Collages & Combines

Collages & Combines lesson plan

Study the artwork of Robert Rauschenberg then create an original collage with written analysis.

  • 1.

    Robert Rauschenberg is a contemporary American artist, living in New York and Florida. His varied artwork includes painting, sculpture, prints, collage, and performance. He is best known for his Pop-Art, which uses images found in popular culture, such as advertisements, television, famous people, and events.

  • 2.

    Rauschenberg was born on October 22, 1925, at Port Arthur, Texas. He studied pharmacy briefly and served in the U.S. Marines. He then began to study art at various institutes including the Kansas City Art Institute, Academie Julian in Paris, Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and the Art Students' League in New York. He was associated with many prominent artists including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and James Rosenquist, who became his close friend.

  • 3.

    One of the methods Rauschenberg used in his art was collage. His earlier works used a method of transferring images he found in newspapers and magazines to his canvas through silk screen. His later work, which he called Combines, uses real objects attached to paintings or sculptures.

  • 4.

    Look closely at one of Rauschenberg's photographic silk screens. What images do you see? Decide what the artist might have been saying with his work. Write your ideas with Crayola® Colored Pencils.

  • 5.

    To make a collage of your own, use Crayola Scissors to cut interesting pictures from recycled newspapers or magazines. Use Washable Crayola Glue Sticks to attach them to paper.

  • 6.

    Add details to your collage with Crayola Markers. For a more painterly effect, draw over your collage with Crayola Oil Pastels, and smudge the edges of the pastel strokes.

  • 7.

    Write a description and interpretation of your collage for its viewers.


  • Children study the artwork of Robert Rauschenberg and identify popular imagery used in his collages and Combines.
  • Children interpret Rauschenberg's photographic silk screens by writing their ideas about his images.
  • Children create original collages, and prepare a written explanation of their work.


  • Create a theme collage that deals with contemporary issues. Decide on the message you want to send about an issue. Choose your images carefully, keeping your message in mind. Make your collage, then paint and draw over it. Describe the theme and write you
  • Create a Combine (see <i>Canyon, 1959</i> and <i>Rose Condor, 1977</i>). Choose an object to insert in your work. Use Crayola School Glue to attach the object to cardboard, then paint around and on the object with Crayola Tempera Paint.