Lessons by Patti Caiola -Animals in Art

Animals in Art

3 Submitted by: Patti Caiola, Reynolds Elementary School, Toledo, OH
UNIT: Animals in Art - Social Studies/Science Integration - Drawing/Painting
Grade Level: Elementary

Lesson: Toco Toucan - Oil Pastels
Grade Level: 4th Grade



Students will create a picture of a Toucan from the continent of South America using pencil, marker, and oil pastels.


Time Needed: Three class periods (1 hour each)



12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) white Drawing Paper. (maybe try on Manila Paper. - or black Drawing Paper. with White Glue. outline
Black Sharpie Fine Point Markers.
Kneaded Rubber Erasers. - Drawing Pencils.
Oil Pastels.
Varnish Spray. (to make shiny and protect smearing) - brushes


Ohio Fine Arts Standard Applied:

Creative Expression and Communication

Benchmark A:

Demonstrate knowledge of visual art materials, tools, techniques and processes by using them expressively and skillfully.





Class example completed, photos of Toucans, Fruit Loops box for Toucan Sam compare/contrast, Toucans Naturebooks.. You can sit a Toco Toucan plush toy. on each table or give them away as prizes.



Continent: South American, Toco Toucan, repetition, balance, proportion.



  1. Webshots photo online http://www.webshots.com/g/25/535-sh/16488.html.

  2. The San Diego Zoo Animal Bytes helped with Rainforest information online at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/

  3. National Geographic Xpeditions Maps online at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/atlas/

  4. Sea World Animal Bytes online

  5. IAD's Animals in Art & Animal Symbolism

Artist/Period/Cross Curriculum: World continents – Social Studies, environment/conservation - rainforest.



Day One:

  1. Begin by having students identify the continent of South America. Discuss the Toco Toucan and it’s characteristics with the students.

  2. Emphasize that we will begin our Toucan by lightly sketching some basic shapes that will eventually be erased. Circle for the eye, circle for the head, oval for the body, upside down rainbow arch for the white chest of the toucan. The beak is shaped like a large leaf with a point on the very end. A zigzag line separates the top beak from the bottom; the top beak is wider than the bottom.

  3. The background of the design should repeat the pattern of the beak with either long smooth leaves with points on the ends, or zigzag edged leaves. Discuss the principle of repetition with the students.

  4. Students may add berries or flowers around their leaves. Again, discuss the effectiveness of repeating shapes in the overall design. The blue circle that is around the Toucan’s eye would be a great shape and color to repeat in creating the center of your flowers or berries. This helps to create balance in their composition.

  5. Using the fine point black markers, students will trace their entire pencil design.

Day Two:

  1. Begin by reviewing vocabulary from last class with students: South America, continent, Toucan, repetition and balance.

  2. Using oil pastels and observing photos of real toucans, students will blend colors to create their toucans. The background of the toucans should be various shades and blends of green, yellow-green, dark green, etc.

Day Three:

  1. Review the vocabulary from the lesson with students.

  2. Complete the oil pastel coloring. Make sure the white oil pastel is completely cleaned off with a paper towel before starting the Toucan’s white chest to avoid smearing.

  3. After toucan is complete, with a small paintbrush and Sax Multimedia varnish students will paint over their entire toucan with a thin clear coat. Set on Drying Rack. until completely dry.

4th Grade Toco Toucan- Note from Patti: My inspiration was a photo of a Toco Toucan that I found on Webshots. I decided to do a lesson on this South American animal and tie it into the 4th Graders Social Studies curriculum. I used an image from Webshots.com, my laptop, and a projector to show a large Toucan photo for constant reference throughout the lesson: http://www.webshots.com/.


Lesson: Asian Tiger Watercolor
Grade Level: 6th

Time Needed: Three class periods (1 hour each)



Students will discuss the different characteristics of wild jungle cats like lions, tigers, and leopards. They will use their observations to create their own painting of a jungle cat.


3 Materials:

12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) Watercolor Paper., Watercolor Paint.
Paint Brushes. (small and medium)
Kneaded Rubber Erasers. - Drawing Pencils.
Paper Toweling
Small Sponges.



Class example completed, photos of animal to be drawn, facts about that animal’s habitat, diet, and environment (science). Is the animal endangered?



Cat, environment, habitat, jungle, diet, food chain, continent, country.



Lesson adapted from Liz Lumbreezer. Magazine photos, National Geographic, books, posters, etc, a map of the world or a globe to illustrate where the chosen cat is from.

  1. Webshots photos online, search for Tigers www.webshots.com

  2. The San Diego Zoo Animal Bytes helped with Rainforest information online at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/

  3. National Geographic Xpeditions Maps online at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/atlas/


Henri Rousseau was a self-taught artist who often painted images of jungle scenes and animals. His work was bright and colorful and he is best known for his Sleeping Gypsy. painting of 1897.

Eugene Delacroix painted a watercolor of a Young Tiger Playing with his Mother. (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC).

Peter Paul Reubens has very detailed drawings of Lions. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)


Objectives: Students will be able to...

  1. Construct a pencil drawing of a lion, tiger, or leopard.

  2. Recognize the country/continent of a lion, tiger or leopard.

  3. Paint their lion, tiger or leopard by mixing their own green and brown paints.


Day One:

  1. Begin by discussing the jungle cat of the day. Discuss the cat’s environment, country, continent, diet, lifestyle, etc. Discuss the cat while passing around graphic images of the Jungle animals.

  2. With the paper horizontal, start by creating a rounded rectangle lightly in the middle of the paper.  Teacher will create the example on the board along with the students, step by step.

  3. At the top right corner of the rounded rectangle, create the long tail for the cat.

  4. Create the front two legs by making 3 straight lines down beginning at the far left corner of the rounded rectangle. (Front leg comes down from chest). Connect the bottom of the front legs by drawing paws at the bottom. (Use a lowercase letter "c" for a paw shape)

  5. Create the two back legs by creating an arrow shape (>) that begins just above the bottom right side corner of the rounded rectangle and continues to the ground.  Repeat this shape two times; add paws to the bottom of each leg.

  6. To create the neck, begin with a horizontal line that begins from the center of the cat’s back and gradually goes up and to the left. Start the other half of the neck/chest from the bottom left corner of the rectangle and gradually goes up and to the left.

  7. The head should be an oval at the end of the neck opening from step 7.

  8. Begin the face with a triangle for the nose, line down from the nose to create the lips, cheek and chin.  Draw two straight lines up and out from the corner of the cat nose to create the eyebrow bones.  The eyes should be two circles touching the outsides of the eyebrow bone lines.  Add ears, one above each eye.

  9. Erase all 4 rounded corners of the rectangle to complete basic cat drawing.

  10. Tiger – add leaf shaped stripes, Leopard – add spots, Lion male – add mane and tuft of hair to end of tail, Lion female – add tuft of hair to end of tail.

  11. Add horizon line above the paws, but below the belly.

Day Two:

Procedure continues using the Tiger as the example.

  1. Beginning with the orange watercolor paint, students will paint the entire tiger orange.  Paint right over the pencil drawing of the stripes. (Painting around each stripe uses much class time)  Leave the eyes and the nose white!

  2. Carefully mix yellow and turquoise to create green watercolor paint. Paint the entire background green. Note: As students continue to mix their green they will create subtle different shades of green. This adds to the realism of the background and should be encouraged.

  3. By mixing the orange and the green paint together, students will create brown paint.  Use this paint to complete the ground.

  4. When finished, students will wash their paintbrushes in their water cup. Students will wash their hands and area with the soap and water spray and the small sponges. Teacher will set paintings aside to dry.  One student will clean out all watercolor paints, another will rinse out all brushes.  Teacher will collect dirty sponges at end of class.

Day Three:

  1. Using the small paintbrush and a small amount of water, students will carefully paint in their black stripes and black lines to indicate a background (leaves, trees, branches).

  2. After stripes are completed, students may choose any color to paint the tiger’s eyes and nose.

Teacher will collect wet paintings to dry.


Asian Tiger Watercolor - Note from Patti:  Since I was doing one animal from South America (the Toucan) I thought that I could have other classes visit different continents.  Therefore, my 6th Graders did Asian Tigers.  The photos can also be seen on my webshots site that I am trying out at http://community.webshots.com/user/patti774. I used the photo from webshots of real tigers on my laptop, projected on the screen, as the entire class was able to see that as visual reference as I was drawing on the board.  This was the closest thing we could get to drawing from life without being able to go to the zoo.



Contemporary wildlife artists Scott Davis http://www.daviswildlife.com/gallery.html

The resource used for all printable maps to use for both presentation and student displays: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/atlas/



Animals from Many Continents: North American Grizzly Bear

Grade Level: 2nd Grade

Time Needed: One class period (1 hour)



Students will create a picture of a Grizzly Bear from the continent of North America. Drawing from photograph references using pencil, marker, and Crayons. students will use simple shapes to create the portrait of a grizzly bear. Upside down heart for muzzle, ovals, circles, capitol letter "v", etc.  Students learn to take a complex photo and break it down into simple shapes…anyone can draw anything if you just break it down into simple shapes! Draw large shapes first, add details second, outline with sharpie third, color with multicultural crayons last.  Could be painted, oil pastels, cut paper, many adaptations possible. Great tie in with geography, and the environment/habitat of the North American Grizzly Bear.




Old Calendars
Old National Geographic




Animals from Many Continents: Australian Koala
Grade Level: 3rd Grade


Time Needed: One class period (1 hour)


Description: Almost exactly the same as the Grizzly Bear lesson above, but with the Koala; We discuss that the Koala is actually a marsupial and not a bear, that it is a vegetarian and eats eucalyptus leaves, sleeps 22 hours a day, lives mostly in trees. We used oil pastels for our project, but again you could adapt it to any media. Stress again here is on drawing from life, breaking down what the students see as "hard to draw" into simple shapes that are put together to form a  portrait. Beginning drawing skills here, forcing them to look at the world a little differently.



In progress drawing


Animals from Many Continents: African Giraffe

I adapted the Giraffe lesson for my African animal from the Artsonia website, lesson is available on Artsonia. We used pencils to draw, sharpies to outline, Multicultural Crayons. to color.  Again, could be easily adapted to watercolor, painting, cut paper, pastels, etc. I used photos from webshots, again.  The one specifically was titled "Ready For My Close-Up" © Diana Levey Weaver/Roma. Webshots has been a great place to get good graphic photos for my students.  I can use the projector at school and project them up on a wall so the whole class can see the same picture.


Title: Giraffe Drawing by Sandi Smith (Submitted Jan. 31, 2004)
Southside Elementary School - IN, United States for grade level » Elementary


Giraffe Information:

Below is some info I found on Giraffes from http://www.giraffes.org/giraffe-01.html (good site for other info as well):


The giraffe is the tallest land animal. Can you draw a person next to the giraffe? Use the scale next to the giraffe when you draw, and you'll see how tall a giraffe is when compared to a person.


Anatomy: The giraffe is up to 19 feet (6 m) tall and weighs up to 2,800 pounds (1270 kg). A baby giraffe (called a calf) weighs about 130 pounds at birth and is about 6 feet tall.


Even though the giraffe's neck is extremely long, it has only seven neck vertebrae, the same number that people and most other mammals have. The front legs are slightly longer than the rear legs. Different giraffe sub-species have different patterns, but most have brown polygons on a cream/tan background. The polygons are larger on the body and smaller on the face and limbs and act as camouflage among the trees. Giraffes have two short horns; males have knobbed, hairless horns, females have thinner, tufted horns.


Protection from Predators: These herding mammals can see their enemies (like lions) from long distances. Giraffes can run up to 35 mph (56 kph) for short bursts.


Diet: Giraffes are plant-eaters, eating mostly leaves, twigs and bark from the tops of the thorny acacia plant. The giraffes carefully eat around the thorns, and their tough lips and thick saliva protect them somewhat from the thorns.


Water: Giraffes can go for days without water. In order to drink water, the giraffe has to spread its front legs and bend its long neck to the water. This is a dangerous position for the giraffe since it can't see its enemies and can't get a fast start running.


Habitat: Giraffes live in African grasslands (savannas).

(Note: information from Enchanted Learning is copyrighted and will be removed if requested to do so).



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