Symbolism for our State


  • Symbol: a thing that represents or stands for something else, esp. a material object representing something abstract.

Symbolism is all around us.  The letters your are reading right now are symbols!  A symbols is a thing that represents or stands for something else.  You will be creating a mixed media piece that uses symbols to convey the meaning behind our state motto.

“He who transplanted still sustains.”



What does the state motto mean to you?  Have you ever been transplanted or moved?  Do you know anyone who is an immigrant?  The motto could pertain to people being displaced after a disaster, human trafficking, immigration, switching schools… or any number of people or situations.  Think about what you want to say that pertains to the motto and then choose symbols that will help you get your message across.

Start by sketching your ideas onto an 8.5×11 piece of paper.  Choose at least three symbols to work together to send your message or idea.  Make sure you research your symbols!  Many symbols have multiple meanings or their meaning has changed over time. Think about how these symbols will interact with one another.  What might happen if you put one symbol on top of the other, or one inside the other, or if one is smaller than the other?  A great way to see if your message is getting across is to show your sketch to a friend or peer who hasn’t seen it yet.  If they can guess what your are trying to say just by looking at your symbols then you are off to a great start!

The golden rule!  NO WORDS!  If you choose your symbols carefully and deliberately then you won’t need words to get your message across.


Once you have settled on a final sketch, it’s time to start your final drawing.  Draw your sketch on a large piece of paper, make sure you are utilizing the whole page!  Once your drawing is complete it’s time to add color.  You have the option of working with colored pencil, sharpie, collage, or all three.  Collage and sharpie are great mediums for making bold, graphic statements.  Colored pencil is better for shading, layering, and blending.  Think about what kinds of colors you want to use.  The same symbol with different colors can mean totally different things.

url images


One of these means “support our troops.” The other means “breast cancer awareness.”

You can download the powerpoint we viewed in class here: StateSymbolism



  • at least three symbols
  • symbols are working together to send a message that relates to the state motto “He who transplanted still sustains”
  • drawing is complete with color, either collage/sharpie, colored pencil or a combination of the two
  • craftsmanship: drawing/ color is complete and neatly done.  Effort is obvious

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