Inkblot Art Lesson for Kids | Harrington Harmonies

Invent Like Da Vinci: An Inkblot Art Lesson for the Inventive Child

Inkblot Art Lesson for Kids | Harrington Harmonies

What do you see in these inkblots?

What do you see in these inkblots? | Harrington Harmonies

I am sure there is a psychology lesson in this somewhere. But I am more interested in the creative possibilities that these patterns can inspire in the inventive child. What will my students create with them? What inventive ideas will result?

 This lesson was inspired by Inkblot: Drip, Splat, and Squish Your Way to Creativity by Margaret Peot. Read my full review on the Inkblot Book on The Curriculum Choice.

 Leonardo da Vinci was as much, if not more, an inventor as he was an artist. Two things got me thinking about using an inkblot art lesson to teach my students about da Vinci. The first was this inspiring quote found in the Inkblot book:

By looking attentively at old and smeared walls, or stones and veined marble of various colors, you may fancy that you see in them several compositions, landscapes, battles, figures in quick motion, strange countenances, and dresses, with an infinity of other objects. By these confused lines, the inventive genius is excited to new exertions. ~Leonardo ca Vinci, Treatise on Painting

I loved this quote so much that I decided to create Leonardo da Vinci Copywork.

{Free} Leonardo da Vinci Copywork Quote | Harrington Harmonies

The quote is quite long and the second page is intended for additional space.

Leonardo da Vinci

Presumed Self Portrait. Red chalk on paper.

The second was the idea that it requires a certain amount of invention to make inkblots into art. Leonardo da Vinci was all about invention. Inkblots are really just blotches and splats of ink on paper, nothing more. But it is that something special that God created in the human mind that fills in the gaps that are missing and invents something out of it. I was curious to see what my students would come up with. I taught a little lesson about da Vinci while the students inkblots were drying.

Da Vinci for Kids- Art Appreciation

First, I read a brief biography about da Vinci to the children. Since my lesson is mostly about invention, I focused on the artwork which accompanied his scientific work.  I did,of course, include a little picture study on the Mona Lisa as well as a Self Portrait.


 Inkblot Art Lesson Vocabulary

Inkblot Art Lesson- Dragons | Harrington HarmoniesVocabulary for this lesson : bilateral, symmetry, positive and negative space. This was a great lesson for teaching the children about symmetry and positive and negative space. Not all inkblots have to be done with a fold using bilateral symmetry but it was the type I chose to do for my lesson.

 Inkblot Art Lesson Materials

You will need:

  • India Ink in the preferred color (I used Black India Ink)
  • Multimedia paper
  • Black artist pens
  • Colored Pencils
  • Straws- if using a blow technique
  • Wet wipes for quick clean up!

Be aware that the ink stains. Have wet wipes ready!

Inkblot Art Lesson Tutorial

  1. Fold paper in half. Fold Paper after placing droplets of ink. Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmoneis
  2. Place dots of India Ink on one side of the fold. Then fold again pressing down so that the ink is “mirrored” on the other side of the fold. Discuss bilateral symmetry.
  3. Allow inkblots time to dry. I used drying time to teach a little about Da Vinci, do a picture study and discuss the copywork quote above.
  4. Have students begin to think or imagine images in their inkblots. This is a great time to discuss positive and negative space. What do your students see in the positive (colored) area of the ink blot? What do they see in the negative (white) space? It’s also good to have them view the inkblot from another angle or turn it upside down. There is no right or wrong, this is simply up to them to invent!
  5. Once your student decides what they see in their inkblot they can begin to draw it with the black pens. Have them keep adding more and more details to their “invention”.Students add details with pens to make their "inventions" take form. Inkblot Lesson from Harrington Harmonies
  6. Finally they can add color in the areas desired to complete their images. Here are a few of my favorite results:

The Crab

Inblot Art Lesson- Crab | Harrington HarmoniesThe Beatle

Beatle: Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmonies

The Black Bear

Black Bear Collage- Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmonies

Mr. Pig

Pig Collage- Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmonies

The Spaceship

Spaceship Collage- Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmonies

Variations of the Inkblot Art Lesson;

I challenge you to make your own invention using inkblots. Try this blown-ink technique to make your inkblots even more interesting:

Use this technique for inkblots to make them more interesting. Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmonies

Use inkblots to make valentines!

valentine card

See something creepy? This would be very fun for Halloween too!

Jock-o-lantern Inkblot Art Lesson | Harrington Harmonies

Helpful Inkblot Resources and Articles :
The Inkblot Book website.
Baltimore Museum of Art has wonderful resources for teachers like this Inkblot PDF.
Create Mixed Media has a wonderful Inkblot Journal.

[Return to Lesson by Artist Index]