Animals have been a source of inspiration for many artists. From art about rural life and growth to myths and legends, animals are used in art in many different ways.
Art can help us explore our relationship to wildlife and can help us think about how we care for animals and the environment.
Below we have some hands-on activities and questions to help you and your class discovers animal artworks in the Tate collection.
The artworks, questions, and activities are suitable for KS1 and KS2 students
The Health Benefits of Drawing
Drawing can be extremely beneficial to your health and well-being.
Even if you’re not the greatest artist in the world, collecting art can also be something that benefits your mental health. Creativity drives your emotions and releases tension you may have in your everyday life.
So, pick up a pencil and paper and start drawing, or stop by your local art exhibit and embrace the art.
Here are some benefits:
- Creativity and Thinking – Art and drawing encourage a creative thought process in your brain that makes you think outside of the box. It strengthens your problem-solving skills and helps bring out the creativity that may be hiding in you.
- Relieves stress and anxiety – Drawing can be very therapeutic for the mind and soul. In general, enjoying drawing and art also can be a stress-reliever because it makes you escape your real problems.
- Self-esteem boost – completing a drawing gives you a sense of accomplishment and doing this as a hobby can make you a better artist. Drawing more and more is practice, which in turn will boost your self-esteem.
- Perspective – It gives you a different perspective on life. By drawing, your expressing your emotions and thoughts through visuals on paper. By observing others’ art, you’re connecting with the artist in a different way than anyone else because you may have a different feeling of the piece.
- Empathy – with perspective, viewing artists’ work will give you empathy and love. We all express our emotions and thoughts in a different way, and the way we interpret those pieces will give us a different understanding of people and culture.
NATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
When it comes to animals, exploring habitats is one of the central themes for artists.
With a world of textures, colors, and shapes to explore, nature is an exciting feature in many artworks.
Animals in artworks can make us consider our own relationship to nature.
How do we treat wildlife and its environment? Are there some animals we look after more than others?
Animals live in a complex network of environments.
This is called an ecosystem. Artists like to explore these ecosystems to tell stories. What kind of stories are the artists telling in the artworks below?.
Why I Draw People and Animals
This is a guest post by Rebecca Tsien.
Rebecca is an artist … Not just any artist.
Her specialty is drawing people and animals.
But what’s truly important is that she loves and lives her work.
Rebecca has found a way to do what makes her come alive.
Not everybody does.
So I thought it would be great to hear from Rebecca herself on what she learned by drawing people and animals over the years.
Without further ado, here’s Rebecca …
When J.D. contacted me and asked me to do a guest blog, asking me to look within myself and ask why I draw portraits of people and animals and what I’ve learned from it over the years, I thought ‘oh wow J.D. what a great challenge!’. Over the span of a few days, which turned into a week and much crumbled up the paper, I said to myself ‘oh wow J.D., this isn’t as easy as I thought’ 🙂
Because, in all honesty, I’ve never really given it much thought. Drawing, to me, is as natural as breathing. There has never been a time when I didn’t draw. Even when I didn’t work as an artist, I still drew. Or thought about projects I’d like to do if only I had the time.
So, why do I draw?
I think that growing up as the child of older parents I was always finding myself being dragged along to adult functions and parties.
Also, as my parents had extremely busy gourmet food stores, I would oftentimes find myself sitting in the back of a store on a bag of coffee beans listening to adult concerns, and sometimes stressful conversations.
As a result, I think that I was somewhat more comfortable with adults and definitely shy around my peers.
I was an observer of things around me for sure.
The times that I truly felt most comfortable were with my dogs and my paper and pencils. When I drew,
I was transported to a wonderful, calm world where I could make up my own characters and stories.
I was always interested in movies, so I would create my own movie magazines with fictional movie stars!
It’s time to learn how to draw a Labrador!
Drawing is a skill that comes naturally to some, but most of us need a little help.
Even talented artists don’t always get it right on the first go, and sometimes need a hand perfecting a new technique.
One of the best ways to learn how to draw is in stages. Very few people can start in the corner of a picture and line by line produce a great work of art in the manner of a printer.
Most great artists break down their drawings into steps. Basic outlines and simple shapes are built upon until the canvas is filled with something spectacular.
In these instructions, each new section will be in red to help you focus on the part at hand.
Are pencil, pen, and paper ready?
It’s time to begin!
8 Steps To Draw A Labrador
Take your pencil and a piece of paper.
Draw three circles. The central circle should be slightly bigger than the other two.
The top circle will become your dog’s head. The middle circle will be her torso. The bottom circle, intersecting the torso, will be her hips.
Make a cross in each circle, placed towards the lower right-hand side. These marks will help you to add features later on.
It’s time to give your pup a face! Let’s get bold and switch to your pen.
Use your cross to place them in the right area.
The eyes will go in each of the top segments. The nose will rest on the centre of your cross.
Let the tongue and muzzle placement hang into the middle circle.
We are now going to add some bigger features.
Let’s start with those floppy Labrador ears!
Working from one side of the head to the other, make sure they hang down no further than the base of the top circle.
They should fall just lower than your horizontal line.
Now let’s give her a couple of legs and a lovely waggy tail!
The tail will wave up from the top left-hand side of the bottom circle.
The hind leg will rest in the middle of that circle. The right-left will sit snugly next to it.
It’s time to give that dog a bit more structure.
You are going to make two new lines. One for the slop of his back and nape of his neck.
The other will define his front. Add a last little line between those two legs.
Your Lab’s been out having fun, and his fur has got a little scruffed up.
This gives him a bit more character and texture. So go ahead and draw a half cloud shape on his chest.
Add in his left front leg, with a small paw pointing off to the side.
We’re nearly there! So let’s get rid of those construction lines.
Gently touch your paper to make sure your ink is dry. If it isn’t wait until it is or you will smudge your picture.
When it’s dry, take an eraser and gently delete the first three circles you drew.
Grab that pencil again! We are going to give your pup some definition.
Using soft, light strokes shade in the areas shown in pink on the image.
You’re done! Congratulations on your gorgeous doggy drawing!
Don’t be discouraged if your Labrador doesn’t look exactly like these images on your first try. Even copying to a format is a learned skill in part. Give it another go and I bet you’ll be even more pleased with the results.
After all – practice makes perfect! And with practice, anyone can learn how to draw a Labrador of their own.
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