Process Shapes

Purchase Love by Sophia by Jim Averbeck at Bookmarks.

The precocious Sophia and her pet giraffe Noodle learn how to look at life, love, and art in this latest installment of the series that Kirkus Reviews calls “fun, clever, and empowering.”

Sophia loves her family and her wonderful pet giraffe Noodle, so when she gets an assignment to draw something she loves, she wants to make it extra special. Taking her teacher’s advice, Sophia uses a little perspective and creates a work she calls Love.

Before she can place her masterpiece on the refrigerator, her whole family has to approve of the painting. But this is the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Louvre of refrigerators. Can Sophia persuade them to take a chance on a new perspective, so they can see love from her point of view?

Creating art with young children is pure joy. They are curious about all of the materials and eager to explore. Process artwork is the perfect fit for preschoolers and early elementary, but can be enjoyed by all ages. Let’s learn from Sophia and her teacher, and create a work of abstract process art!


  • thick paper like watercolor or cardstock
  • assorted materials for process art – choose 4 or more
    • glue
    • watercolor
    • craft acrylic
    • crayons or oil pastels
    • markers
    • tissue paper
    • scrap paper
    • cardboard
    • washi tape
    • string or yarn
    • buttons or sequins
    • anything else you can think of to add texture!


click images for larger view

  • Choose a thick paper to work on. Younger children love to work big, so if you have a piece of 12 inch x 12 inch paper or bigger, that is best. But, any size will do!
  • Choose a simple shape to start with (I was inspired by Sophie and choose a circle). 
  • Use your first material to paint or draw that shape. Paint or draw the shape a couple times. Add thick and thin lines.
  • Use a second material to add a layer. For this example, I used a toilet paper tube dipped in craft acrylic.
  • Continue with a third material. This is a good step to add some patterns (or not!). I added lines and dots with a black marker.
  • Keep adding materials. For the fourth material, I choose some scrap coffee filters that had been painted with watercolor. I cut them into two sizes of circles and glued them around the page. This is a great way for an adult to get involved in the process when little hands cannot cut yet. Let your young artist tell you what size and shape and cut the pieces for them to glue.
  • If you have more than four materials you are using, keep adding them! Sequins were added for more texture in this example.
  • For the next material, I choose a silver paper cut into thin strips. Each strip was folded and glued to the paper to add dimension. You could also curl paper around a pencil to create curls.
  • For the final material in the example, I chose a patterned washi tape. Young children love tape, and it can be fun for them to tear the tape and place it on the paper, or an adult can cut it. Washi tape is also a great way to start to learn how to use scissors – it’s a small and straight cut!
  • Keep adding materials until you’ve made your mark!
  • Talk with your young artist about their artwork and choose a place to display it for everyone to see.


  • There are so many options for process art, and there is no wrong way to create!
  • Make a piece of process art using only found and recycled materials. 
  • Take it off the page and make a 3D process art!



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