Saturday, June 25, 2011

Paper Bag African Elephants

The above pieces were created by pre-K thru 2nd graders

(same background with a side view elephant )
Sharpie on paper bag

I've been working on an elephant art project that might suit my younger children more than the smaller format ink elephants. These are created using a paper grocery bag. I have used brown bags to create walruses in the past. I thought the wrinkly texture would work well with elephants as well. After drawing their animal and outlining in Sharpie, paint over with watered down gray. This step could be omitted as African elephants take on the reddish brown color of the soil that they wallow in. Lines can be darkened again with Sharpie before the elephant is cut out. The paper is gently crumpled and flattened out several times to mimic the wonderful wrinkly texture of the animal. A colorful savanna landscape is painted with acrylics or tempera and finally some oil pastel Acacia or "umbrella" trees are drawn in oil pastel.

Below are a from modified lesson from my 4th-6th graders

I think these elephants came out amazingly well considering we had just 40 minutes to complete the whole project at the end of our art camp. Half the class was finishing up other work, while the other half was ready to keep creating. (40 minutes is a bit too long for "free draw"). I had originally intended these elephants to be drawn in washable maker and gone over in water to create an ink effect. (As seen in my Indian Elephant post). But since we were crushed for time, the children shaded their elephants in charcoal or colored pencil instead. The African landscapes were done in chalk pastel.


  1. What a great idea using paper bags for this project.
    I like the chalk pastels in the background.
    The elephants look really cute.

  2. The elephants are beautiful. Thanks for sharing! You inspired us to create our own paper bag elephants,
    seen here:


I appreciate your comments and feedback!