Friday, October 2, 2015

Sea Otters Revisited

I have had several requests for a drawing tutorial for my Sea Otter post last October. So I added a basic one below and thought I'd post again. Hope this is of some help!

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 :

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. Don't forget to add whiskers and some white highlights in the eyes!


  1. These are fantastic! Did you have the students cut out the construction paper otters and glue them onto the watercolor background? Did you need to spray the chalk pastels to keep them from smearing?

    1. Thank you! Yes, the otters were cut out and glued to their backgrounds. I don't use spray as a rule. I just have the kids hold their artwork as delicately as possible and plan on some smudged fingers.


I appreciate your comments and feedback!