Roy Lichtenstein was born October 27, 1923 in New York City. As a child, he was interested in science and art, and after studying art in college, he became an art teacher. At this time, Abstract Expressionism was very popular and much of his early work was in this style, but one day he made a large painting of a cartoon with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Not only was this painting very different from his previous work, but he tried very hard to make it look like a printed image instead of a painting, even going so far as to paint Ben-Day dots on the picture.
Lichtenstein made more paintings based on comic books and advertisements and took his work to an art dealer. Right around this same time, an artist named Andy Warhol also brought his work to the same dealer, who realized this was a big change for the art world! Lichtenstein’s work was not well received at first because most people didn’t understand Pop Art and what he was trying to do. As time passed, though, people began to see that these weren’t just copies of comic book panels; they were original creations that were interesting and fun to look at. By the time he passed away in 1997, Roy Lichtenstein was a very successful artist.
- Whaam! The Art and Life of Roy Lichtenstein
- Roy Lichtenstein: The Artist at Work
- Roy Lichtenstein (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists)
We tried making comic balloons following the plans at Kids Artists. The words took a fair amount of time, so we did this project over two sessions.
We made Lichtenstein-inspired landscapes based on this activity from Rainy Day Mum. Instead of dot markers, though, we used pencil erasers in ink to make nice, uniform dots.
My favorite project was the Lichtenstein Style Portraits from Art Projects for Kids. There is a template there to download, so you just draw the picture and color in the dots. It is time consuming–you can see I never got mine completed!–but it was fun to do.
If you’re looking for more project ideas, try this low prep activity at Art History Kids. All you have to do is print the page and go!
I always like to take my kids to see some of the artist’s work in person if I can, so when we studied Roy Lichtenstein we took a trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. If you are ever in the area, this museum is full of amazing artists. We love it!
And if you’re not near any museums with Lichtenstein’s work, don’t worry! My son came back from the restroom at Red Robin one day and informed me that there was a Lichtenstein in the back hallway and sure enough, there was! I’ve made a point to look at every location we’ve visited and I’ve always found at least one, so take a lunch field trip and see if you can find one!