How to make pictures using basic shapes

Updated April 17, 2017

All pictures are composed of shapes and geometric forms. The simplest shapes, such as the human body and landscapes, can be transformed into simple objects as an educational aid to geometry and composition. Imagine any object as a combination of shapes and dive into the world of creating pictures from placement and patterns of shapes.

Cut geometric shapes from construction paper. Make circles, ovals, squares, rectangles and triangles of different sizes. Cut more complicated shapes, if you are working with older individuals. Use different colours, if desired; colours may also have a bearing on our comprehension of shapes in pictures.

Play with them to construct free-form pictures. These may be realistically based or be abstract.

Glue the geometric shapes together to assemble a picture.

Add details to your picture with crayons or markers or place smaller shapes on top of the initial layer.


If using these shapes in a preschool setting, cut them out ahead of time and pass these manipulatives out to students. If you're using this project as an art lesson, show your students that the picture's object and background demonstrate the concepts of negative and positive space. The space around objects changes the way we perceive the actual shapes.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • Markers
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About the Author

Patti Perry is currently attending West Virginia University and expanding her knowledge base. She has worked as a freelance visual artist for 30 years, with specialties in watercolor and scherenschnitte. Originality of creation is her motivation and she continues to pursue this avenue in her writing. Perry is currently contributing articles to eHow.