Frottage forests

Levels 3-6

Explore texture through frottage. Transfer the textures of found objects onto paper, and arrange them to resemble an imaginary forest landscape.

Learning objectives

  • Define frottage and examples of artists who use frottage in their art making.
  • Identify and gather diverse materials as the source of textures in artworks.
  • Apply the technique of frottage to create an imaginary landscape.
  • Control tonal depth by varying the pressure of pencil on the page.

Workshop instructions

Resources & materials 

  • Thin of paper
  • Coloured pencil
  • Materials with different textures, for example dried leaves, bark, ground pepper and a textured iPad case


  1. Place a leaf underneath your paper, roughly in the middle of the page. With the side of your pencil, rub onto the surface of the page with a gentle, even pressure. Maintain a consistent horizontal direction as you rub.
  2. Place another leaf under the paper on the edge and rub. Continue to shift the leaf’s position under the page and rub until you have achieved the appearance of a forest of trees.
  3. Place a gritty material like salt or pepper under the paper towards the top of the page, and gently rub with your pencil to create the appearance of the moon.
  4. Repeat this process with a different material to evoke the texture of water in the bottom half of the page. In this example, an ipad case has been used.
  5. Choose another texture, such as bark, to create the sky. Position the material under the page and rub. Reposition the material and rub multiple times until you have filled the area for the sky completely.