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Hokusai: An Art Activity for Students
Hokusai View on a Fine Breezy Day
Hokusai's "View on a Fine Breezy Day"
For a page on Hokusai, click here

In this activity, students will create a work of art in the style of the Japanese artist Hokusai.

Hokusai (1760-1849) was a Japanese painter and printmaker. He is most famous for his series of prints called "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji" (produced during the period 1826-1833). Hokusai's seemingly timeless images are almost 200 years old.

Supplies:
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Pastels, watercolors, gouache, colored pencils or crayons
  • Brushes

Instructions:

Show the student pictures of some of Hokusai's simpler works, like the image "View on a Fine Breezy Day" pictured above. Check your local library for a book of his works, or visit the Webmuseum website, where you can view many of his works online.

Explain that Hokusai's works often consisted of simple brushstrokes, large areas of pure color, and simplified images. Like a beautiful Japanese garden, all extraneous elements are eliminated.

In order to create a work of your own in the style of Hokusai, first think of what subject you would like to draw (Mt. Fuji is certainly fun to draw, or you can try a local landmark). Decide where you want the subject to be: in the foreground or in the background (with other objects in front of it). Also, will the subject of the picture be in the center, or to the right or left). What colors do you want to use in your picture, and related to this, what feeling do you want your picture to portray?

Using a pencil, sketch your drawing on the paper. When you're happy with the layout of your sketch, add the colors.

Give your work a title and sign it.

For a page on Hokusai's life, click here.

The Webmuseum page on Hokusai.




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