Saturday, September 22, 2018

Celebrating Elephants!

Did you know Sept. 22 is National Elephant Appreciation Day?

This week we celebrated our love and appreciation of these amazing creatures by creating elephant art!

African elephant sketch

First we talked about elephants. I wanted to know what the children know about elephants. Where do elephants live? What are their lives like? What are the differences between African and Asian (or Indian) elephants? Why are many elephants endangered? Turns out they know a lot about elephants!
Asian elephant setch

The artists then chose which type of elephant to draw. Our focus was to draw the elephant realistically and really LARGE! 

I walked them through the drawing on the dry erase board, using step-by-step instructions that I found on Cartoon Critters. I adjusted the instructions so that they could draw either type of elephant. They drew their elephants lightly in pencil. Next, they traced over the final drawing with a black Crayola marker. (Note: Washable Crayola Markers work best for this project, if you have them).

Now we went over the entire elephant with a wet paintbrush, which allowed the ink to spread and bleed, creating many great shades of gray, like blue-gray, violet-gray, green-gray, and light or dark grays. 

Our young artists absolutely loved this step (and so did I)!

My sample of a festively painted Asian elephant
The elephant was then set aside to dry while the artists created an appropriate background for their type of elephant. We used tempera paints to create an African savanna or an Indian motif design. As an option, our Asian elephants were painted and decorated with paint, markers, and scrapbook papers.

While the background dried, they added a bit more marker to define their elephants' skin folds, wrinkles, and edges; then they carefully cut them out and glued them to their background scenes.  

Thanks to Fun Art for Kids for this great elephant art project idea! We loved it!

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