Explore how to make Ukiyo-e Inspired Prints with your child inspired by the famous Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.
Here’s a fun activity to do with your kids! It’s print making, by reusing items such as Styrofoam trays.
Red Ted Art inspired us in her Kids Get Arty Series to learn about a famous artist. Since we’re learning about Japan with our Around the World in 12 Dishes we decided to learn about a famous Japanese Artist.
We discovered Katsushika Hokusai from his famous piece The Great Wave off Kanagawa. My daughter actually remembers seeing it in one of the Little Einsteins shows called “A Brand New Outfit”. I love how that series teaches our children about great artists and musicians!
As we did our research we discovered the art process he uses is Ukiyo-e, Japanese Block Printing Making.
The Great Wave off KanagawaKatsushika Hokusai ( 1760 – 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period.
In his time, he was Japan’s leading expert on Chinese painting. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally recognized print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s.
Books About Hokusai and Japan for Kids
Here are a few Books about Hokusai that we checked out from our library.
- The Great Wave: A Children’s Book Inspired by Hokusai
- Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain
- One Day in Japan With Hokusai
- Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!
- Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms and Matsuri: A Year of Seasonal Japanese Festivities
- Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories
- All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids
- I Live in Tokyo
- Suki’s Kimono
- The Way We Do It in Japan
- My Japan
- Colors of Japan
- K is for Kabuki
- Ame Goes to Japan
- One Leaf Rides the Wind
As we studied the books and 36 Views of Mount Fuji we found that we also like the pictures that included the Cherry Blossoms which are the Japanese National Flower. We decided it would be fun to create a project using these.
Here are a few of my daughter’s favorite from the collection.
Katsushika Hokusai, ‘Mount Fuji seen through cherry blossom’ (c.1834)
Making a Ukiyo-e Inspired Prints with Kids
We found a picture of cherry blossoms to help us with drawing the blossoms onto a recycled Styrofoam tray. My daughter drew the flowers onto the try that she wanted.
Keep in mind when making the prints you the area that you draw will be white and will also be the opposite image. Once your image is ready you roll the ink or paint onto the foam, try not to use too much paint. Then you use your paper and lay it down onto the design. Be careful not to move it. Peel it away and you’ll find your design! We made a few prints for each family member.
Resources for Ukiyo-e Print Making
- How to Make Ukiyo-e
- Coloring Sheet of The Big Wave
- String Prints
- VIDEOS ABOUT Katsushika Hokusai and Uukiyo-e
- Cherry Blossom Print out
- How To Make a Block Print
- Foam Block Printing
- Bringing an Art Musuem to your School
We can’t wait to do more prints using this technique! I hope you’re inspired to try it out!
If you have a Japanese Craft or Recipe that you’ve shared we’d love for you to share below in the comments.
The works of Japanese painter Hokusai set to traditional Japanese music. I wonder what these will inspire your child to create!