6 Famous Artists for Kids to Study + Classroom Art Activities for Elementary School

Hero image
Updated | 6 min read

Whether you’re teaching elementary art or you’re looking for famous artists for kids to learn about in your classroom as part of a lesson on biographies, the world is full of plenty of amazing artmakers who can inspire your students. But where do you even begin? And what can you do to make learning about famous artists fun for kids?

A biography lesson might cover an artist’s life, the events that transpired around the time they came to fame, and maybe their famous pieces of artwork … and maybe a fun art project! The teachers on the Teach Starter team have together a list of famous artists for kids to study during your next biography lesson and found some fun art projects that you can do based on their art!

Explore dozens of teacher-created directed drawing activities and videos!

Famous Artists for Kids to Study

Pablo Picasso Inspired Art Activities for Kids

We’re kicking things off with one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso is an important and famous artist for kids to learn about as the co-founder of the Cubist movement, a new visual language that he pioneered. Known for his works like “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and “Guernica,” Picasso is also the artist we credit with the invention of the collage, a popular art form in elementary school.

Diving into Picasso’s diverse body of work and experimentation — he is tied to the creation of literally thousands of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics — with different styles can inspire kids to explore and try new things.

Accompanying Art Project: Students can create a self-portrait inspired by Pablo Picasso’s work with Cubism, including the art elements of line and color.

picasso art for kids activity with girl's face cubism style


  • 4 x colored paper
  • crayons or colored pencils
  • pencil
  • glue stick
  • black marker


  1. Using a pencil, draw the outline of the face, neck, and hair.
  2. Draw one eye facing outwards, another eye facing inwards, and the lips on different pieces of colored paper. Color in both the eyes and the lips using oil pastels.
  3. Glue the eyes and lips onto the face.
  4. Draw lines to create sections on the remaining parts of the face.
  5. Using a black marker, trace over the lead pencil face and lines.
  6. Use oil pastels to color the sections of the face and the hair. Bright vibrant colors work best.

Additional Art Idea: The Three Musicians artwork by Pablo Picasso was created in 1921. In this Picasso-inspired artwork activity, students cut up 2D shapes to re-create the art piece, practicing the art of collage.

kids art activity based on picasso three musicians


  • metallic pens
  • red paper or cardstock
  • green paper or cardstock
  • blue paper or cardstock
  • black paper or cardstock
  • scissors
  • glue


  1. Cut out a rectangle from each piece of colored paper (or cardstock).
  2. Glue the three rectangles onto the black paper to create the background for each musician.
  3. Create the collage of the three musicians by using only shapes cut from the three different pieces of colored cardstock (use the original work of Picasso for inspiration).
  4. Use metallic pens to add detail to each musician.

Andy Warhol Art Activities for Kids

There’s a famous quote often misattributed to artist Andy Warhol about getting your 15 minutes of fame. Although he didn’t actually say it, it seems right that we include this famous artist who had well over those 15 minutes.

Warhol is an American pop artist who may be most noted for his Marilyn Monroe Diptych — four silkscreened images of the famous actress put together — or perhaps his silkscreen painting of Campbell’s soup cans. Kids studying Warhol will learn about lithography, visual art, and the intersection of art and pop culture.

Known for pioneering the use of everyday objects in his art, studying Warhol is ripe for discussions of sustainability and recycling (or upcycling), and diving into Warhol’s life and work can inspire creativity and encourage students to think outside the box.

Accompanying Art Project: Have your students make their own version of the Marilyn Diptych with their own faces!

andy warhol art activity for kids


  • white cardstock
  • colored pens and highlighters
  • ruler
  • students’ line drawing of their own face
  • tracing paper
  • pencil


  1. Direct students to draw a simple line drawing of their face or use one of these directed drawing videos to teach students:
  2. Use a ruler to divide a piece of white cardstock into four equal sections.
  3. Use tracing paper to trace and copy the face line drawing four times.
  4. Color each of the faces using bright pens and highlighters. Try to use a combination of different colors for each box and face.

Piet Mondrian Art Activity for Kids

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian is another famous artist whose work your students can learn a lot from. Considered one of the pioneers of abstract art, Mondrian’s simple rectangles in primary colors offer a great lesson in breaking things down to just the essential components. Studying the co-founder of the De Stijl art movement can also help students see how to use of geometric shapes and color to express emotion.

Accompanying Art Project: Students can re-create this artwork by Mondrian by picking an object that represents something in their life!

mondrian art activity for kids


  • white paper
  • template of object
  • black paper
  • paints (blue, red, and yellow)
  • pencil
  • paintbrush
  • black marker
  • scissors


  • Prepare some templates of objects that the students can choose from.


  1. Place the chosen template in the middle of the card and trace around the template using a lead pencil.
  2. Trace over the lead pencil with a black marker.
  3. Using strips of 1/2 inch wide black paper, create boxes around the object by cutting to size and gluing around the image.
  4. Paint the boxes around the object using blue, red, and yellow oil paint (keep a few of the boxes white).

Gustav Klimt Art Activity for Kids

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life has spawned its fair share of art projects for kids, but Klimt himself offers lessons for kids on Austrian history. One note: Klimt was known for including a fair share of nudity in his work, which is something to be evaluated before adding him to your list of biography subjects for kids!

Accompanying Art Project:  This is a beautiful piece of art where students can let their creative juices flow inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life.

klimt tree of life art activity for kids


  • white paper
  • water paint
  • black marker
  • gold metallic pen
  • gold paper


  1. Paint the card with colorful strips using water paint. Set aside to dry.
  2. Once the background is dry, draw the outline of the tree using a black marker.
  3. Paint the inside of the tree with black water paint or acrylic paint. Set aside to dry.
  4. Once the tree is dry, draw patterns using the gold pen and stick gold circles on the tree.

Wassily Kandinsky Art Activity for Kids

Like Mondrian, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky is famous for his abstract art, but his life story also intersects with important moments in world history as he was forced to move from country to country due to World Wars I and II.

Accompanying Art Project: Students can re-create this Kandinsky artwork Farbstudie Quadrate (also known as Squares with Concentric Circles/Rings).

kandinsky art activity for kids


  • white paper
  • crayons
  • pencil
  • three different-sized circular objects
  • black marker


  1. Use three different-sized circular objects to draw circles on the white card (a bowl, cup, and glue stick lid work well). Make most of them overlap to create lots of different shapes.
  2. Add some extra curved or straight lines to the picture.
  3. Color in the picture in an imaginative way.

Vincent Van Gogh Art Activity for Kids

Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh created some of the most expensive paintings ever painted, but he was virtually unknown during his lifetime — opening up good conversations with kids about what fame really means.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has created a fantastic video for kids to learn a little more about this famous artist:

Accompanying Art Project: Students can’t go past a re-creation of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night creation!

van gogh starry night art activity for kids


  • Midnight blue colored paper
  • paint
  • yellow paper
  • paintbrush
  • black marker


  1. Use black paint or a black marker to create the city at the bottom of the midnight blue colored cardstock.
  2. Cut small yellow squares out of paper to create the windows in the city buildings.
  3. Using yellow paint, paint the moon and stars, using white and yellow dots and dashes to make the moon and stars pop!
  4. Finally, use a mix of black, purple, blue, and white oil paints to create the wind effect through the sky.

Explore more art activities for kids designed by teachers!


Log in to comment
  • Madison Brown

    Great list! Thanks! I kinda wish there was a woman on the list though, especially since it is International Woman's Month. :)

    • Stephanie (Teach Starter)

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Madison! That's a great idea about showcasing some women artists... we'll add that to our list! Have a wonderful day.

Get more inspiration
delivered to your inbox!

Receive the Teach Starter newsletter full of tips, news and resources with your free membership.

Sign Up