Sea Otters

3:36 PM


 Such a sweet face Jenna!









I love the watery effect!

We kicked off our new Mixed Media Art Class session with these sweet sea otter pieces. This project was inspired by this gallery I found on Artsonia. The kids created their otters on black construction paper using chalk pastels. They followed a direct line drawing lesson to put down the basic shapes of their otters. I encouraged them to add texture with their pastels to create the look of fur (we learned sea otters have the thickest fur of any animal - 1,000,000 hairs per square inch!) Their backgrounds were created with watercolor to give the appearance of the otters popping out of the water. Artwork by K-6th graders.

Fun fact: Sea otters are social animals that float together in groups called "rafts" and hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift away from each other. So darn cute!


 When drawing animals I like to start with a photograph and break it down into a series of shapes. In this case I used this sea otter print 
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/sea-otter-portrait-brian-ray.html
Start with eyes first. They are relatively small and and pointed in the corners.
The otter's nose points upward and downward, (like 2 chocolate kisses glued together). From there I like to draw a furry head around those features, connecting to the tip of the nose on each side. Now add a furry little chin and small ears. A body can be drawn and stop wherever it enters the water. You may choose to add furry "arms" extending toward the mouth. We did this project in chalk pastel and I encouraged the kids to add as much texture as possible with the tip of their chalk to show the otters' thick fur. 
I hope this helps!

13 comments:

  1. I love these otters Mary..
    Tina

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  2. The paintings are fantastic Mary :-)

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  3. Love these, Mary. I have to share a book I just found out about with you. I was at our school's book fair last week and couldn't resist buying the book, CREATURE FEATURES by Jenkins and Page. It reminded me of the work you do with your kids because each page is a close up of the head of a different animal with an interesting fact about that animal. I plan to have my kids do the bearded seal.

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    1. That sounds right up my alley! I'll definitely have to check it out. Thanks Christie!

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  4. These are really terrific, every single one; Doogal

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  5. These are lovely! I really enjoy all your original ideas and I love seeing how the students respond so creatively! Could you give any tips on teaching Kinders how to use the watercolors on a background like this? My kinders tend to over-paint...

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    1. Thanks very much! I really like to use liquid watercolors first of all. A little goes a long way and the colors are very vibrant. I had the children do a wet on wet technique. They painted their entire paper with water only to start. Limiting the colors and the amount of them can help with over painting. I offered small amounts of blue, green and black. I encouraged them to paint in horizontal strokes. You might notice some of the kids sprinkled salt on their pieces while still wet to achieve a unique texture. Hope this helps!

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    2. Thank you for the great tips! I have never used liquid watercolors, but I will definitely look into getting some. I love the wet on wet technique - I will try it out on my Kinders this week...

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  6. Beautiful! Otters are so cute; this is perfect with the background! I just love it!

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  7. Would love if you would post the drawing prompts step by step!

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  8. Would also love the drawing prompts. I am not the best artist!

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  9. This is fantastic! My group of home school students would love to do this...could you help us out with the step by step drawing? Perhaps you posted that somewhere on your site and I do not see them?
    Thanks!

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    1. I have added a rough tutorial which I hope helps! I'd love to see the finished otters if you'd like to share them. Have fun!

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