Aboriginal Bark Paintings: Free Lesson Plan Download

Grade Level: 3-5 Art Education Lesson Plan

Art Elements: Line, Contour Line

Art Skills: Observational Drawing

Art History: Aboriginal Art, Australia

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Click to Download Free Lesson Plan
Click to Download Free Lesson Plan


This lesson plan helps 3rd grade students learn about contour line. They will be using a visual library, which I posted about here, to look at animals and try to draw an accurate outline of that animal.

Then, in the style of the Aboriginal Artists of Australia, students will draw X Ray Vision inside the animal and paint dots using the traditional colors of red, black, white and yellow.

I love this lesson because it has the “Trifecta” of art lessons.

1. Not Cookie Cutter! – Each project turns out different, because kids can differentiate based on skill and interested by choosing their own animal to draw

2. Art history  This has a great cultural connection that makes the art element of Line much more interesting and desirable to a 3rd grader

3. They Look Good! – As much as well all say the process is more important than the product, a visually pleasing product that students can be proud of is a very important part of the artist process.

This great Art Ed lesson plan is 100% FREE to download! Use it in your classroom and share with your colleagues. For more free lessons like this one, visit our Lessons Page and download them all!

8 years ago


  • Lisa

    Joe has LOVED this project!! He has told me so much about the people, pictures and Australia – Great job, Teach!!:)

    • Thanks, Lisa, I agree, the kids really did enjoy it, but it’s great to hear firsthand! Glad you stopped over. I enjoy having your kids in art!

  • This is so phenomenal! Thank you for including all the resources in such an organized way. I will be using this idea too! I used your organic shapes handout in a power point the other day and it really helped the kids. So I guess you’re teaching here in Connecticut too since I’m using your resources. Very cool!

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  • ludapo

    I do Aboriginal dot painting with my class. I’ve found that using black sugar paper is a great idea too. I get them to sketch their animal in the middle of the page, then draw some Aboriginal symbols around the edge, trying to tell a story. We then go over our pencil drawing with a light coloured oil pastel. Finally, once all the outlines are done, use a cotton bud/swab to make dot patterns throughout the picture, highlighting your drawings. The kids absolutely love it

    • ludapo

      Will definitely try out this version too though.