Kids Get Arty: Lichtenstein for Kids

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Welcome back to our bi- monthly Kids Get Arty project! Every two months, we explore a Great Artists – today we have Lichtenstein for Kids – in a child friendly manner. We looked at Lichtensteins artwork and then had a go in “the style of”.. remember, it isn’t about copying the artwork, but exploring the technique and style of the artists. It is a great way to talk about real artists to children, talk to them about the process of art and introduce famous paintings to them. Great Artists Made Easy for Kids!

Pop Art for Kids

We started Kids Get Arty projects a bit over a year ago – with a Klimt for kids project and I am learning a lot about making the art project interesting for my children. If I do not “hit the right note”, they just don’t want to do it! Fair enough.

I think the main thing, is to try different things, and discuss different artists to land on a project that they may want to do (I tried Kandinsky first.. but no.. little interest)!

Red Ted has this big “worry” about getting things “wrong”. This is of course part of the whole “process vs product” debate and I do understand that some art projects can be restrictive if you say “first you have to do this, and then that”.

I do believe however, that sometimes it is good to put some structure around and art projects, so long as there is scope for creative freedom within it. Afterall, learning skills and techniques is still part of art. Because of this, I decided to show him Lichtensteins artwork as we went along with our project. I knew that if he saw it first, he would get frustrated with his own work. So we started our project, took a break and then researched Lichtenstein on the computer.

Lichtenstein is a great artist to explore with kids, as his cartoons and comic books style art really appeals to them.

Lichtenstein for Kids Art Projects – materials

  • 2-3 large scale but relatively simple photographs of the family/ children,
  • tracing paper and pen – we happened to have some acetate sheets and marker pens,
  • but tracing paper should be just fine,
  • ideally a photocopier to make copies,
  • paint and in our case Qtips instead of brushes

Lichtenstein for Kids Art Lesson Plan

Lichtenstein Art Project for Kids

1) The aim of our art session was to break down our “normal picture” into a comic picture. Clearly my kids are two young to do this free hand. And to be honest, I am not sure I could do it either. So I thought it would work really well, if we used a large print out of one of their favourite photos and use that and tracing paper to draw the outlines.

I worked with Red Ted, holding the acetate in place for him and talking him through the process – “can you follow the line that makes the teddy’s arm? and go round the nose and then the ears” etc. I think it really helped him, as he was a little nervous of doing this. And even tried to rub things out (which just  made a big smudge). I reassured him along the way, that he was doing a great job and that small “mistakes” really don’t matter but add to the final artwork. Though I think he found this step a little “stressful”… he actually asked to do another picture later in day and really enjoyed creating the outlines for the second picture – i.e. I think he felt he had learnt a new technique and felt much more confident about everything.

2) I then photocopied the outline to give us paper copies to work on – It was fun for him to see that we could now produce more than one picture this way and is a great way to reinforce part of how “Pop Art” is often about reproducing the same image over and over again. Pip Squeak also got a copy of Red Ted’s work.

Lichtenstein Art

Pop Art for Kids

3) It was now time to get colour and paint. We went online to look at some of Lichtensteins Artwork. Below is our exploration of Lichtenstein art. But let me finish the project description for you first. We tried to only use primary colours, red, blue and yellow, as well as some white and black. Red Ted REALLY wanted to use a little green too, so I let him (well, it is HIS artwork afterall). I did discuss that when you print comics, in the old days it was done by overlaying different coloured tiny dots to achieve different colours. To get pink, you need to do tiny red dots on white etc. So, Red Ted using Q-tips dotted the face and arms and painted the rest (again with Q-tips, he loved using them as brushed). Pip Squeak also had a go.

Roy Lichtenstein projects

The final result DOES look a little bit like an explosion of chicken pox. Clearly our dots are a little bit big, but we had fun doing it. Red Ted also made me take the painting “as far away as possible”, so he could see if it started looking a little bit more pink….

Art for Kids Lichtenstein

4) The only thing that is “missing” would be a signature, tongue and cheek “speech bubble”. We didn’t get that far in our project (it was a sunny day), but I wonder if I can get Red Ted to think up of something simple and expressive to add in the coming days!

Roy Lichtenstein for kids

As mentioned above, an hour or so later, he asked if he could do another one and chose a favourite holiday snap to paint. Lovely.

Pip Squeak generally seemed less interested, (unusually so), I think she thought we were doing “homework” and left us to it!

Roy Lichtenstein art projects


Red Ted’s “additional” project. Top Tip: if you are using acetate like us. MAYBE use a wipable marker, so that IF there is a mistake that really frustrates you child, they can wipe it away.


Roy Lichtenstein is an American Pop Artists (check out our Andy Warhol project from previous Kids Get Artys). Lichtenstein liked to represent emotional matters in an impersonal manner. He also based his artwork on existing comics, adverts or wrappers – and recreating small elements in a large (huge) scale.

Whaam! 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Whaam! – Tate Modern – sadly on our visit to the Tate Modern, this piece wasn’t currently on display! I do hope we get to see it in the future some time!

When we chose the photos above, we chose photos that meant something to Red Ted – one was of him with the school bear about  a year ago. The other was a picture of him on our holiday last year. Lichtenstein simplifies the emotions in his artwork – so it is important for us to use pictures that mean something to us.

By tracing only Red Ted and his teddy, we are emphasising an highlighting the important part of the photo. The rest disappears and doesn’t matter.

Lichtenstein inspired art

Looking at Lichtenstein’s work, you can also see that he only uses primary colours (very occassionally you will see a little green in use), but in essence you are working with red, blue and yellow and of course white and black – this is mainly because Comic strips used to be printed in this fashion – overlaying different primary colours to achieve new colour combinations.

I asked Red Ted how you make “pink”, he said with red and white (good boy!!). So to get a “pink” colour in a Lichtenstein painting – you need to red dots on a white background. Then if you step very far away, it starts to look pink. Well, in theory anyway! Our artwork looked a bit more like chicken pox, but still, it is all about the discussion.


 Lichtenstein Make Up

Whilst researching different pieces of art, Red Ted was totally taken by this website -that recreated Lichtenstein artwork in “real life”. I think it also made him feel differently about his own “chickenpox” paintings and think abut how the pictures were being created.

Lichtensteins Eye

Roy Lichtenstein’s Eye

“Pop Art looks out into the world. It doesn’t look like the painting of something, it looks like the thing itself” Roy Lichtenstein

Red Ted was fascinated by some of the details and also by the fact that Lichtenstein seemed to “do a lot of girls” and “not so many boys” (why, Mummy?!).  I am hoping that we do get to see a real Lichtenstein soon, as I also want to show him how BIG they are. i.e. not A4 or A3 sheets of paper, but large scale paintings. I wonder if it would be easier for him to then see some of the “dots”.

More GREAT Artist Projects for Kids to learn and explore… find some fun Picasso, Mondrian, Jasper Johns and many other great artists to explore here: