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Keith Haring Inspired Elementary Art Project

We love exploring different artists with children and discussing their artwork with them. Kids love discussing the fun nature and energy of Haring’s work, which is a great starting point for their projects!

painting with white figure with color lines and background.

Why You Will Love This Art Project


  • KID FRIENDLY – All kids can create fun figures, movement and energy.
  • EASILY CHANGE SUBJECT MATTER– Children will create figures representing things they like.
  • CAN MODIFY SUPPLIES – If you don’t want to use oil pastels and watercolors, consider markers or only simple drawing materials.

Who is Keith Haring?

According to Haring Kids (which has a lot of great info), Keith Haring was born in Pennsylvania in 1958, and in “New York, he found his style” and “wanted everyone to make art, especially children.”

white drawing paper, set of oil pastels, watercolor paint with a pencil and marker on table.

Supplies you’ll need

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We recommend two books to read to children about the life of Keith Haring.

Art Project Tutorial

Before You Begin

Discuss Keith Haring’s artwork with students. Notice the colors, lines, and symbols used. As with any artist, preview the work you are showing kids, as some may be deemed inappropriate for certain age groups.

Step 1: Sketch Your Figures

  • To get simple figures, we like to have kids lightly draw a stick figure showing the action they are trying to portray.
  • Trace around the figure.
  • Erase the inside lines.
  • Optional: Use a chisel tip maker to outline the figure.
4 collage images of drawing a simple person.

Step 2: Add Action Lines

Draw different types of lines with oil pastels around the figures. Some of the lines will eventually go off the page.

hand drawing zig zag line with a pink oil pastel.

Step 3: Add Watercolor Paint

You can choose to add different color requirements or just let the children be creative in their choices.

oil pastel and watercolor paints on paper.

Tips

  • Kids can draw one figure or more figures.
  • You can color the inside of the figures as well.
  • Encourage children to sketch lightly so that they can easily erase the lines.
  • Have students act out different actions so they can see the different angles or lines they might use in their figures.
  • Adding extra symbols or items can create a fun piece. Consider a simple shape such as a heart, world, football, etc., to showcase the child’s personality.
painting with white figure with color lines and background.

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Related Elementary Art Project Ideas

Display and enjoy your Keith Haring art projects for all to see!

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Keith Haring Art Project For Kids

Use this free art lesson inspired by Keith Haring for a great elementary art project idea.
Print Tutorial
painting with white figure with color lines and background.
Creating:25 minutes
Total Time:25 minutes

Equipment

  • Paintbrush
  • Water container

Supplies

Instructions

  • To get simple figures, we like to have kids lightly draw a stick figure showing the action they are trying to portray.
  • Trace around the figure with a pencil to get a simple body.
  • Erase the pencil lines inside.
  • Optional: Use a chisel tip maker to outline the figure.
  • Use oil pastels to create different types of lines in the background or negative space.
  • Use watercolor paints in the negative space on top the oil pastels to fill in the rest of the background.

Notes

  • Look at Keith Haring’s artwork for inspiration before beginning.
  • Lightly sketch first with a pencil when drawing your figures.
Author: Erin
Cost: under $5

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