Art Classes: Level II

Level II-Art Lesson 11: The Mexican Mask

Learning about Symmetry, Motifs, and Emphasis

The lesson is suitable for students in grade 4 through adult.


Art Lesson Description

Inspiration for this lesson comes from masks made for the Mexican Holiday, El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). On November 2, The Day of the Dead holiday, Mexicans celebrate the lives of those who have died by

  • decorating their graves with marigolds,
  • lighting candles both at home and in cemeteries, and
  • wearing masks that look like decorated skulls.

Our drawing lesson for the mask makes it easy to create a perfectly symmetrical mask outline. The challenges for the artist will be these:

  • To create a design on the mask that is symmetrical (the right side will mirror the left).
  • To emphasize the nose, eyes, and mouth in the mask design while creating patterns over the whole mask, and
  • To create one or more motifs (a pattern you repeat) in the design. 

This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson.


List of Supplies for Each Art Student


Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections

Social Studies: Learn the history of the holiday. Here are some resources:

  • Watch an interview with people celebrating the holiday. 

Learn about other Mexican holidays:

Language Arts:


  • Make a Day of the Dead bread with this recipe and learn about the science of yeast.


Approximate Lesson Time to Complete the Art Class:

  • Making the mask shape: 20 minutes
  • Drawing and coloring the mask: 50 minutes
  • 70 minutes


Original Image
Original Image
How to Draw
How to Draw
A Finished Art Lesson
A Finished Art Lesson

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