Lesson Plan: Texture Animals - Model Magic Sculpture

Texture Animals Sculpture

Submitted by: Cindy Erickson
UNIT: Sculpture
Lesson: Textural Animal Sculptures - Model Magic
Grade Level: Elementary (grades 3 through 6 - examples are fifth)


Specific Objectives:

Student will learn:

1. to appreciate the diversity and detail in animals

2. to show texture

3. to create an armature and model a sculpture



Sculpture - an artwork created in 3-Dimensional form
Sculptor - the artist who is creating the sculpture
Armature - the skeleton of a sculpture
Texture - how something feels or looks like it would feel
Patina - finish given to a sculpture
Realism - Abstract

Time Allowed: approximately 5 hours

Lesson adapted from an old Arts and Activities Lesson by Nancy Mollhagen in Michigan.


National Standards:

Standard 1: Language of Visual Art - The student will identify visual art terms (e.g., architecture, contour, medium, mixed media, perspective, symbol).

1. Describe and apply knowledge of the principles of design as they relate to sculpture

2. Describe and use the elements of art as they relate to sculpture

3. Know how works of art are made with respect to the materials, media, techniques, and sources of ideas.

*4. Discuss observations of visual and expressive features seen in the environment (such as colors, textures, shapes).


Click images for larger views

Cat ceramic sculpture Crow sculpture Fish sculpture


Standard 2: Visual Art History and Culture - The student will recognize the development of visual art from an historical and cultural perspective.

*1. Describe and place a variety of specific significant art objects by artist, style and historical and cultural context (this can be done after the art making - by looking at a variety of animals in art sculptures).

*2. Identify themes and purposes of works of art and artifacts in history and culture.

*4. Communicate in-depth knowledge gained through integrated study of a visual art theme, historical period, or event.


Standard 3: Visual Art Expression - The student will observe, select, and utilize a variety of ideas and subject matter in creating original works of art.

*1. Make original works of art using a variety materials (media), and techniques (skills), and sources for ideas.

*2. Use observation, memory and imagination in making original works of art.

*3 Demonstrate safe and proper use, care, and storage of media, materials, and equipment.

*4. Apply knowledge of a basic art vocabulary through experiences in making original works of art.

5. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of media, techniques and processes in Sculpture


Standard 4: Visual Art Appreciation - The student will learn to appreciate visual art as a vehicle of human expression.

*1. Demonstrate appropriate behavior while attending a visual art exhibition in a museum or art gallery (Optional - for those attending an exhibit)

*2. Demonstrate respect for personal artwork and the artwork of others.

*3. Demonstrate thoughtfulness and care in completion of artworks.


IAD's Animals in Art & Animal Symbolism

Nina Akamu- American Horse sculpture

Nick Mackman - UK artist - Great animal clay sculptures.

Sculpture of Kenneth Bunn http://www.kenbunn.com/

Rembrandt Bugatti [Italian-born French Sculptor, 1884-1916

Rembrandt Prints:

August Gaul [ German Sculptor 1869-1921]

August Gaul Prints:

Carl Ethan Akeley [American Sculptor 1864-1926] African Obsession: The Life and Legacy of Carl Akeley.

Alexander Phimister Proctor [ Canadian born American Sculptor 1860-1950]

Edward Kemeys [American Sculptor 1843-1907]

Pierre-Jules Mene [French Sculptor 1804-1867]

Christopher Fantin [French sculptor 1795-1875]

National Wildlife Museum (various works)


Motivation/Visual Aids/Artists:

Photographs of various animals that have a lot of texture such as: turtles, fish, birds. You could add some artists but I usually don’t on this project because it is so involved. You might want to have some actual pets for students to feel/look at.


Show animals in art (various sculptures) AFTER the art making is finished. Find a selection of sculptures from carving to casting - from different time periods


Materials Needed:

Model Magic. sculpting material 4-8oz. per student (any Air-Dry Clay. will work)
Wooden base w/ a 3/8" hole drilled in it
Dowel Rods. 3/8" diameter, approx. 4 inches long
Newspaper - Foil - Masking Tape.
Tools to create texture (toothpicks, dental tools, old knives, nails, screws, marker caps, Clay Modeling Tools.)
Beads. for eyes (optional) or wiggly eyes (optional)
Flat black spray paint. (layering black and brown will give a bronze look)
Gold and silver Metallic Spray Paint.
Alternate: Acrylic Paint.. (brown, black, choice of metallic colors)



Discuss animals and the wide variety and the detail one can observe in an animal if one really studies it. We study some close up photos of sea turtle shells, skin and toes. Let students look at photos of animals or do research on the web for a photo of an animal. Suggest that for this project an animal with lots of detail and textural interest is best. Go over vocabulary.


Demonstrate how to build an armature for your animal using only newspaper, foil and masking tape. After you finish your entire armature mount on stand drilling a hole in the armature if necessary w/ a sharp pencil or other tool.


Open the packet/bucket of model magic ONLY when you are ready to begin modeling as it dries out quickly. You must finish modeling your animal in 1 session including detail and texture. Note: air dry clay sculptures can be wrapped tightly in plastic and worked on a second day.


I really push them at this point to add more and more and more. Eyes can be molded or can be added by using Beads. or wiggle eyes. Let dry 24 hours or more. Mask out the eyes with masking tape before painting or pop them out and glue back in after the painting process.


Discuss the spray painting procedure (stains clothes and shoes, must be done out of doors, must be 6-10 inches away, must keep spray can moving etc.)


At this point I always explain what a special privilege it is to use spray paint etc. Go outdoors w/ sculptures, newspaper and spray paint. Spray paint entire sculpture and base w/ flat black spray paint. I have them work in pairs with one spraying the sculpture on top of one sheet of newspaper and the partner holding newspaper over the ‘sprayers’ shoes.


Let dry 24 hours indoors.


Explain how we are now going to accent our piece to make it look metallic. We are not going to spray the whole piece just mist it with small mists of metallic. Outside once again-Barely spray paint with your choice of gold or silver (not both) leaving the black in the textural grooves. Note: Stick and base could be masked to keep it black.


I always use the end of the period to have the students write an artist’s statement about their sculpture. I usually get some very thoughtful responses as this project is a very "grown-up" one and often a new media and new process for many.


I do not suggest doing this lesson with younger children unless you have a very small group and you can do the spray painting for them.


Animals in Art - for cultural/art history study - show students a number of animal sculptures - from various time periods and cultures - from a variety of sculpture materials - realistic to abstract. Discuss.


Alternate Finish:

Dark brown Acrylic Paint. (black and brown mix) - be sure to force paint into all of the textures. Paint may need to be thinned. When dry - rub with choice of Metallic Acrylics.. The metallic paints are somewhat transparent and will highlight for a bronze (or cast aluminum) look. Rub 'n Buff could be used to highlight raised surfaces.




Project: ___________________________ Name___________________________ Class _______________




Mastery – 3 pts

Advancing – 2pts

Novice – 1 pt


Developing skills at grade level – Shows growth - takes risks to discover

I produce high quality, creative work. I show originality and take risks to learn new things.

Understanding and application of Art Concepts and lesson objectives

I apply all art concepts, especially those stressed for the project. I solve problems myself.

Participation and effort

I always participate in class and always use class time well

Use and care of Materials

I used all materials appropriately with no reminders. I always clean up


I always follow all classroom rules and never cause a classroom disturbance. I am Always helpful.

S+=15-11 S=10- 6 NI=5-0 Total


Skills/Concepts: Students created an armature then sculpted an animal around the armature. Texture was applied with various tools. A metallic patina was given with spray paint.


Teachers Comments:

Horse sculpture

Submitted by: Brenda Robson
Polymer Clay Animals

Armature is made from wire and aluminum foil.

Build animal with polymer clay. Bake according to manufactures directions.

Size will be determined by your budget. Polymer clay is a fairly expensive sculpting material to use.



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