I have used Laura Ljungkvist's book, Follow the Line Through the House, as the inspiration for a study of contour line and texture for grades 3 and 4. We look at several pages from the book and examine how the line connects many of the items in the house together. Laura outlines many of the shapes with contour line. Other objects are not outlined and their edges are defined by implied lines, or edges that are made when 2 different colors or values butt up against one another.
Laura's illustration style has a mid-century modern look to it. Many items appear flat and abstracted. Even though this is the case, Laura still makes things look like they have different textures or feels by using line and pattern economically. She is simplifying how those items look like they feel, so she is using abstract texture.
After being introduced to Laura's work through her website, students then start design their own "follow the line" scene. The food and drink items are up to them, but they must use a continuous contour line to connect several of their items and they must create 3 different textures by manipulating line in their image.
Students may choose to flatten shapes in a way similar to Laura's style or they may approach their items in a more realistic way.
The 3rd grade students did a crayon and marker drawing on 9x12 sheets. The 4th grade students worked on a larger sheet and did a crayon resist watercolor painting.
In the future I would like to revisit this project and have a contour line carry through a whole class set of drawings.