Cut-Out Figures

Cut-Out Figures

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Combining the standard early-childhood project of full size traced self-portraits and the work of Keith Haring, this lesson adds a refreshing variation to an old classic.


To help students develop an understanding of movement & scale.

To cultivate technical and motor skills.


Large Roll Paper
Compressed Sponges


The students looked at the work of Keith Haring, especially his large murals involving people. Each student chose an action pose and we traced their body outlines on large sheets of white roll paper. Each student chose one color to paint his or her entire action sketch. I cut out various shapes, squiggly and zigzag lines, and spirals out of compressed sponges. The students stamped their sponges in black paint and then onto their people in various combinations. For the final step, the students cut their figures out and outlined them in black paint.


Can you tell which figure belongs to which classmate?

Do the choice of colors and patterns relate to the student's personality? How?


Use the figures as a backdrop to a theater set.

Create a painted surrounding for the figures, such as a schoolbus or a playground.

Use this lesson to teach children color mixing; allow each child to choose two primary colors to mix on their own and then to paint their figure with.




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