2nd Grade – Emphasizing Line and Pattern with Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

2nd Grade – Emphasizing Line and Pattern with Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

Description of the Unit – Emphasizing line and pattern with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe style

According to one of my favorite modern art history sites, the Art Story,Dubuffet’s L’Hourloupe series began in 1962 and would preoccupy the artist for many decades. The inspiration came from a doodle he created while on the telephone, in which the fluid movement of line combines with limited fields of color to create movement. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind,” (https://www.theartstory.org/artist/dubuffet-jean/artworks/#pnt_5).

Jean Dubuffet, Banque des équivoques, 1964

Students love to learn about the origin of the Hourloupe series, being surprised at how much can be done with a seemingly simple doodle. They like the notion of trying to find hidden images within the doodle as well.

As students are shown ways to embellish a doodle with a variety of lines and patterns, we are given the opportunity to reinforce their understanding of repetition and pattern (having been introduced in kindergarten and practiced in 1st grade). To be able to identify and practice repetition and pattern is prescribed in most states’ standards for second grade visual arts.

2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design
2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design

As we observe Dubuffet’s Hourloupes, I call students’ attention to his minimal use of color, and have them comment on whether the colors are primary or secondary, and whether they are complementary. Later when making their own designs I have them also choose only a few colors, and have them think about whether they want the colors to be mostly warm or cool.

In addition I use this opportunity to reinforce students’ understanding of the concept of abstract art, for even though at times one can discover an image of something within the Hourloupe, the idea in making one is not to force a realistic image, rather to enjoy where the line of the doodle takes you, and allow oneself to be surprised by what colors, lines and patterns you fill the doodle with.

Finally, before creating the doodle I have the students draw a straight diagonal line across the page. This will later help us to view and discuss the students’ designs with the concepts of balance and symmetry in mind, helping to introduce this vocabulary and begin to use it when viewing and making art.

Goals –

Students should…


  • Basic color theory, including the difference between primary and secondary colors, and the difference between warm and cool colors
  • Balance and symmetry when applied to a work of art


  • The meanings of the terms pattern and repetition
  • What the term abstract means

Be able to:

  • Identify patterns and repetition
  • Draw patterns, especially through a variety of lines, and create repetition in their drawing with pattern, color or both.
2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design

Objectives – To continue to emphasize students’ understanding of line, pattern and repetition, students will first observe several of Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe style paintings. Students will discuss what they see and apply what they begin to understand as a childlike yet dynamic approach to creating imagery. Students will approach their own Hourloupe with a playful, whimsical use of line, color, pattern and repetition via an Hourloupe-style drawing, beginning with a straight, diagonal line to divide the image in half, followed by making large, swooping doodles or scribbles to form the basic structure of the design.

Resources and materials –

  • Exemplars of Dubuffet’s Hourloupe series
  • 12×18 Bristol board in white
  • Markers or sharpies in a variety of colors
  • Rulers for the diagonal line

Questions –

What do you notice about the color’s in Dubuffet’s paintings? Are they primary or secondary? How many do you see?

Can you name the kinds of lines Dubuffet uses?

Can you point to some patterns?

Where do you see colors or patterns repeat?

Do you see any images of real life in his paintings?

Art Education

Evaluation –

  • Understand the use of pattern and line?
  • Understand the concept of repetition?
  • Use a specific, limited color pattern?
  • Use line, pattern and repetition in a thoughtful, deliberate way?
  • Correctly use the targeted vocabulary when viewing other work or describing their own?
  • Begin to recognize balance and symmetry while viewing their own others’ designs?


  • Student questions
  • Group discussions
  • Oral responses to essential questions
  • One finished Hourloupe style drawing

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