This month, in the spirit of the summer and sea, we made some beautiful Hokusai wave paintings! I love this artist and his beautiful depictions of violent huge waves, and normally when studying his work with students we tend to create our own prints and stamps out of styrofoam. This time we felt like trying something different, and with a large A3 paper started sketching layers of Zentangle type waves in Sharpie marker.

Here are some tips, but this really can go any way your imagination leads!

  • If you place the paper height wise, you get more room to do even more layers of waves!
  • We love black Sharpies, but any black marker would work. However sometimes its a good idea to sketch out your ideas in pencil first so you can erase any “mistakes”.
  • Try for about 8 layers of waves, each with a different roll, ripple or shape, some rounded, some more pointed. Also go for variety in the width of each waves so some are thick and some are thin.
  • Once you have drawn the waves, decorate inside each in a different pattern, anything that tickles your fancy, from polka dots to stripes to diamonds to bumps!
  • We absolutely LOVE liquid water colour paints! They are not always easy to find but if you have them this is the medium to use for this activity! If not, normal water paints would also work beautifully! I asked the children to think of sea colours, and how the sea is darker at the bottom and lighter at the top due to the sun, and then off they went with their shades of black, blue, green, turquoise and purple, painting and shading each wave a different colour.
  • If you have time, kids can also draw a tiny boat bopping along the top of the waves, and paint the sky black if it is night, pale blue if it is day, and so on! The options are endless, have fun!


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