Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rousseau's Tigers

I saw these terrific tigers in an ad in Sax Arts Magazines. They were advertising crayons, I think. Far be it from me to get inspiration from anywhere, I thought they were interesting...and taught the students about implied line, perspective, distance, habitat, and composition. Who knew you could get all of that out of a little drawing of a tiger?! Well, to make them even more marketable, I tossed in a lesson on Henri Rousseau's love of jungle animals and composition, and I had a pretty well-rounded lesson.

I did this lesson with kindergarten and first grade. With both levels I did a step-by-step drawing, breaking the tiger down into smaller pieces and parts. I love teaching this way; the kids are able to take a complex image and piece it together. The smiles on their faces when the entire drawing comes to fruition is priceless. I live for those moments!

With my kindergartners, we stuck to using crayon. This made my life much easier. With first grade we used watercolor paints, which worked quite nicely, and we learned to use one color first (and do everything we needed to paint in that color before switching to the next). This also made my life much easier!

I did this lesson last year with my kids and definitely plan to do it again this year!


  1. I love these!! Love your blog!
    Jonelle Bell

  2. These are really cute. What size of paper did you use for this? I'm wanting to use 9x12 but wondering if this creates too small of spaces for these little guys to effectively paint with watercolor. Were you able to paint the entire picture in one block (not sure what your time is) or did you paint over a couple of days? I teach in 30 min. periods.

  3. we used 12x18 paper. i have 55-minute classes, and i think it took 2 days, one to step-by-step draw and begin painting, and another to complete. if you did it on 9x12 i'd bet you could get it done in a day and a half! good luck! can't wait to see your results!!!