Tate Kids



Doodle Signs

Tate Modern
Under 20 minutes

The Idea

Letters and words are great things! Letters are just lines and shapes and can be found all around us!

Many artists use words to express themselves. Words are powerful. They can create amazing new places and characters.

Bob and Roberta Smith make large sign-like artworks to say what they care about. Other artists like Ed Ruscha wanted to put some questions out into the world!


Bob and Roberta Smith, MAKE ART NOT WAR, 1997 © BOB AND ROBERTA SMITH

DANCE?, 1973

Edward Ruscha, DANCE?, 1973 © ED RUSCHA


The Plan

We are going to think about letters in new ways and see if we can find letters in the world around us.

We are then going to make a sign to say what we care about and to put out a positive message out into the world!


You Need

  • Pencils
  • Felt tip pens or paint
  • Thick A2 white card
  • Cardboard tube

Do it!

Practice your letters! Download these activity sheets by Jan Bajtlik. Who’s Jan Bajtlik? He’s a designer who made the very cool children’s book, Alphadoodler. You can draw, scribble, cut and design your own letters! The letters you create can be made from paint splats (PDF, 515KB), be completely original (PDF, 187KB) and can even be fish food (PDF, 249KB)!

Grab your card and think about what you care about – is it art class in schools or animal welfare? It can be anything! It could just be a kind message you want to put out into the world. Remember it has to be a short, bold sentence to fit onto your card!

  • Draw your words in pencil on the card.
  • Paint your sign or use thick felt tip pens to make your sign bright and eye-catching!
  • Place your sign next to a wall, give it someone you care about, you stage a parade in your back garden!

See it

Photography credit: Hannah Kemp-Welch

Photography credit: Hannah Kemp-Welch

Photography credit: Hannah Kemp-Welch

Photography credit: Hannah Kemp-Welch