From Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and beyond, there are so many great artists (and paintings) to teach your artistically talented child or student about. Doing so in a way that engages them, however, can be a challenge. While reading about them and going to museums are both great ways for young people to discover the masters, nothing makes them come to life quite like doing an arts and crafts project inspired by their very own art.
So, what are you waiting for? Get the kiddies, get out your art supplies, and get to work! Your young ones are sure to love doing these art projects inspired by art’s masters. And who knows: they might just learn something!
1) Inspired by Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock is famous for his wild action paintings, and he does them in a big way. His art is great for teaching children that art doesn’t need to be conventional to inspire.
Large pieces of craft paper
Paint of various colors (washable or non-washable)
Before letting the little ones try their hand at the master’s eccentric (and messy) style, you might want to introduce them to it first via www.jacksonpollock.org, where they can practice it with their mouse. Once you think they’re ready, make sure to thoroughly prepare the area you’re planning to use, putting any valuables out of harms way. After ensuring that your child is dressed appropriately, encourage them to dance, jump, and skip around the craft paper, flicking, flinging, or dumping paint as they wish. As Jackson Pollock taught us, art is supposed to be fearless.
2) Inspired by David Hockney
Pop Art master David Hockney may not be as famous as Pollack, but he’s definitely worth a lesson, especially if your little artist loves creating collages. His complex constructions teach kids important lessons about the importance of perspective in art.
Hockney is known for taking photos from different perspectives and bringing them together to create larger, more complex, images. If your child is confident with a camera, have them take a number of pictures of the same scene, snapping shots from different points of view and/or during different times of the day. Then, after printing them out, help your child arrange the pictures into a larger image–be it a realistic representation of the scene or a subjective interpretation of what they saw!
3) Inspired by Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall was a master of surrealism who relied on his memories to create stunning works of religiously inspired modern art. Based on Chagall’s painting “I and the Village,” this project is perfect for children who need a little more direction.
9×12 inch drawing paper
A copy of “I and the Village”
Markers or other drawing instruments
Have your little ones start by drawing a large “X” over the piece of paper, connecting diagonal corners. In one triangle show your child how to draw the profile of a person (it could be themselves). In the opposite triangle instruct them to draw the profile of an animal. The third triangle will contain an image depicting what the person is thinking or dreaming about, and the final triangle will depict the animal’s thoughts or dreams. Blacken all of the pencil lines, and then add color, lots of color! While he or she works, talk to your child or student about their thoughts on their work of art and how it’s inspired by their memories and imagination. Afterwards, you can encourage them to write a story based on their work so they can delve deeper into the source of their inspiration!