Students in sixth grade create these radial name designs early on in the year as an introduction to the various materials in the room while I learn their names!
After a refresher on the elements and principles of art that they learned about in elementary school, students focus on radial symmetry and warm vs. cool colors to create these optical illusions with their names. Each student creates several "pie pieces" decorated with bubble letter outlines of the letters in their name. They choose their favorite design to replicate eight times on their final paper, using tracing paper and a pencil rubbing transfer technique. After creating this basic outline, each student then colored their positive space (the letters) with warm colors and their negative space (the background) with cool colors.
I try to incorporate some basic choice options into units early on in the year so that students are prepared for more independent choice options as the year progresses. In this case, students have the option of adding color to their artwork with watercolor paints, acrylic paints, markers, or colored pencils. I demonstrate each option and we discuss the pros and cons of using the various materials. Students can then make an educated decision about media choice based on their own desired outcome.