Keith Haring Art Project

5

Graffiti figures by Keith Haring on whiteboard
This is a perfect lesson to get you through the end-of-the-year or even a mid-year slump. 5th graders love the graffiti nature of Keith Haring.
It’s not hard to be inspired by the simplicity of his action figures and the influences of breakdancing and graffiti.
As a teacher, I love this lesson because the set-up is easy and the kids need very little instruction.

I pass out a container of PrismaColor or Crayola Markers and a sheet of 12″ x 15″ (or smaller if you wish) of white sulphite paper. Drawing the action figure looks easy, but it really helps the kids if you demonstrate some possibilities first. Encourage children to work through mistakes on the figure, as coloring in the figure with markers will hide unwanted lines.
We brainstormed over backgrounds, and I jotted down some ideas on the whiteboard. My suggestion was to color in the bodies with a solid color. Then, provide 2-3 echo lines around the body. This really encouraged the kids to come up with some cool designs.  We spoke about color and energy, but really, the kids got it.

Didn’t they do a great job?
Graffiti color figures by Keith Haring


For more Keith Haring inspiration, download this free PDF lesson guide to learn how to draw Keith Haring Action Figures or click HERE for the full lesson post!

What do you think?

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  • remei

    blog molt interesant. Desde Barcelona et dono les gràcies per poder compartir el teu treball exquisit.

  • K-Sue

    This looks like such fun! I definitely want to do some Keith Haring-inspired art next year – or maybe this summer…?

    • angela

      i think this is great art for my kids being a teacher myself his art is truly amazing the best art i seen on this website is this one

  • Renee

    Not to belittle Keith Harings work but…… I was never really exposed as an art teacher to any of his stuff other than what was mailed to my elementary school. All was age appropriate. A few years later I took my daughter and two nieces on vacation and we happened upon an exhibit featuring his work. I took the 13 year old girls in and much to my surprise the work was not really age appropriate. One niece wrote in her diary that night ” I have never seen so many Pe***is’s in my life.” So I would recommend being fairly cautious because if the students really like his work and parents inadvertently take their children to an exhibit much of his stuff is very adult.

    • Renee Collins

      I think this warning could be stated for many artists. I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve taken my children to see Frida Kahlo’s work, and was asked before we entered the galleries if we knew what we were going into. We did. And my children have seen nudes in Greek and Roman galleries at the Met. We’ve discussed the complexity of the human body, and the inspiration it gives artists. Someone running through the museum naked is inappropriate, a nude statue is art. Girls of 13 should be old enough to handle it in my mind. My girls are 7 and 10. I applaud exposing children to as many artists as possible. Just because children have been given a lesson about a certain artist, the assumption shouldn’t be made that every piece of art created by them is kid friendly. Artists are adults and deal with adult subject matter. I think teachers can expose children to artists in a kid friendly realm. It’s up to parents to then decide when, how and if to expand on that exposure to an artist with their children.

      • Patty

        Exactly, Renee. Most artists have some “unsuitable” pieces in their collections. But I like your attitude; the human body is beautiful and art is allowed to be interpretive. In art, judgement is always required!

        • RobinU

          Speaking for myself, and my inner child, I am remembering those forays to the big museums and galleries, in New York City, with my Dad, or teachers, and I think part of the fun was seeing the naked statues everywhere – giggling at first, and then realizing what is truly beautiful and what is not. What is art and what is not…we begin to learn that, at a very early age.
          I love Keith Haring, and I believe his simple line drawings, and even his more complex work, teaches us, there are a lot of ways to draw the human body…love this lesson.

    • Juanita

      TY, Renee. That was a helpful comment.

    • Lauren

      . Renee- as the others have expressed, artists we teach about are adults, and of course they deal with adult issues. Keith Haring was a homosexual male who ultimately died from AIDS which is why he has a foundation to raise awareness. Research would definitely behoove you, a quick Google search would have taught you very quickly.

      But also stated, there are plenty of nudes in museums. It’s about the discretion
      of the adult with the child what they are exposed to. Art is still art, whether you are offended or not.

  • Andrea Webster

    Thank you for this! I did this lesson as a parent volunteer with a class of wiggly end-of-year 4th graders, and we all had a great time! One boy was I swear the reincarnation of Haring. Amazing! And every kid’s art was totally different. This was perfect for the end of the year, thanks so much!

  • Marie Brennan

    Would it be possible for somebody to post a few step by step instructions to this Keith Haring’s Line Drawing in order to instruct my 5th class on this lesson. Would really appreciate it, Thank you

  • Martha LeBlanc

    Great comments and wonderful examples!

  • jorge

    very cool lesson!

  • Timeka Junius

    Keith Haring color theory workshop is a great project but is a cool project for 7th graders as well.

  • Lin Cheng

    It is great for kids learning movement dynamic

  • fernando

    Amazing idea! i’d love to do this at my school.

  • Daria

    Could you share the book referenced in the handout download? when you say
    “Read the book suggested in the post or look at prints you may have.”
    Thanks

    • Bethany

      Hi Daria! If you click on the link to the full post it mentions this book, Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing. I hope that helps!

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