Hokusai Style Waves

This was a great lesson to teach. I told the class a little about Hokusai, his 30 name changes, 93 house moves and immense productivity of 30,000 art works in his life time. The children identified the foreground , middle ground and background in 'The Great Wave'. They were surprised to learn that there was a mountain in the art work! Many thought it was a wave. We discussed how Hokusai created movement, looked at what texture could be seen, talked about the vocal point, the artist's point of view and that the art was a wood block print. The group was attentive, learned about the artist, the artwork and that Mt Fuji is a significant Japanese mountain.


The children were provided with a step by step sheet and a small copy of the original to help them draw the main shapes in the picture. Dividing the page into quarters assisted with the sizing and placement. The detailed complexity of the original wood block print had the potential to put some children off so I emphasized that the curly details didn't need to be included in their art works because they would be painting the wave crests. I showed them some student Great Wave art featured on Deep Space Sparkle to highlight that their art work would be perfectly okay without the details. 


Once the main wave shapes were done and outlined in black Sharpie the children drew lines on their waves. These they coloured with alternating colours. Some used textas and others painted them. This is when they noted the drama and movement of their waves. The next major step was to paint a gradated sky using warm tempura colours contasting with the cool coloured waves. Most choose to paint the crests of their waves using white acrylic and some children added white spots to show the spray.


This was a wonderful lesson. I approached it with some trepidation as it could easily have not worked effectively for the broad range of ages in the groups.  Being well prepared and giving the children permission to leave the details off their art contributed to the children's success.

Write a comment

Comments: 0


Black Forest Primary School - 679 South Road Black Forest SA 5035

Phone: 0401 749 466


Current Class Schedule


Black Forest Primary School

Tuesday 3:30 to 5:00 pm

Friday 3:30 to 5:00 pm