Sumi-e and Haiku by Yanya
Music: Haru-saki-ginuta by
A three day lesson plan for
7th grade by Sue Lindemulder
Sumi-e is the creation of a painting using
black ink. This type of painting emphasizes an economy of
Sumi-e painting is generally done in three generations.
The first lines represent the grandfather and are the
lightest in color. They will represent the oldest part of
the tree. The second generation will be younger, the father.
This paint will be a darker gray, representing the branches
of the tree. The youngest generation will be be represented
by pine needles, and are black in color.
Japan is an
island nation that has a rich heritage in the
traditions of the past, but it is now embracing the
technological advances of the present as it moves
into the future.
This painting will be of a pine tree. Show examples of
Sumi-e painting. Read examples of Haiku Poetry. If there are
pine trees on school property have students look at these
and perhaps do a couple of quick sketches.
- Sumi-e ink or black tempera paint. (We used tempera
- Watercolor brushes (#10 if possible)
- Water containers/water
- Newsprint paper
- 5 oz. Paper cups
- Student grade watercolor paper 12" X 18"
- Felt tip, Pilot, and/or ballpoint pens, black
- Each student will cover his or her table with
newspaper. They will have a piece of newsprint, a brush
and access to water and paint. Two students can share
paint and water. Put about 1/2 inch of paint into one
paper cup and about an inch of paint in the other. This
will be done for every two students. Have students add
about 1 1/2 inches of water to the cup with the lesser
amount of paint and stir.
NOTE: Students will work directly
with paint on their paper. Today's work is strictly a
practice session. At the end of the class they may save
or throw it out. Students are to try at least two trees.
They may overlap to make the best use of the paper.
- Use the diluted paint first. Use the paper vertically
and start near the bottom of the page. Apply pressure to
create a wider line. As the line continues up gradually
decrease the amount of pressure so that the line becomes
thinner. This line will become one side of the tree and
will eventually become one of the branches. The trunk and
branches of a tree are not perfectly straight. As the
brush approaches the top of the tree quickly pull it off
so that a thin line and point are created. Try not to
touch the top of the page. Students may want to try it on
- Move an inch or so away from the original line.
Repeat the previous procedure. The second line may bend
or make an angle. This is the other side of the tree.
- About a third of the way up the tree trunk draw in
the crotch of the tree connecting the two sides of the
tree. (Continue to use the diluted paint.)
- Use vertical strokes to fill in the space between the
two lines. This makes the trunk of the tree.
- Add half of the full strength paint to the diluted
paint. The branches age not all straight but they do grow
upward. Students may add a few more large branches and
then a few smaller branches to the larger ones. Keep it
simple. Use the same technique as before, applying less
and less pressure so that the end of the branch is the
- Clean the brush and then use the undiluted paint.
Place dots of paint on various points on the branches.
Start with a few, more can be added later.
- Re-ink the brush. Place the point of the brush on the
dot and make a quick, short line, pulling the brush
quickly off the paper. Do this five to seven times at
each dot creating a cluster of pine needles. Two or three
dots can be added to the base of the cluster to create
berries. This would not be done on every cluster.
- Try a new tree.
Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It is connected in
some way with nature. It may have a surprise ending. Haiku
has seventeen syllables in stanzas of 5,7, and 5
Branches give shelter.
Who knows who lives within them.
Then in the quiet ---- song.
The rain falls softly.
The drops intensify in weight.
Birds hide in a tree.
- Read several Haiku in class and then work on several
as a class
- Give students some ideas to work with: pine trees,
birds, frogs, butterflies, a pond stream or
- Ask students to add to the list. Remind them that the
5, 7, 5 syllable lines are absolute. Have students write
3 &endash; 4 Haiku poems.
- Provide all painting supplies again. This time
students will use watercolor paper. Again the paper needs
to be used vertically to reflect the regal majesty of the
- Using the same technique as on the first day, again
paint a tree. (It might be useful if the tree were
painted slightly off center to provide more space to
write the Haiku.)
- When the painting is completed have students choose
the best of their poems. Place a sheet of lined paper
beneath the painting. Lightly write or print the poem in
the open space using pencil. Proof read and trace using a
black ink pen. When dry erase.
- The piece was then signed in the lower right hand
corner of the picture plane (not the lower corner, there
should be a frame of space that surrounds the work ).
NOTE: Asian students were
encouraged too sign their name using Asian characters as
well as signing in English. The most important thing is
the piece of work, not the signature.
California Visual Art Standards, 7th grade,3.1 and