From the famed Manhattan skyline with its iconic Brooklyn Bridge to the Opera House and Harbor Bridge of Sydney, Australia, city skylines are some of the most recognizable sights in the world. Towering high-rise buildings, amazing architectural shapes, and distant, natural wonders, make them an exciting muse for artists and photographers. And never more so than at sunrise or sunset, when the light illuminates these scenes in a bold way. This is a perfect time to channel that muse into beautiful art by following our lesson plan to create a magical city skyline silhouette!
Ceramics Art Lesson Plan: City Skyline Silhouette
We learn early in art education that the horizon line is an imaginary line where the sky meets the ground. A skyline is an imaginary line in a city where the sky meets the tops of buildings. We can see this division of space even more dramatically when the sky is light and buildings darken, such as at sunset or sunrise. This is called a silhouette.
Creating a 3D skyline in silhouette is a great way to help your students grasp the concepts of the horizon line, skyline, and silhouette. With this project, students will observe and identify city skylines, identify and name basic building shapes and forms (geometry!), and use various tools to design, texture, and paint their own silhouetted, 3D city skylines.
Share images of some spectacular city skylines with your students before they get started, like:
- San Francisco, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Seattle, WA
- Tokyo, Japan
Once your study is complete, students will begin the construction of their own skylines. Start in sketch form and include a variety of geometrically-shaped buildings and natural elements. Then carve the skyline into clay and add details like windows, birds, and clouds. Finally, glaze and fire the city skylines, cementing an understanding of horizon and skylines forever.
Follow the link above for the full City Skyline Silhouette Art Lesson plan, including images, step-by-step directions, and a materials list. Suitable for grades 4 through 12.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out all our art lesson plans!