Keith Haring is known for his bold, graphic style of art. He was born in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1958. He loved Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney and learned basic cartooning from both current culture and his father.
Haring devoted much of his time producing art to promote cultural messages. He is considered one of the most important artists of our generation.
His artwork is very relatable to children. Haring’s fun, active art is relatable and replicable. This lesson uses some of his most iconic works of art as inspiration. If you have colored paper and a black marker, you are on your way to creating some funky, active art!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 12″ x 14″ colored or white paper (12″ x 18″ is fine but you can cut it down depending on how big you want the final piece of art)
- 8″ x 10″ colored paper for figures
- Black marker
- Scissors and glue
Optional: cake tempera paint.
Use the drawing handout to draw 3-5 figures on colored paper. If you are unsure how your students will react to drawing without a pencil, hand out a piece of scrap paper to practice first.
Children can draw all of their figures using the same colored paper OR vary the colors to create multiple colored figures. You can focus on WARM or COOL colors or even COMPLEMENTARY colors for the background.
Cut out the figures and either keep the black outline visible or turn over the figures if you don’t want the outline visible.
Create a background for the figures. In this photo, I used a red 12″ x 14″ paper and covered the bottom with a 3″ x 14″ paper. Place the figures over the background. Glue down and then use a black marker to add MOVEMENT LINES. This simple step adds RHYTHM to the art.
Here is another Keith Haring lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.
ABOUT THE BOOK
I was overjoyed to see this book on the shelves of my local bookstore. Not only is it about Keith Haring but it is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators: Robert Neubecker. The illustrations capture Haring’s energy and style. Perfect pair, I think.
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing
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DOWNLOAD THE KEITH HARING DRAWING GUIDE
To access the drawing guide, click on the yellow button and we will email you the PDF.
Thank you for the free handout; it’s really cool! Aren’t figure 1 and 3 the same figure though?
Yes…that’s a blooper. If you download again, you’ll get the fixed PDF. Thanks for letting me know 🙂
This is a perfect “end of year” project when things get SUPER hectic and art days are “hit or miss” in the way of full sessions. 🙂 Thanks for this! I am excited to do this one soon!
Love it! My 9-year-old will want to do this right away!
Oh my 8th and 7th graders couldn’t wait to add these to the textured paper they had made. I even made a couple of large patterns so they could trace it if they were having a hard time drawing. I have a few students with learning issues and this was great for them. As an introduction we watched a youtube about keith and then watch a video on the Ann Arbor Graffiti Wall. Great lesson!
Thanks for this awesome art lesson. I needed something quick and easy as I had a little spare time at the end of the day. The Year 4 students thought it was fun creating their action figures doing the ‘flossing’ dance action. We also found the Keith Haring book on Youtube and students were fascinated to learn about the way he became an artist.
Love this! I just used your water resist monster for ALL grade levels and tied it in with the beginning of school procedures and their Class Dojo Monsters! Everyone enjoyed the lesson!
Thank you so much!!
Thank you for the free resource. I noticed in the post it shows written directions for drawing the action figures but with the free download there are just pictures. Am I missing something?
Yes…the full lesson is available to members in The Sparklers Club. It’s a art teacher resource that includes access to art bundle s(which contains many lessons grouped by theme). We have another enrollment in January.
Great, thank you!
Starting camp tomorrow, they will love this!
I find your Figures very nice and expressiv and as grany I hope that our children will like to use your propositions to realise some of them and imagine others with there friends.
Thank you very much
My students absolutely loved this! All their pieces were unique and they enjoyed learning about Keith Haring. Great project!
Good to know!
That sound fun
it sounds fun
i did this as an art assiment and really enjoyed it !! :3
This is a fun project. Now I see why my teacher assigned it to my class.
Will be a distance Learning option!!! Can’t wait!
Hi there, I purchased this lesson with an instructional video, I cannot seem to find it now and cannot find it in my files. Can you help please?
We’ll certainly try! The Keith Haring Action Figure Lesson plan has been discontinued in out tsore for a few years but we’ll check your order to see what we can do. Please email email@example.com. We’ll get back to you shortly.
I love the figures!
There is a problem downloading the PDF file…..please help
We’ll be able to help you if you email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!!!
Awesome! Thank you!
Having trouble downloading – it is getting stuck on the wrte email here for download
Hi Marion! This is Bethany from Team Sparkle. I just checked and all the links are working on our end. Try shutting things down and restarting them on your end. You could also try using a different browser and always make sure you have a strong internet connection.
This was a great lesson. I adapted some parts to suit my 7th grade class.
Awesome for that emergency Sub Day!
I was not able to download it
Hi Sheri! Thanks so much for requesting our lesson! If you click the download button and add your email address we will send the pdf directly to your inbox. Be sure to check your spam folder in case our email ended up there on accident. Enjoy.
This lesson was perfect for my first attempt at an art class at the library where I worked (up until last August). It was so much fun to see the young people in my group run with this…their adults were surprised at the quality of their work when they picked them up! It was fun to use Keith’s biography and his book “Dance” as jumping off points for their art. And we played music and danced! I wish that I was still doing this kind of work…I will have to find an outlet for teaching more of these lessons!
I also posted photos of their works on Instagram. Lots of love there.