Cubism Art Projects

Updated April 17, 2017

Cubism is an art form that emerged in the early Twentieth Century, strongly influenced by artists like Picasso and Georges Braque. Cubism takes a form or object and shows many different aspects and angles at the same time by breaking it down into fragments and simple shapes.

Analytical cubism is a direct translation of breaking down a form. The colours for this type of cubism are muted, so as not to distract from that breakdown. The different aspects and views of the form are seen altogether by simplifying the form into shapes and using both opaque and transparent shapes in one image.

Synthetic cubism is more abstracted than Analytical cubism. A variety of colour is a big part of the process, as are using completely different and contrasting textures and patterns. Some textures used in Synthetic cubism are newspapers or other printed pieces. Still breaking down the form, it does so even more by fracturing the reality of the form.

Cubist collage

To do your cubist collage in an Analytical cubism style, cut out shapes (squares, rectangles, circles, triangles) in an unsaturated colour, like light tans, browns, greys, and some in a slightly contrasting colour. These contrast colour shapes will be used to define your form. Pick a form you would like to start from, which can be from a photograph. Examples of good objects to start with are: wine bottle, guitar, violin, building. Start assembling your collage as you would build it with blocks. Use glue or other adhesive. To create your collage in a Synthetic cubism style, you can be much freer. Start from an object, but feel free to cut out shapes from any colours you'd like, and cut out shapes from newspaper and magazines with different colours and textures. Corrugated cardboard can also be a great texture. Interpret the way you build the form in terms of cubism, which is from all different angles at the same time.

Cubist line drawing

Start with a reference photo of your object or an actual object if you have it in front of you. With a sharp pencil or a thick black marker, start to draw the basic object as if you were seeing it in a broken mirror. Now, pretend that the object is seen in that broken mirror at a different angle than before. Draw that right on top of it. Keep going in the same process. The drawing does not need to look good or make sense at all. The messier the better. This is an exercise in letting go of your concept of a conventional object and exploring all the different aspects of it regardless of its aesthetic outcome.

Found object cubist art sculpture

Find different objects that can be used in a simple sculpture. Cardboard boxes in different shapes and sizes, tubes (especially toilet paper or paper towel tubes), string and container lids, are all good objects to use. Using a photo or actual object for reference, start to build a replica with your found objects. You can use a glue gun or tape to stick the objects together. Feel free to paint different objects colours or patterns and use different textures together. It should not be an exact replica, as it is the object broken down and viewed from different angles. Please see Pablo Picasso's sculpture "Guitar" for ideas.

Breaking a photograph down

Choose a photograph of an object or person (or a printout of a photo). Cut out the photo in different shapes, mostly squares. These shapes do not need to be perfect; they should actually be a bit imperfect. Keep the object recognisable as you cut, like a puzzle that is put together. On a separate piece of paper, start gluing down pieces from your photo. It should not be put together in the same way it was cut out. For it to be a cubist piece, it needs to be fragmented and seen from all angles. By taking a thick marker, you can fill in spaces of the fragmented photo to create the effect of another angle, which sometimes will only require a couple of lines making it look like it is in movement. Feel free to place cutouts from the photo on top of the other photo pieces to further fragment it. Continue this process until you are finished.

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About the Author

Naomi Valdivia is an illustrator, designer and crafter who began writing professionally in 2008. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communication arts from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.