Tree of Life: Glitter and Gold

Lesson Plan, Grades 4-8, Art, Art History, Drawing


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Nadine Dresbach

Students will examine the work of Gustav Klimt studying in particular his use of color shape line and his imagery used in his Tree of Life. Students will use a variety of markers and pens to create a swirling adventure in line and color.


  • Students will study the artist Gustav Klimt and the history of his work.
  • They will study his style and use of color, line and shape elements.
  • Students will experiment with brush tip markers to create desired effects of various lines.

Supplies Needed

Crayola® No Drip Paint Brushes, Assorted Colors, Set of 40
Crayola® Glitter Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 6
Crayola® Metallic Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 8
Strathmore® 400 Multi-Purpose Drawing Paper, White, 100 lb., 19" x 24", Pack of 50
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #3: Refine and complete artistic work.
Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Standard #11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.



Begin with the line drawings of the trees in pencil, creating a landscape baseline as well. Have students create the baseline a few inches from the bottom of the tree so that the elements of shape and color can be added into the space later.


Using the Paint Brush Pens very gently highlight the outline of the tree and branches. It is important to have students practice using the brush tips if they have not done so before. Encourage students to make soft flowing movements of varying lengths. Encourage the students that not every pencil line needs to be traced. At this point they are just creating shadow edges of the tree itself. They should not trace it all; that will be done with the gold markers.


Next bring in some elements of color. Note Klimt's work and how he used various shapes and hints of color throughout his piece. Now is the time to use the brush markers and add those elements to the students trees.


Using a gold glitter marker, students can now fill in the rest of the spaces inside the tree itself.


Using metallic and glitter markers, color in the background of the trees. In this pictured example, the negative spaces were first outlined with the gold metallic marker. Then, the next outline was drawn with a blue glitter marker, followed with a return to the gold glitter marker.