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Drawing Animals


Artist’s will identify the different shapes, colors, and textures of animals and draw them.

Grade Level




Big Idea/Theme

Artists can break down complex things into simple shapes to draw them.

Essential Question

How do artists draw animals?

  • Slide Deck
  • Teaching Tools

Materials and Tools

  • Paper​
  • Drawing tool​


It is amazing how many kinds of living things there are!

In our lives, we are surrounded by birds, lizards, mice, insects, raccoons, cats, dogs, snails, turtles, fish, and so many more. ​

Most of the time, we don’t even notice all the animals living around us.​

Sometimes, artists are inspired to make art about animals.​

Today, we’re going to explore drawing animals.​

  • What animals are you interested in? ​
  • How will you draw them?

How can we draw an animal?

If you were describing this barn owl, what would you say? 

  • We could describe its size – is it large or small?​
  • If you touched it, what textures would you feel?​
  • Do you see patterns in its feathers?​
  • ​What colors do you see? Are they dark, light, or both?​
  • What shapes make up its face, body, legs, wings, and feet?​

What do you see?

  • Can you find a face shaped like a heart?​
  • Can you find two round, dark eyes with light pinkish-brown feathers around them?​
  • Can you find a beak shaped like an upside-down triangle?​
  • Can you find a head and neck shaped like an upside-down U, like a stretched-out semi-circle?​
  • Can you find a body shaped almost like an oval or an egg?​
  • Can you find a white belly and a back with dark and light brown feathers on it?​
  • Can you find tiny spots over the body?​
  • Can you find strong wings, with long feathers that have stripes on them?​
  • Can you find feet ending in sharp talons that curve and grab?

How would you describe the shapes you see in these animals?​

Are you ready to begin? What animal will you choose to draw?

What does it look like?

  • Tall​
  • Short​
  • Has horns, antlers, or tusks​
  • Has feathers​
  • Has a tail​
  • Big ears​
  • Has many legs​
  • Has a pouch​
  • Has big teeth​

What can it do?

  • Can breathe underwater​
  • Has a strong sense of smell​
  • Sees in the dark​
  • A good climber​
  • Dig tunnels or holes​
  • Change color​
  • Fly​
  • A great jumper​
  • Sing​

Where does it live?

  • Forest​
  • Prairie​
  • City​
  • Ocean​
  • Underground​
  • Mountain​
  • Trees​
  • Desert

How does it feel?

  • Hard​
  • Smooth​
  • Fuzzy​
  • Prickly​
  • Furry ​
  • Soft​
  • Scaly​
  • Round

This is a baby armadillo! 

It has the ability to roll up into a ball to protect itself. 

Look at the amazing pattern of its skin – how would you describe it?​

Sketching your animal

First, we need to decide which animal to begin drawing. For example, here is a chameleon with lots of interesting shapes. Chameleons can change colors to blend in with their surroundings, or to stand out!​

​Start by sketching the shapes of the animal very lightly with a pencil. After you finish, go over the drawing with a marker, crayon, or colored pencil, and erase extra pencil marks.​

What colors will your animal be?

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some questions to help you decide:

  • Where is my animal right now? ​
  • Is it inside or outside? ​
  • How is it feeling?​
  • Is it silly or serious, happy or sad? 

Chameleons change their colors based on what surrounds them. ​What colors should the chameleon be?

Reflection Questions

  • What animal did you draw?
  • What shapes did you use?​
  • What colors?


Here are more photographs of animals you can use if you like:



Drawing Animals
Written by Elise Deringer, Artist Instructor​

Studio in a School NYC Team
Andrea Burgay, Associate Director
Julie Applebaum, Senior Director
Hasna Muhammad, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Studio in a School Association
Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio in a School NYC

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