Lesson Plan: Painting - Drawing - Art Parody

American Gothic Parody

Submitted by: Tina Grimes, Defiance High School in Ohio
Unit: Painting- Parody - American Art
Project: American Gothic Parody, Van Gogh Christmas
Grade Level: Middle school through high school (adaptable to elementary)


Alternate Project: American Gothic gone digital - by Harold Olejarz (enjoy these! See this one on American culture "For Here Or To Go?"!)

Drawing - Mona Lisa Art Parody (see lesson below)

Modern Art Styles Parody - Lesson idea below from Wendy Free (and Ellen Haasen)

Have some fun! Start with Greg Percy's song "American Gothic".



1. Students will develop skills related to painting with acrylics. SO-1A4 (red are code numbers for Defiance Curriculum guide)

2. Students will be able to identify characteristics of the art of Grant Wood. PO-2A



Sketchbooks., Drawing Pencils., Acrylic Paint., Brushes., Canvas., and resource materials on Grant Wood.


parody art


Book: Grant Wood. - This book covers works by Grant Wood, including American Gothic.

Print: American Gothic by Grant Wood.



1. Introduce students to the art of Grant Wood by reading Scholastic Art about the artist and showing examples of this artist’s work.

2. Assign the task of creating a parody of one of Wood’s most famous paintings, American Gothic. Students should use the same basic composition as in American Gothic, but replace the male and female subjects with two other subjects. They can be real people, fictional characters, or completely from each students imagination.

3. Remind students about the rules for good composition. Review the Elements and Principles. PO-1B

4. Students should make a sketch first and get approval from the teacher.

5. Students lightly sketch their approved designs on the canvas.

6. Students paint on the canvases until complete.


Authentic Assessment

Students will create a 9x12 (23 x 30.5 cm) acrylic painting on canvas with an American Gothic (Art Institute of Chicago) parody as its subject matter.



Submitted by: Tina Grimes, Defiance High School
Unit: Drawing - Portrait - Renaissance Art
Project: The New Mona Lisa - "Mocking Mona"
Grade Level: Middle school through High school (adaptable to elementary)

Check out Mona-Lip-Synchs with your students


Alternate Project: Transforming Mona Lisa Digital Manipulation- by Harold Oleraz

See Mona Lisa Chat: It May Be Mona, But Is It Art?- (Archive) Lesson on Aesthetic Inquiry. If you do not have items to show students - there are MANY on the Internet you can share. YES download them! and put them into a PowerPoint.


Have some fun! Start with Greg Percy's song Girl of My Dreams (Mona Lisa).


parody art       parody art


Fun Resources:

Mona Lisa Mania - All about Mona Lisa. History, biography, trivia and fun facts, along with fine art, prints, posters, gifts and collectibles. Try this fun site, too - Mona Lisa Images for a Modern World A site exploring the enduring fascination of the Mona Lisa, including history, parodies. Check out Mona-Lip-Synchs with your students - see all of Mona's "Out-takes."



Students will be able to:

1. Identify characteristics of the art of Leonardo da Vinci. PO-2A (red numbers are codes for Defiance Curriculum Guide)

2. Develop skills related to drawing with pastels, colored pencils, or markers SO-1A2.

3. Draw an exaggerated or stylized version of the Mona Lisa. SO-1A1



Book: Mona Lisa: Inside the Painting. - A step-by-step examination of how Leonardo’s masterwork was constructed, using the latest advances in scientific observation, measurement, and analysis, this book peels back the layers on one of the most iconic images in world history. How did Leonardo prepare his panel, mix his paints, and compose his picture? For the first time ever a team of experts looks at these questions with a scientific eye.

Print: Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.



1. Ask students who painted the Mona Lisa?

2. Introduce/review the art of Leonardo da Vinci. Show examples of his work. Point out his techniques and style.

3. Assign students the task of creating a parody of one of Leonardo’s most famous works, the Mona Lisa. We are going to "Mock the Mona Lisa."

4. Students must choose either a photo of someone they know and turn it into a Mona Lisa style portrait, or they can take the original version and create a parody, satire, or exaggeration of the work in their own style.

5. Remind students that it must be evident upon completion of their project that we are looking at a drawing inspired by the Mona Lisa. It should be fairly obvious what their inspiration was, and this will be part of their grade.

6. Pass out materials.

7. Students work and draw until finished.

8. Display student works together as a group display.


Authentic Assessment

Students will create a 9x12 (23 x 30.5 cm) mockery of the Mona Lisa using drawing media on illustration board in 3-5 class periods.


parody art

Compare to Vincent Van Gogh Bedroom

Submitted by: Wendy Free
Unit: Art Styles - Parody (or any art style)
Lesson: Choice of Art Parody - Research

Wendy Free received this Van Gogh parody Christmas card this year. The artist is Tom Herzberg, faculty at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She thought it might make a neat lesson for students to choose an artwork to "decorate" in honor of a chosen occasion.


Students could do a brief research project about the artist and artwork selected to parody.


parody art

Compare to Henri Matisse "Dance"
Henri Matisse "Dance" (version one)


Wouldn't it be fun to see Ellen Haasen's weiner dogs frolicking in Halloween masks? Wearing Santa hats? How about with bunny ears? Reindeer antlers? Shown: IF MATISSE HAD A DACHSHUND #2A " DOXIE DANSE"


Christine Besack found this image on eBay and sent it to me. Folks - don't hesitate to send me other parody images you find. I have a feeling artists will enjoy the free publicity.


Thank you Getty! This is how Ellen found me: My list post: Art Parody- Lesson Idea
Ellen is an Ontario artist.


From Lauren McGreal: My students actually did that this year as a fundraiser. The cards turned out great and we made some cash, too!


Internet Resources

American Indian Gothic - David Bradley (parody) Chippewa:

American Gothic lessons:
David Bradley and his Lesson Ideas. (Archive)

Cat parody:

You can find examples of art parody by also looking for Art spoof.



Add to or Comment on this Page:

More To Explore