Please Don't Eat the Artwork


Gyotaku Fish Prints


Second graders learned all about printmaking and Japan during this unit and created dazzling Gyotaku artwork. We began by watching a couple of videos about the art form.

We also looked at a few pictures of under-the-sea-scapes and students noticed that they were mostly cool colors. With that knowledge, they got to work on their background. Using cool colored crayons and watercolors, they created a watery background.


The next week was messy and a whole lot of fun. Students used an assortment of round objects to dip and stamp bubbles with blue tempera paint.

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Meanwhile, in small groups students created a Gyotaku print at the printing table with warm colors.


The last week was spent collaging the fish onto the background and adding details.


These turned out to be absolutely fabulous and really brighten up the hallway where they are hanging. Which one is your favorite?

The one that is all twisted up:

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The one with some crabs:

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The royal one:


The rather girly homeowner:


The one that swims with sharks:

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The one with some little babies:

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The one that is straight chillin in the sand:


The one that is straight chillin in the seaweed:


The one that is straight chillin in the reeds:


The one with a serious shark:

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The one who lives in a pineapple under the sea:

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The one with realistic bubbles:


The one with an electric eel:

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This was dolphinitely a reely great project! 🙂

Author: artwithmsk

Hello! My name is Ms. Katzin and I am an art teacher at an elementary school near Atlanta, Georgia. Teaching art is my passion and I love what I do!

6 thoughts on “Gyotaku Fish Prints

  1. A VERY tough call on a favourite. Might be the one chillin in the reeds… Or the one taking her babies to visit the Eiffel Tower… 🙂

  2. They don’t look quite like real fish on the table. What are they? Very interested to try this with the kids at school.

  3. OMG these are great! I love your photo captions. GIGGLE!!!

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