Draw Like an Egyptian-art project

This year they are studying Ancient times at the Christian school where I teach, so I have created a whole bunch of new  art lessons to tie in with the cultures that they are studying. I have done this project with the 1st-4th graders and last week with the 7th-8th graders. Both groups had alot of fun and success with it.


16"x16" cardboard
acrylic paint
chalk pastel

I started with a brief introduction to Egyptian drawing. There are lots of resources on the internet that explain the process and ideas behind how the Egyptians did their drawings. I discussed how they made paint, and colors they used etc. Then I introduced hieroglyphics. I made copies of all the hieroglyphics from a book I had, but there are many sources for that on the internet as well. I gave each student a copy and they began the lesson by practicing various hieroglyphics on scratch paper. Once they had practiced all the ones they wanted on their project I gave them a 16x16 piece of cardboard. (my husband works at a cabinet shop and cut these from )

Using a template that I had made of an Egyptian woman and man they chose the one they wanted and traced around it. I had the younger kids all do theirs in the middle with the hieroglyphics around the outside. I let the older kids choose how they would arrange the figure and hieroglyphics. I also plan to do this lesson with the high school students and I will have them freehand the figure instead of tracing.

After drawing everything in pencil, I had them go over in Sharpie. Using the limited palette of colors-brown, white, teal, orange, yellow,and black, I had them paint in all their symbols and the figure. ( to stay true to the real Egyptian drawings-I had them paint the man's skirt white, and the woman's dress teal. His skin was a reddish brown, and the woman's skin a creamy flesh color). They could add jewelry, hair ribbons, and tools, weapons, or things like a fan or mirror for the woman). I brought in some pictures and books to help them.

After everything was dry, I had them re-Sharpie areas that needed it. Then they rubbed the flat side of a lt. brown chalk pastel over the entire picture, wiping most of it off with a paper towel. This helps give it an aged look. I had them use a dark brown pastel on the edges and rub that in to give it a frame. This took a total 2 hr.time block. The kids really enjoyed this project.