Celebrate Black History month with a colorful Jacob Lawrence art project for kids! This famous artist art activity is perfect for creating narrative art with a few simple supplies. Art doesn’t have to be difficult or overly messy to share with kids; it doesn’t have to cost a lot, either!
Who Is Jacob Lawrence?
Jacob Lawrence was a fantastic artist who painted pictures that told stories about African American people and their experiences. He was born on September 7, 1917, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and passed away on June 9, 2000.
One of his most famous works is the Migration Series, where he painted 60 pictures showing how African Americans moved from the southern part of the United States to the northern cities.
The migration, often called the Great Migration, was driven by economic opportunities, escape from racial segregation, and the search for a better life.
His paintings are colorful and use interesting shapes to tell important stories. Jacob Lawrence’s art helps us understand the history and feelings of different communities. He was a special artist who used his paintings to share important messages.
Learning about Jacob Lawrence can be a great introduction to art and history for kids, especially during Black History month. Lawrence’s art reflects African Americans’ struggles, triumphs, and contributions throughout history, and his colorful paintings often tell stories in a narrative style.
Explore his works with children by discussing the themes and stories behind each painting. Then get kids to create their own vibrant artwork using simple shapes and bold colors, inspired by Jacob Lawrence.
Why Study Famous Artists?
Studying the artwork of the masters not only influences your artistic style but even improves your skills and decisions when creating your own original work.
It is great for kids to be exposed to different art styles and experiment with other mediums and techniques through our famous artist art projects.
Kids may even find an artist or artists whose work they like and will inspire them to do more of their own artwork.
Why is learning about art from the past important?
- Kids who are exposed to art have an appreciation for beauty!
- Kids who study art history feel a connection to the past!
- Art discussions develop critical thinking skills!
- Kids who study art learn about diversity at a young age!
- Art history can inspire curiosity!
Helpful Art Resources To Get You Started
Here are a few resources to help you introduce art more effectively to your kids or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.
- Free Color Mixing Mini Pack
- Getting Started with Process Art
- Preschool Art Projects
- How to Make Paint
- Easy Painting Ideas For Kids
- Free Art Challenges
- Pop Art Ideas
- What Are The 7 Elements Of Art?
- STEAM Activities (Science + Art)
- Put Together An Art Cart
Tips For Creating Your Collage Art
In this art project, kids will use simple shapes to tell a story inspired by Jacob Lawrence. Here are some steps and tips to create art in a style reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence:
Choose a Story or Theme
Discuss a simple theme or story they want to depict with the kids in their artwork. It could be a scene from everyday life, a favorite activity, or a small narrative. Lawrence often focused on the African American experience, so consider narratives that resonate with their experiences or cultural background.
Use Geometric Shapes
Lawrence often used simple geometric shapes to represent figures and elements in his compositions. Cut out shapes from colored paper or use fabric scraps to construct your images. Experiment with triangles, rectangles, circles, and other basic shapes to convey your story.
Use Vibrant Colors
Lawrence’s paintings are known for their vibrant and bold color palette. Experiment with bright colors to evoke emotions and make your artwork visually striking. Consider how color can be used to show the mood and the story.
Experiment with Patterns
Lawrence often used patterns and repetition in his paintings. Introduce patterns in clothing, backgrounds, or other elements to add texture and interest to your artwork.
Consider Cultural Symbols
If your story involves cultural or historical elements, add in symbols that hold significance. These symbols can add layers of meaning to your artwork.
Tell a Personal Story
While inspired by Lawrence, infuse your own experiences and perspective into the artwork. Your personal touch will make the art unique and authentic.
Review and Refine
Step back and review your artwork. Make adjustments to shapes, colors, and composition as needed. Ensure that the visual narrative is clear and compelling.
Conclude the project with a reflection session. Ask the kids to share their stories and discuss how Jacob Lawrence influenced their artwork’s use of shapes and colors.
Shapes and Stories Art Project
- Construction paper or colored cardstock
- Markers or crayons
STEP 1. Cut out simple shapes from colored construction paper. These shapes will be used to represent different elements in the artwork.
STEP 2. Have the kids arrange the cutout shapes on a blank sheet of paper to create their chosen scene or story. Encourage them to experiment with different arrangements until they are satisfied.
STEP 3. Glue the shapes onto the paper.
STEP 4. Optional – Use markers or crayons to add details, such as facial features, objects, or background elements.
More Fun Artist Inspired Projects
- Georgia O’Keeffe skull art
- MC Escher eye art project
- Grandma Moses winter landscape
- Hilma Af Klint abstract collage
- Hokusai’s The Great Wave
- Tiger art with Rousseau
- Monet Bridge Painting
Printable Famous Artist Bundle
You’ll find each of our famous artists featured in our Famous Artists Project Pack 👇 including tons of fantastic resources!
This bundle includes a variety of art packs to cover different areas of the art experience! Perfect for ages 5-12, with various activities to suit all age levels. Easy to use in the home or classroom.
- Famous Artists Project Pack with 25+ artists to explore past and present, including women, people of color, and indigenous peoples.
- Artists Challenge Pack: Various extra art projects, including a museum scavenger hunt and extras.
- 7 Elements of Art Pack: Learn about and explore the 7 elements of art with handy information, tips, and fun projects to try.
- Art and Playdough Pack: Make homemade playdough and use these art mats with kids of all ages featuring famous artists with simple information.
- Art Techniques Pack: Learn watercolor, collage, and printmaking techniques for your art projects. Complete with information, tips, and activities to try!