Fourth graders continued their study of cultures from around the world with this unit on Japanese art. Students watched an animated video introduction to the history of gyotaku prints. We practiced painting the rubber fish molds with tempera paint and printing on narrow sheets of newsprint paper. Students worked together to share paint, brushes and various fish molds.
On the next day of class, each student printed two to three fish in the color scheme of their choice, warm or cool. To create a lifelike representation, students added white paint to tint the fish's belly. Once each student had printed their fish, the paper was hung up to dry and students helped one another with printing and clean-up.
After students had printed their fish, they were encouraged to complete their composition by creating an underwater environment. Each class used chalk pastels and green tissue paper to depict water and seaweed. We talked about the use of space and balance, and how to create depth and overlap using the tissue paper.
When the compositions were complete, students finished the assignment by adding a red chop print with the Japanese character of their choice. Students carved the character in reverse into a small sheet of Styrofoam, and printed with red ink.
Below are examples of the finished artwork.
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