Art Classes: Level IV

Level IV-Art Lesson 6: Draw Like an Ancient Egyptian

Learn to draw people using a system invented by ancient Egyptians

The lesson is suitable for students in grade 6 through adult.


Art Lesson Description:

Visit any exhibit of artifacts from the tombs of ancient Egypt, and you cannot help but notice the distinctive style that ancient Egyptians’ used to draw people. Their style has several distinguishing features that remained constant for almost 2000 years. 

  • They show the side of the head, the front of the chest, the side of hips and legs, and the inside arch of both feet. (Try standing that way!) 
  • The style helped emphasize the rank and function of the person being pictured. This was important information, since the art was meant to help usher the entombed persons to their place among the gods.

The problem in this lesson is learn to use the same grid that Aneicnt Egyptians used to draw people.

  • You will have the opportunity to finish the drawing either as a portrait of an ancient Egyptian or as a portrait of your friend.
  • If you draw this as a picture of your friend, you will quickly see how the style makes everyone look pretty much the same. No one will turn out looking tall or short, broad or slender—but they WILL look very human!

This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a grid with the Egyptian figure.


List of Supplies for Each Student:


Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:

Science: Study the enormous scale of Egyptian architecture, and learn what tools they used to build their monuments. Their carvings and paintings did not decompose significantly, even though they are about 4000 years old. Find out why. Here's a website to get you started.

History and religion:

Math: Egyptians measured things in cubits (the distance from the elbow to the tip of the fingers).  A cubit was 6 hands long, and a man was considered to be 3 cubits tall.  Find the proportions of the head, the arm, or the legs to the whole body, and then compare the Egyptian proportions to the proportions of your own body.



Estimated Time to complete the Art Class:

  • Preparing the grid:  25 minutes
  • Drawing the figure: 25 minutes
  • Dressing the figure and painting the figure: 45 minutes
  • Total time: 95 minutes


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

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