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Faith Ringgold Art Project: Draw Cassie from “Tar Beach”

Here’s a fun and easy Faith Ringgold art project that was inspired by the wonderful illustrations she made for her first children’s book “Tar Beach”.

Faith Ringgold Art Project
Tar Beach Drawing

Faith Ringgold is an American artist best known for her colorful quilt paintings about American history and politics. Tar Beach, her first book that was written for children, has collected awards ever since it was published in 1991.

Tar Beach is the roof of Cassie’s Harlem apartment building, and her dearest wish is to be free to go wherever she wants to go. The book tells the story how she dreams of flying, and all the things she might see if she could.

This tutorial will help students draw a child in a flying position, surrounded by stars and a bridge. surrounded by a colorful border. They can choose to draw a child that looks like Cassie … or a someone that looks more like themselves. A few tweaks to the clothes and hair will do the trick.

As a message of hope and imagination, Tar Beach is a wonderful book to share to any time of the year, but especially so during the month of Black History celebrations.

Faith Ringgold Art Project
Preview of step by step Tar Beach tutorial
Tar Beach Coloring Page



Time needed: 45 minutes.

How to Draw Cassie from Tar Beach

  1. Draw a thin border, or print pg. 3 and trace.

  2. Start the simple bridge lines near the bottom.

  3. Add vertical lines to finish to finish the bridge.

  4. Draw a simple head shape and neck.

  5. Add a nose and very simple features.

  6. Draw the dress and add arms and legs.

  7. Finish with braids and a bow.

  8. Want draw yourself instead?
    Here is what shirt and shorts might look like.

  9. Trace with a marker and color.
    Leave spots for stars in the sky.

Follow Up Project: “Tar Beach” Collaborative Poster

Tar Beach Mural, made with PDF template in my PDF Shop

More Black History Projects

black history month projects
How to Draw a Dancing Lady
How to Draw Like Lois Mailou Jones
quilt art lesson
Gee’s Bend Quilt Collage
How to Draw Like Romare Bearden

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