Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Zebra and Giraffe Safari Portraits

My first lesson this art session is a multi-media project I adapted from an idea I saw on Artsonia. The children could choose between a zebra or giraffe.(It was a complete zebra sweep in my 2nd and 3rd grade class!) I went through a direct line drawing for each animal. They then went over their pencil work with permanent marker and then tempera paint. This was put up to dry and they worked on their black background (posterboard) .They were given sponges, pieces of cardboard and q-tips to create designs and patterns just around the outside border. When their animal was dry they used oil pastel to create a horizon line and a couple trees to look like an African savanna. A watercolor wash then added to make the earth and sunset. This was piece was mounted on their black background and for a final touch, some cut pieces rafia (African grass)was glued in front of the animal. While it was a fairly involved project, the children loved adding each layer to their work of art.

(Day 1 Giraffes and Zebras)
I love how the same direct line drawing lesson produced so many completely unique zebras in my kindergarten class.


  1. That turned out great! How many classes did this take?

  2. Thanks! My Kindergarteners will need 2 classes, my 2nd and 3rd graders finished (minus gluing the rafia) in 1 session.

  3. These are fabulous. can you explain more the steps that you used in the directed line drawing? Your instructions must be good to get these results

  4. Thank you for posting this. I followed your instructions and steps for a 3rd and 4th grade class and the finished project turned out great!

  5. Hi, this is awesome. I'm going to teach art in Ghana this summer and will do this. Approximately how many hours did this take? I probably will have to use oil pastels only, as there is no running water for paint. What do you think? many thanks, Andrea

    1. How fantastic Andrea! I believe these took 2, 1 hour classes to complete. Because I had small groups, I cut out their zebras after the first class and had them ready for the kids to glue on top of the backgrounds at the next class. Oil pastels will work just fine and you won't have to deal with drying times. You could definitely tweak things to make it more practical for your situation. Hope this helps. Enjoy your time in Ghana!


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