Level II-Art Lesson 3: The Japanese Goldfish
Learn to draw a fish based on a Japanese yard lantern
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 1 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
We found this cast iron fish on a number of places in the western United States—on the front steps of a Washington home and decorating the awning of a cafe in Oahu, to name a few.
The simple design of the fish with its repeated pattern of scales makes it easy to introduce the idea of a motif in art, and the uniform rusty brown finish almost begs for color. Put motif and color together, and you have a wonderful art lesson!
After the warm-up, the guided drawing lesson invites a number of opportunities for individual interpretation and for experimentation with motifs. At the end of the lesson, you will color the fish with magic markers as you invent more motifs—this time in color.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the fish.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 goldfish warm-up (this comes with the lesson)
- 1 sheet of glossy printer paper
- Fine tipped permanent black marker
- Washable colored markers
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Use this lesson as an introduction to the geography and history of Japan. For an interesting story about the history of Japanese Americans during World War II, watch the documentary, Japanese American History Unknown.
- Get some quick facts about Japan
- 10 facts about Japan
- Find lots of books for children about Japan
- Writing: Study haiku poetry and write a haiku poem.
- Read the story of “Urashima Taro.”
- Read The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel
- Read Hachiko by Pamela Turner
- Read A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno
- Read Taro and the Tofu by Masako Matsuno
- Read Tree of Cranes by Allen Say
- Read Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein
- Read The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks by Katherine Paterson
- Art: Look at Escher's painting, Fish and Boat to enjoy a different view of a fish like the one you painted.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Introduction through guided drawing: 25 minutes
- Finishing the drawing: 35 minutes
- Total time: 60 minutes