Arts of Asia in Reach
Gyotaku Lesson Plan
3. Strategies & Procedures

Engage (Motivation)

Students will visit the Allen Memorial Art Museum to view Asian works of art. Eastwood Elementary students came to see the exhibit: Visions of Turmoil & tranquility: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Collection on view in Fall 2005 where students paid particular attention to the print: 1950.776. (Please see attached image at the end of Lesson Plan PDF)


Students will read the story Kogi's Mysterious Journey by Elizabeth Partridge, Illustrated by Aki Sogabe. They will learn about the history of Gyotaku and its transition into an art form. Students will examine the body of the fish and note its different parts, particularly the gills, scales, fins, and eyes. Students will also be learning about haiku and create an original haiku to accompany their fish print.


Students will create their own fish prints!

  1. Select your fish!
  2. Place fish (flat side down) on top of newsprint.
  3. Using the colored water-based inks provided, paint your rubber fish with the appropriate size paint brush.
    • Make sure to cover the entire surface of the fish—include the eyes, fins, and all the scales!
    • Spread the ink evenly over the fish so that only a thin yet solid layer shows.
  4. Visually line your white paper up over the fish so that the fish is positioned where you would like it to print. Place on top of fish.
  5. Press firmly, covering the entire fish's surface.
    • Important: Do not let the paper move!
  6. Carefully remove the paper and set aside to dry.
  7. Repeat if desired!

Continue to: 4. Assessment & Closure