Wayne Thiebaud Elementary Art Lesson Pre-K to 6th Grade


Josey’s Art School


Studying Art with the Masters


Robin Norgren, M.A.

This Lesson:

Wayne Thiebaud: Pink Cupcake 

 “Pink Cupcake”



·       Thiebaud is famous for painting ordinary things like gumball machines, bakery cakes and donuts.


·       Thiebaud paints and draws almost every day.


·       Thiebaud liked to paint the same items repeatedly but the degrees of light you see in the painting: “What kinds of varying light can you have in one painting?” he asks. “Direct glaring light, then fugitive light, then green glow. It’s a very difficult challenge.”


Source: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/wayne-thiebaud-is-not-a-pop-artist-57060/


Materials needed

Pencil (to write the child’s name on the back of the work)

8.5x11 piece of construction paper – beige/manilla is possible

Paintbrushes and water bowls

Tempura paint – white and red and blue (color mixing will occur)

Baby wipes



Length of Time/Duration of project:

30 minutes

Prep work:

-      Draw the opening of the cupcake

This should take no more than about 15 minutes




You have a few options for how you want to proceed with developing the main thrust of the project.  I work with 3-5 year olds in a Montessori setting.  This means that you are met with a gamut of skill levels.  Some children will have no problem handling more of the details of this project which means less time needed to prep and more of the experience for the way the artistic process works is offered to the child.  I have attempted to give you two ends of the spectrum but please feel free to modify as needed.

1.   Take your piece of white paper that you are using as the base for the project and write the child’s name on the back of the paper or let them write their names on their own.


2.   Take your copy paper and place it in front of you.  If your paper has been prepped there will be a tweezer shape on the page, or the student can draw it.  Discuss what part of the cupcake this is.  Talk about what goes above/on top of the cupcake and what goes inside the cupcake.  What can appear outside or around the cupcake.


3.   Have the student create what goes on top of the cupcake. 

4.   Create a plate around the cupcake.