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Oh My Gosh It’s a Bosch!

Oh My Gosh It’s a Bosch!
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Students will create images inspired by Dutch Surrealist Hieronymous Bosch.

By Julie Moses [Julie is a homeschooling art teacher who runs Miss Julie’s Art School in La Quinta, CA.]

Hieronymous Bosch was a Dutch Surrealist Painter in the 15th and 16th centuries. This was 400 years before most people think Surrealism really began. Artists like Salvador Dali took Surrealism to it’s highest peak in the early 20th century. The art form incorporates realism in fantastic and often nightmarish situations. Bosch explored both the good and bad extremes of human nature. In this lesson, students will explore these ideas as they depict beauty and monsters together.

What You Need:

  • 9′ x 12′ piece of drawing paper
  • pencil black Sharpie® markers
  • oil pastels
  • the book, Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch (see below)

What You Do:

Fold the paper in half lengthwise. On one side, draw the side of a vase in pencil. Start at the top corner and make curves all the way down to the bottom of the paper.

Draw like Hieronymus Bosch - Step 1

Now draw the same curves on the other side in a mirror image.

Draw like Hieronymus Bosch - Step 2

Some of you will recognize this as a drawing exercise called ‘vase faces’ or ‘gargoyles’. If you look carefully you will see the profile of two rather grotesque figures in the curves you have just made. Now it’s time to play them up and make them as “ugly” as you can.

Draw like Hieronymus Bosch - Step 3

Once you are happy with how horrifying your profiles are, make as pretty a face as you can in the middle space left by the profiles.

Draw like Hieronymus Bosch - Step 4


If you have any white space left, you can fill it up with pictures of things you like and don’t like.

Use a black Sharpie® to go over all the pencil lines, and then color in with a combination of marker and oil pastel.

Draw like Hieronymus Bosch - Step 5

Bosch used his paintings to tell stories, so as an extension of this activity you can write a spooky Halloween story about what it happening in your picture.

Student Examples:

Bosch Student Work Bosch Student Work


About Hieronymous Bosch (Jerom Bos)

Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater, KinderArt®

Type of Work: Painting
Born: 1450
Died: 1516
Nationality: Dutch
Style/Movement: Renaissance
Best Known For: Strange figures and nightmarish tales.

Note: SOME of Hieronymous Bosch’s works may not be suitable for young children. Be sure to research any images in books etc. before introducing them to children. For suitable images, see the book: Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch (see below).

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