Tuesday, April 2, 2013

5th Grade Pointillism Birds

I love teaching about pointillism. There is so much color theory that can be worked into the lesson. I require my students to mix all of their colors in pointillism. They are allowed to use the actual color (i.e. using the purple marker in making purple), but they need to include other colors as well. Using pink makes a lighter purple than using red (it's pretty hard to make a nice purple using red!). Also, mixing too many colors together usually makes brown, but mixing complementary colors also makes brown. The students had fun experimenting! Last year, my 5th graders made pointillism desserts; this year, we made birds. I printed off about 25 different kinds of birds for the students to choose from. They had to copy the picture in pointillism, recreating the colors in the photo by mixing different colors of marker dots together. The students don't do the background of the picture because at the 5th grade level it would be too confusing to have dots everywhere.

Here are some student examples:

These two pictures have already appeared on my blog because they have both been displayed at art shows for Youth Art Month:

Before the students began their birds, they completed the pointillism worksheet I created. This worksheet helps the students understand the concept of mixing colors with dots. As they work, I allow them to periodically place their worksheet on the blackboard with a magnet so they can look at it from far away. Before they begin the worksheet, I give them lots of ideas for mixing the colors. For example, tan can be included in yellow-orange; to make purple, the students may want to use pink or raspberry instead of red so it won't be so dark.


  1. Beautiful birds, I like the simple white background. Just right.

  2. I am a huge fan of your pointillism lessons!

  3. This is pointillism perfection! The empty background is perfect. I am going to pin this! I think 5th grade would really do well with this challenge!

  4. Which paint colours did you provide students?