Friends Mural

Friends Mural

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A fun and easy, project that will leave your walls full of color and energy.


To create a large scale artwork which will help students better understand the size and scale of some of Keith's larger works.

To express the concept of friendship through shape and images in a collaborative painting.


Black crayons or oil pastels
Large roll of white paper
Watercolour paint & supplies


Have the students make a circle in the classroom and hold hands. Ask them what people think when they see children holding hands. Lead the conversation in the direction of friendship. Usually when we see people holding hands, it means they are friends. Tell them the class will be making a friendship mural in the style of Keith Haring. Everyone will contribute.
Show the children some of Haring's artwork that has images of people and friends, holding hands, hugging, etc. Discuss how Keith drew people, using outline, no clothing, no faces, etc.

Work with 2 or 3 students at a time. Younger children will need a template made for them to create the people in the mural. Out of large Bristol board, draw and cut out a simple Haring-style shape of a person. You can make a male and female shape if you like. Each student will take a template and place it down on the mural paper (masking tape it down for young children so it won't slip) and then trace around the template in pencil. Lift the template off. Older students can draw the people shapes themselves. The idea is to have the people images all connected as if they are holding hands. You can use a jigsaw effect like I did by placing a row of people on the bottom and then turning the paper upside down and placing another row so that the heads are "interlocking." Next, the student will trace over the pencil line with a black oil pastel. (Oil pastels will resist water colour paint when colouring the mural). Once the image is boldly outlined in black, have the students fill in the shape with watercolours, (I use dry tempera block paints which you rub a wet brush on. Have a cup of water there for rinsing brushes between colours.) Choose one colour which you will not use for the people so it can be the background colour. It doesn't matter of students are out of the lines as the oil pastel line will show through no matter what. They should be concentrating more on colour. Remind them they are not trying to make faces or clothes. Remind them of how Haring would have painted the people. Once they fill up the person with colour, they should write their name underneath their person in oil pastel. Last, have the students help you fill the background in with a selected background colour, again in watercolour tempera block.


Title the painting "Friends" and display it proudly outside you classroom. Put a photo of Keith beside it and the words "Inspired by Keith Haring."

This is a good activity for the primary aged child. Older students can create a mural with more "movement".

Bishop Strachan's web site