Students love creating cave art paintings! Lots of art materials are used for this project. I like to have my 6th grade students create these projects at the beginning of the year to build their confidence and work on some basic drawing skills. I joke with my students that if you are not good at drawing, this is a perfect project because they get to make stick people and animals. If they are good at drawing they can create animals out of more elaborate shapes. Our inspiration is from the paintings found in the caves at Lascaux, France.
We looked at all different animals of the prehistoric time period and also watched this short video which is a nice summary. Watch YouTube Video
First, students take a 12″ x 18″ piece of white sulphite drawing paper and gently tear the edges of the paper to make it look ragged. Next, students draw 3 different animals. We used this handout for inspiration and visual guidance. I don’t know where I found this handout, as it was given to me many years ago. 🙂
After 3-5 animals are drawn in pencil, I also suggest adding some symbols too such as sun, moon or arrows. The handout has some nice basic shapes.
Use oil pastels to color in the animal shapes. Earth tone oil pastels work well (yellow, orange, red, brown, and black, no purples, blues, or green). Use a finger and blend the oil pastels inside the animal shapes. After the oil pastels, use watercolors (liquid or pan sets) and paint the background. The oil pastels will resist the watercolor paints and still stay bright.
The last step is to add pre-shaped animal stamps (purchased years ago from Roylco) and overlap the stamps on the oil pastel shapes. Then with a spray bottle filled with watered down brown or black tempera paint, lightly spray across the painting. This creates a pitted effect like that of the painting found in caves. If you can’t locate the stamps you could also make some stencils of animals with tag board and have the students stamp inside.
12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper
neutral oil pastels
watercolors- yellow, orange, red, brown, black
spray bottle with watered-down brown or black tempera paint
Optional: animal stamps or stencils