here!

Free download

Kandinsky music art project lesson plan

Music Kandinsky

Age 7-14

Many art rooms use this type of project where students study Kandinsky and listen to music to create abstract art.

Free download.

Jungle art project lesson plan

Jungle Project

Age 7-14

Improve your student's painting techniques by learning depth of field, size and proportion. This can be adapted for collage

Free download.

Impressionism art lesson plan


Age 7-14

A lovely project that teaches colour mixing by practical application. The students study famous paintings by the Impressionists. 

Free download

Tints & Shades art lesson plan

Tints & Shades

Age 7-14 

Improve your student's painting techniques by completing this range of worksheets for tints and shades.


Free download

Colour theory art lesson plan

Colour Theory

Age 7-14

Some teachers prefer to embed colour theory into projects but this stand alone worksheet & powerpoint is great to have.

Free download

Graffiti lettering sheet, art lesson plan

Graffiti Lettering

These graffiti lettering sheets have been designed for tracing.

Free download

Shading an alien man, art lesson plan

Shading an Alien Man

A simple shading exercise the pupils love

Free download

Apps for iPads and Tablets

Most of these apps can be located by simply searching for them in relevant App stores, prices may vary.

FREE Art Lesson Plans for Secondary High

My lessons (except the drawing units) contain everything you need to teach the unit; full lesson plans that cover; Learning Objectives, Success Criteria, Differentiation, tips and hints, handouts for students, assessment guidance, artist links and cross-curricular links where appropriate. Buy my Art Teacher's Handbook for a fully comprehensive guide to teaching art.

Research apps

  • Tate Apps - Lots of Tate content apps on a range of artists.

  • MoMA Apps - The mighty Museum of Modern Art available in a range of free apps.

  • V&A Apps - Lots of apps from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

  • Google Art Project - Astonishing app that shows art in incredible detail.

  • Wikipaintings - Functional site for researching art.


Creative Content Apps: 

  • Aurasma An augmented reality tool that allows students to create virtual content that is triggered when a student looks at an object through their phone. Fun and free.

  • Photo Puppet Make cartoons and animations (iPad only) Great learning tool.

  • Comic Life Expensive at £29.99 but worth buying a site licence for school, this is an awesome app for making and creating storyboards and sequences look superb.

  • Penutlimate Free note taking pen app with in-app purchases 

  • Evernote Make a digital exercise book and access it on any device! Awesome and free.


Photography Apps: 

  • Adobe Photoshop Touch Sophisticated photo editing (a bit fiddly though) for £3.99

  • Camera Awesome superb camera app for improved camera function on mobile devices. Free

  • Pixlr Express Free photo editing app.


Drawing & Painting: 

  • Tracing Paper £2.99 great tracing app for users with lower drawing ability.

  • Brushes Free painting app with enormous capabilities.

  • Sketchbook Autodesk app is a fantastic vector based drawing app. Free to download with in-app purchases

  • Art Set Pro version of this beautiful painting app lets you create stunning digital paintings. £4.99

  • Paper this award winning sublimely simple drawing app is free!

  • Camera Lucida £4.99 in iTunes only, allows you to draw like the great masters by tracing onto paper from photos. Very cool app but you will need a tripod.

  • Art Pen Simulates a chinese ink brush to paint. Lovely and free!



  • Animation Creator Make hand drawn animations easily. £3.99

  • Hyperlapse An Instagram app for making time lapse videos. Free

  • Animoto A very sleek, simple to use video creation app that lets students make videos in minutes. Free


Graphic Design: 

  • Adobe Ideas (Free) is a vector creation app that allows you to create cool graphics for design and illustration.

  • Quark Design Pad The professional graphic designers software in an app! Free to download, £6.99 to upgrade



  • Idoceo is like a teacher's mark book in an app. Allows you to import SIMS data, create classes and enter a wide range of assessment information about your students including photos. £4.99

  • Explain Everything lets you make whiteboard presentations that you can use at school or make notes over photos, record voice etc.

  • Clarisketch Take photos of students work then record your voice whilst you draw or write over it. Saves hours when assessing students work in any subject.

  • Edmodo - a great school friendly version of facebook with all the benefits of social networking. Free


Speciality Art Apps: 

  • Board Cam Pro - turn your tablet into a visualiser. £1.49

  • Light Bomber - The best light painting app created by light painters! Free

  • L’Ecorche - human anatomy for artists. £3.99

iPads in art lesson plan

Click to download my Ipads in Art Ebook

FREE fully illustrated downloadable Art & Design lesson plans

Suitable for Key Stage One; age 4 to seven years

Birds of Paradise – make a bird of paradise using PVA glue, ink and modelling clay

Tony Craggs – Make a junk mural using found plastics

Murakami – Learn to paint and mix colours through the fabulous work of Japanese artist Murakami.


Suitable for Key Stage Two; age 7 -11

Clay Animals – make clay animals using a water balloon and air dry or DAS clay.

Dogon Mask making – Study the African Dogon tribe then make your own mask for a fun occasion. You’ll need card, tape, paints.

Funny Fish – draw from line studies of fish then create your own cool cartoon fish.

Language of Drawing – Learn how to draw in abstract styles using your own secret code.

Macro Art – take macro close-up photos on your phone then make large scale drawings from them in whatever medium you wish.

Suitable for Key Stage 3; age 11-14

Me in a Box - Turn an old box into a wonderful personal piece of sculpture

Alien Landscape – learn the principles of landscape painting by creating an alien landscape.

Dreams – Draw a portrait of a sleeping person then use your computer to create a dream image.

Dogon Mask making - Study the African Dogon tribe then make your own mask for a fun occasion. You’ll need card, tape, paints.

Language of Drawing - Learn how to draw in abstract styles using your own secret code.

Macro Art – take macro close-up photos on your phone then make large scale drawings from them in whatever medium you wish.


Suitable for Key Stage 4/5; age 14-16+

Dreams - Draw a portrait of a sleeping person then use your computer to create a dream image.

Macro Art – Take macro close-up photos on your phone then make large scale drawings from them in whatever medium you wish.

Media Art – Pop Art with a big twist. This self-directed learning project will get you thinking about the effect of the media on us through your art.

Expressive Painting – Study the great painting masters, learn their techniques then apply them to your own compositions. You’ll need paint, brushes and paper for this.

Consultancy Service

As an NSEAD registered art consultant, I offer a friendly, professional art consultancy service to schools, from early years right through to Secondary GCSE. I've worked with infant schools to improve art assessment, delivered primary school CPD on skills and progression, worked with Subject Leaders to raise attainment and done whole school, secondary art department audits including formal lesson observations and department reviews. My over-arching strategy is to support the professional development of hard working professionals with positive and constructive advice for improvement.

My consultancy bookings are now being handled by Iain Simper of the Learning Partnership. For enquiries email Iain here


Training Courses

Please follow the link to see my latest CPD teacher training courses. If you can't see any that suits your needs, why don't you arrange for a bespoke in-school service?

Art consultancy art INSET CPD
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