Bonnie Maclean Posters

Download a PDF of the Bonnie Maclean Folder Lesson

Grade: 7th

NYS Standards for Visual Arts:

  • Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts: Students will actively engage in the process that constitute creation and performance in the arts and participate in various roles in the arts.
  • Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources: Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.


  • Art Criticism:
    Students will learn about Bonnie Maclean. They will create a poster that may be considered to be good advertising of who they are and compare it to Bonnie MacLean’s posters. They will consider what may be similar or different.
  • Art Production:
    Students will create a poster to “advertise” themselves. Students will look at posters created by Bonnie Maclean and create a similar poster that will be successful in advertising what they are interested in.

Teacher Aims:
(to encourage, to engage, to present, to challenge, etc.)

  • The teacher will present and discuss with the students why the posters of Bonnie Maclean are successful in catching the viewers’ eye. Bonnie Maclean used bright vibrant colors, shape, pattern, and design to create her music posters.
  • The teacher will demonstrate how to create a border for the poster. This will be done creating a one inch think border around the edge of the paper using a ruler.  -Te teacher will encourage the students to use a variety of shapes, patterns, and colors to attract the eye of the viewer. -

Student Aims:
(To explore, to discover, to invent)

  1. The students will explore Bonnie Maclean and discuss the elements of her posters that make them noticeable.
  2. The students will compare the shapes, patterns, and colors to Bonnie MacLean’s posters.
  3. The students will discover how to create an advertisement poster that catches the eye of the viewer.

(Use art as inspiration and visual references)

  • Bonnie Maclean. January 20, 2008.
  • Posters. Bonnie Maclean. January 20, 2008.
  • For Presentation/Discussion:
    • Teacher samples
    • Post card samples of posters by Bonnie Maclean
    • Student art work samples:

Bonnie Maclean Posters - Student Examples

(New art terms or other words to expand their vocabularies)

Line, Shape, Pattern, Color, Advertisement

Materials and Preparation: (List Art Materials)

  • Sketch paper/worksheet
  • Large white drawing paper
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Erasers
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Black markers of various sizes

(Present or elicit the reasons why they are doing this; get them to want to do it.)

Introduction to the topic:
“Bonnie MacLean was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1961, received a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University, moved to San Francisco, California, made a series of rock and roll posters for the Fillmore Auditorium. She is a living artist who has become famous due to her posters of vibrant colors, design and pattern.”

“Before we start the actual poster I have given you each a worksheet. This is going to help you plan out what patterns you might want to use in your poster and how you might want to lay out your poster. I will then show you how to set up your poster.”

“First I am going to show you how to create a border around your poster. With the ruler measure one inch in on one side by putting a small mark, then move your ruler down and measure again. Do this by measuring all around on each side of the paper. At this point you will draw a line from point to point around the edge of the paper”

“Next you will draw a unique shape in the middle of the page. Your shape can touch the border. This is where you are going to put your name. Write your name in the middle of the shape using a style of your choice.”

“Next you will trace five different shapes. I have placed shapes to trace on each table. These shapes can overlap; this will make your poster more interesting.”

“Next you will use patterns you have thought about while doing the worksheet. You can change your patterns if you think of new ones. In your poster I want to see at least:

  • Three patterns
  • Two sections of color
  • One solid drawing of something that helps describes you (i.e. baseball, art supplies, guitar, ECT.)
  • The rest can be of your choice. Have a friend hold your drawing while you stand far away to see if the composition works well together. I have provided sheets of patterns to work from. If you can think of your own that is great!”

“We will be using marker, colored pencils, and black marker to create your poster. So before we actually add color you will be marking what parts will be what colors. This will prevent you from adding the wrong color to the wrong section.”

Problem Statement:
(A challenge in one sentence that may be written at any point in the planning)

“The aim of this project is to invent a poster that can tell the viewer about you by creating an interesting, yet eye catching design using examples by Bonnie Maclean.”

(Explain each step, using experimentation, guided exploration, or demonstration as necessary.)

  1. Talk about Bonnie Maclean and her poster samples.
  2. Have students do worksheets and sketch out ideas for the poster after describing what I want them to do.
  3. Demonstrate to the students how to create a border around the white paper.
  4. Demonstrate where to place a unique shape in the center on the paper and where to draw their name in the center.
  5. Demonstrate how to trace shapes and where you want them to trace them. Make sure you tell them that you want the shapes to overlap and explain that this will make the poster more interesting.
  6. Have the students mark off the different shapes so that they make sure they have the right amount of patterns, colors, and drawings.
  7. The next two classes the students will begin using markers, color pencils, and black markers. Students need to check with the teacher to make sure the shapes are correct before using color.
  8. When the students are done make sure the students give their own work a unique title and that it also has their name and block number on the back.

Students Reconstruct Problem in Their Own Words:
(How might they tell you what they’re supposed to do?)

After the teacher is done explaining to the students of what he/she wants them to do the teacher asks: “Now, are there any questions? Usually students do not have questions as this time because they either know what they are doing OR they feel stupid asking questions. This is why the teacher will then ask a specific student if they can explain what they need to do. A student will then describe what they were told to do. Students will reply with the given instructions for the assignment: The student will explain that we have talked about Bonnie Maclean and her poster samples, then go on to say that the class needs to work on the worksheet.

Further along in the assignment, after the worksheet and after the teacher explains the border and how to create shapes, patterns, and designs, as student will reiterate what instructed. The student will explain that there should be a one inch border around the paper. To do this students need to measure and mark with a pencil one inch in around the edge. The student will explain that the teacher instructed the students to create a space for their name and block out sections of the space for patter, designs, and drawings.

Work Period:
(Teacher observes, provides; pupils do)

  • Help those that are not sure of how to start
  • Walk around to make sure students stay on task and are making progress
  • Help students collect materials to use
  • Have students used the entire time to draw and plan their poster for the first class; the next two classes will be used to color and finish designs.

Medial Summary:
(If necessary, teacher intervenes with class or with individuals during work period)

  • Show some additional examples to struggling students
  • Help narrow down shapes to use
  • Have other activities available for students that have disabilities and behavior problems. Students with disabilities will be provided large markers for easier handling and will be provided assistance in measuring and folding, among other areas of difficulty. Students with behavior issues will be sat in a different seat and instructed to follow directions.

Final Work Period:
(Students complete work and clean up)

  • Make sure all students are finishing up work and that the composition does not need any work
  • NO art supplies are on the floor
  • All marker/pencils cleaned from tables
  • Students finished work is put away in a safe place to dry where it will not be damaged

Discussion and Evaluation:
(Discuss the work of individual students and group. May be a summary of the class period or may occur the following period or at the end of a unit)

On the final day of the assignment I will walk around and find a poster that has followed the assignment successfully. I will show the class and ask the students to talk about what makes this poster easy to look and easy to notice. I will give helpful tips to students that need help with finishing their work. I will not allow students to hand in an assignment that is unfinished and will give support in finishing the poster.

Relation to Life:
(individuals reflect on what they have learned)

“Where do you normally see advertisement posters? What do these posters normally look like? Colors? Patterns? Size? Do you think your self advertisement works and do you think people would notice it? Do you think people could learn a little about you by your poster?

Wall Text for Exhibit:

Bonnie Maclean is a living artist who has created posters for the Fillmore Auditorium and for art happenings in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She creates colorful advertisements using designs with patterns and text. Students were asked to create a poster advertising them. They were asked to center their name in the middle and create unique shapes and filling in the shapes with drawings, patterns, and colors that may represent themselves.

Ideas for Further Work:
(May be generated by individuals or the group, done at home in school)

Talk to the students about advertisements for products or events. Ask them how they might create an advertisement for something. What have they learned from this lesson that they could use in their advertisement poster?

Leave a Reply