Art Education Lessons
Animal Drawing Unit Introduction by DS
“I gave my cat a bath the other day,
He enjoyed it, it was fun for me.
The fur would stick to my tongue, but other than that…”- Steve Martin.

“Napolean suffered from ailurophobia (the fear of cats).

Rev Earl of Bridgewater used to dine with a dozen dogs (prince of the Roman Empire).


box 1.5$ is spent each year on pet food (more then baby food)
box 100 million dog and cats in the USA. Every hr 12,500 puppies are born in the USA.
box According to pet owner surveys 79% of Americans give their dogs holiday and/or birthday presents. America spends $5.4 billon (1983) on pets each year.

Drive in New England and you will see a canine passenger in every third vehicle. Considered part of the family, loyal pets may receive a solo portrait or be included in an image with their master. Learning to identify the distinctions between various breeds and hybrids of dogs and cats is helpful. Even portrait artists working on location are requested and commissioned pet sketches. Expect pee on your seats, obsessive movement, and then the dog will suddenly break midcourse to court a fire hydrant. Typically, animal portraits are sketched from photography, unless you can convince the owner to stop by the taxidermist first. There are many artist who specialize in animal portraits.

(1) Advertise in pet magazines.
(2) Buy a vendor space at pedigree show and show up with a digital camera, lots of brochures, art supplies, and examples of your work.
(3) If you do quality work word of mouth will be your best friend.


box Interdisciplinary studies in the science of zoology
box Work with gesture line. Working with live animals pushes the students to work faster and stay more focused.
box Move from flat sketching to building form
box Wonderful opportunity to bring other people into the studio as people from the community, parents, and special needs students assist and enjoy the animals with the artists.
box Opportunity to explore the sociological aspects of our enjoyment of animals. Discuss responsible animal ownership.


When I studied under Disney animator Milt Neil he emphasized the two color method. A lighter color was used to build the basic structure of the animal using simple shapes. The second color was used to add detail. This also helps critique drawing problems. As one works on the picture they should always focus on clarify and/or correcting the drawing.

Simplicity to complexity:
Effective use of two colored pencils
(1) First color to show basic shapes
(2) Second color to add detail
Observation Skills:
Strong focus on drawing the animal
(or) did they primarily look down at the paper and make up the drawing
Effort: The turned in work shows evidence that the student worked diligently.  
Gesture: Quality of capture animation of animal

______Effective use of two colored pencils (Color 1 =  Basic shapes. Color 2 =  Detail)
______Approaches the sketch with a soft touch, and builds dark tones at appropriate time.
______Sensitivity to the diversity of animals and how they differ in large and small details.
______Keen observation of animal posture and movements.
______Evident diligent energy and effort put into the image.


box Draw animals from artist drawings and art history
box Draw animals from photography
box Draw animal gesture drawings from videos
box Draw animals from life in the classroom and at homework.
box Animal theme project: Some Options:
a Animal anatomy
a Studies of animal movement
a Physiognomics
a Animal hybrids
a Animal masks
a Animals inspired fashion design
a Animal inspired architecture
a Animal inspired cartooning


Birch, Linda. How to Draw and Paint Animals: in Pencil, Charcoal, Line and Watercolour. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles, 1997. Print.
Hultgren, Ken. The Art of Animal Drawing: Construction, Action Analysis, Caricature. New York: Dover, 1993. Print.
Knight, Charles Robert, and Charles Robert Knight. Animal Drawing: Anatomy and Action for Artists. New York: Dover Publications, 1959. Print.


Best Friends
Cat Fancy
Cat World
Dog Fancy


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