Pointillism Project: A Fun Art Activity for All Ages

Learn how to create a colorful work of art with this easy pointillism project. Not confident in your artistic skills? No problem! Get the tips and steps you need to complete a beautiful masterpiece of your own or teach a pointillism art lesson to students. Pointillism is a simple technique to learn, and can be adapted to any age or skill level. Read on to learn how easy a pointillism project can be.

My Pointillism Backstory

Whenever I see blossoming cherry or plum trees, I think of my favorite art project. As some of you know, I am rather artistically challenged. That’s why this pointillist painting activity is so terrific. Whether you are doing a pointillism art project with preschool students, a pointillism lesson plan with middle school students, or a pointillism painting as part of an adult art class, learning the pointillism technique is easy and requires only a few simple supplies. People always admired the results when I displayed student pointillism art on the bulletin board. It’s a snap to be successful with this pointillism project!

Pointillism_ A Fun Art Project for All Ages Pinterest image

What is Pointillism?

According to the Britannica website, pointillism is “the practice of applying small strokes or dots of colour to a surface so that from a distance they visually blend together.” The movement was most popular during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and was invented by French artist Georges Seurat. Whenever I teach a pointillism art lesson, I try to have an art print of Seurat’s for students to observe.

Pointillism by George Seurat
Study for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat, 1884 This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.

I have students observe the art print from a distance, then observe the print from about one foot away. They are always astonished at the difference.

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A Primary Grades Project

Supplies:

White drawing paper cut into 6 inch squares (or light blue for very young children, to eliminate having to paint the sky)

Sharpened pencils for sketching

Unsharpened pencils with brand new erasers for making the dots of paint

Tempera paint in red, blue, green, brown and white (or you could have students mix yellow and blue to make different shades of green)

Brown marker (if you don’t have brown paint)

Paper plates to use as palettes

Paper towels for blotting

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I usually have a discussion with students about lines. If the weather is nice, I like to take the students outside to observe the straight and curved lines in nature, specifically a blossoming tree, if there is one nearby. Then we go inside, and I have the students create a simple line drawing along with me.

I have the students draw a series of straight lines in the shape of the letter Y for the tree trunk and branches. Then I have the students draw a curved line for the ground. If students wish, a sun may be sketched in, or clouds, but nothing too complex. After creating a simple sketch, each student uses the brand new eraser end of an unsharpened pencil to dip into tempera paint.

Painting Pointillism with Patience

Each student should have squirts of paint in desired colors, with enough room on the plate for mixing colors, if desired. I always demonstrate how to load the paint on the eraser, blot on a paper towel if needed, then press straight down with the eraser onto the paper until more paint is needed. I have students put dots on the tree trunk and branches first, with either a marker or paint. Then I have students add dots to the sky and the ground. Later, maybe even after a short break, students may add the pointillism blossom dots to the tree.

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When I display the student artwork, I like to place the art print by George Seurat nearby. Students seem to enjoy having their work displayed alongside that of a famous artist.

An Upper Elementary Project

The basic concept is the same for an upper elementary pointillism art lesson, with the same supplies. Mainly, the difference is in the number of details in the sketch as well as the size of the painting. This example was created on nine inch by twelve inch paper. Older students may wish to add other landscape elements, such as a mountain.

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A More Advanced Project

On a recent visit to see my parents, I noticed that my dad had created his own pointillism painting. He had taken an art class, and had used Georges Seurat artwork as his inspiration as well! Here’s my dad’s painting:

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Would anyone care to name this work of art?

Although the supplies are different, the basic concept is the same.

Supplies:

One 1/2 inch flat brush

One little round brush with short bristles

One wider brush for painting a base coat of light color

One 12 inch by 18 inch canvas, pre-treated with sizing, available at most craft stores

Acrylic paint

As with the previously-described pointillism projects, begin by sketching a landscape or other design, then fill in with dots of paint. My dad’s best tip: To speed up the painting process, use a wide brush to paint a light base coat of color for each area of the painting. That way, the dots do not have to be painted so densely. Thanks for the tip, Dad!

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Planning to Teach a Pointillism Art Lesson?

Do you think you might like to try pointillism? Perhaps teach a pointillism art lesson? Whatever your level of artistic expertise, a marvelous creation will result. That’s my kind of art project, and maybe it’s yours as well. It’s always nice to have a place to jot down ideas and schedules for projects. With this 16-page planner, all of your art lessons, appointments and lists can be in one well-organized place. Just download and print the file to get started.

sunflower garden planner printable

Get the planner!

Have a wonderful week, and may all of your artistic endeavors meet with success!

First Name Signature Conclusion

 

 

Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and teacher who gets inspiration for art projects from the beautiful outdoors surrounding her family’s small Pacific Northwest farm. To learn more about what this website has to offer, click on over to the Welcome page.

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18 thoughts on “Pointillism Project: A Fun Art Activity for All Ages”

  1. Love this!
    A great (and time consuming!) fun art project!
    Will definitely be trying this with the kids this week! And for myself!
    Great post! 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes, it keeps kids busy for a while, that’s for sure! Have fun!

      Reply
  2. I love how artists just came up with pointillism. Maybe they were bored of just painting the good old way?
    Thanks for bringing this to us, love this post!

    Reply
    • Anthony,

      I agree, pointillism is definitely a different way of looking at things. I’m glad, because I’d sure have a difficult time trying to paint the details as they really look. I hope you get to try this fun painting technique, and if you do, please feel free to share your work so we can see how it turned out! Thanks for your comment, and have a super week!

      Lisa

      Reply
  3. This sure does seem like fun…if I ever have the guts to let me toddlers get near paint! LOL

    Reply
    • Nicole,

      Who knows? It might work out well! =) Thanks for your positive comment, even if you do choose to hold off trying it for a few years.

      Lisa

      Reply
  4. Such a great post! I used to love my art-class segments on this painting technique 🙂

    Reply
    • Flossie,

      Thanks for the positive words. It seems as if you have had a lot of experience with teaching art. I’m glad you liked the post!

      Lisa

      Reply
  5. I’m a terrible artist, always have been, but this looks like something that would be right up my daughter’s alley! I’m going to suggest we try it together! Thanks for the idea!

    Reply
    • Sarah,

      Oh, I hope you do get to try it together! If I can have success with it, that should be a big encouragement to everyone else to give it a try. Thanks for the positive words!

      Lisa

      Reply
    • Eefje,

      I’m glad you enjoy this type of art. I’ve always had a great time with it. It’s fun to see the astonishment of the kids when they see what they have created. Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa

      Reply
  6. I just visited an art museum, and I was blown away by the various paintings. I wish I could paint too, but I am also artistically challenged. Pointillism seems to be a fun and easy art project to do, and this is something I’d like to try. By the way, I love your dad’s painting!

    Reply
    • Life Travel Soul,

      I agree, it is amazing what people can create. I hope you do get to try pointillism, and I appreciate your kind words about my dad’s painting. I love it, too!

      Lisa

      Reply
  7. I remember these types of art projects from when I was in school, although we used ink pens. At first, I thought, as an amputee, I could never do this but then I had a great idea. I use a stylus for everything. Why couldn’t I use my stylus to paint like this too? Thank you, Lisa, for a great way for me to create art. I’m looking forward to trying it!

    Reply
    • Wendy,

      I actually thought of you when I was writing this. I’d love to see what you create. Thanks for your positive comments, and have fun trying out the pointillism technique.

      Lisa

      Reply
  8. This seems like a great art project. You make it look so easy thank you so much for sharing I can’t wait to try it

    Reply
    • Holly,

      It is easy, and fun as well. I hope you get to try it out. Thanks for your positive words!

      Lisa

      Reply

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