I opted to do this with my third graders--a
Very little introduction needs to be done for the kids to get excited about this project. I show them the following video to get them hyped!
For your reference, the above artist, Naoki, has a website with a lot of his gyotaku prints featured:
And the following video is pretty cool, too, and is set to some neat music!
After discussing the art of gyotaku, or "fish rubbing," I had the kids paint their background paper. I experimented with a few papers but ultimately prefer using watercolor paper, as it isn't terribly thick but still holds up to the weight of watercolors and tempera combined. Our paper was 8 x 18".
The kids were allowed to choose the palette they used for the watercolored background, as well as choose whether they wanted an abstract cloudy/blob look, or a more organized pattern.
I fully took advantage of Ren's fantastic idea to have extra gyotaku assignments prepared for the kids who weren't printing (as we couldn't do all prints at once). Kiddos designed their own funky fish and personalized stamp design, as per the worksheet you can find on Dali's Moustache:
Some of my early finishers wrote a few facts about their fish. My favorites include:
"This is Elvis Fish. He wants me to say, 'thank you, thank you very much' for reading about him."
"My fish makes man prints. He won first place for his man printing."
The third graders were absolutely nuts for this project. And, as with their Trapeze Artists, all of the other grade levels were totally jealous! For just two 45-minute classes, I am thrilled with the work that the students produced! These precious smiles prove that I'm not the only happy one:
This is such a cool job.