Activity Introduction

paintbrushes-heroQuick summary: In this activity students will create artworks based on the ‘Pencil vs Camera’ series by Ben Heine. Students will use their own nature photo and create a cartoon image to overlay this photo. Students will present their works to the class for discussion.

Learning goals:

  • Students recognise that there are multiple forms of environmental art.
  • Students will understand that materials and practices are as important to creating art as the message and intention of the art.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Years 5 & 6 Visual Arts

  • Explore ideas and practices used by artists, including practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent different views, beliefs and opinions (ACAVAM114)
  • Develop and apply techniques and processes when making their artworks (ACAVAM115)
  • Plan the display of artworks to enhance their meaning for an audience (ACAVAM116)

Topic: Sustainability

Time required: 2 x 48 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and facilitate discussion

Resources required: Internet access, access to library, student worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Environmental art, nature, photo, cartoon, artists.

Artist used in this resource:

  1. Ben Heine

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

painting-heroTeacher preparation:

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity students will recognise that there are multiple forms of environmental art. They will also understand that materials and practices are as important to creating art as the message and intention of the art.

Teacher content information: If creating and looking at art helps you to explore the world, then it makes sense that artists would incorporate the natural environment into their art. Increasingly, environmental art is being explored as a way of interrogating human relationships with the natural world and as a way of improving our relationship with nature.

However, not all environmental art is about taking environmental action. Broadly speaking, environmental art can be broken down into several loose categories:

  • Art that describes the natural world;
  • Art that celebrates personal engagement in the natural world; and
  • Art that directly addresses environmental issues (sometimes known as ‘ecological art
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Who is your favourite artist?

Working in groups, look at the following pictures by Ben Heine and answer the questions below:

Picture 1. Fish balloon


Picture 2. Fishing


Picture 3. You are here


Picture 4. Four-eyed cat



What materials are used in these images?

What processes are used by the artist to create these images?

What words come to mind when you look at these images (e.g. playful, funny, weird etc)?

Do you like these images? Why or why not?

Which is your favourite image? Why?

How do these artworks make you feel (e.g. happy, sad etc)? Why?

Do you think you would feel differently about these images if the artist had used different mediums, for example, oil paintings instead of photos and charcoal drawings instead of cartoons?

How would you have drawn the cartoons if it were up to you? Discuss one image only:


Create your own!

You will now create your own cartoon-scape.

Before you begin drawing though, you should spend a f

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