Art Education – Animal Study

Mass drawings of birds and animals make a pleasant change from the drawings from plants and common objects which are more frequently made in the school-room.

The class is an exception, at least one member of which does not possess a pet tame enough to be used as a model. It may be a bantam rooster, a pigeon, a bird in a cage, a squirrel, a quiet kitten, a rabbit, or a well-trained dog.

A live model of this kind should be brought after school has been called, as there is less likelihood then of its being too frightened to assume a natural attitude when it is placed in position on the table at the front of the room. Suitable food should also be provided, and the owner should stand close to the model in such a position as not to obstruct the view while the class is observing it. He should take his seat and draw with the others after the animal has been studied.

Before the animal is brought into the school-room, the class should be warned while that they must sit very quietly while they watch the model, as laughter, noise, or disorder of any kind is almost sure to frighten an animal into taking some crouching position not at all suitable for drawing.

As the owner feeds or plays with the model, the teacher, standing at the back of the room, calls the attention of the class to the different poses it takes, urging the pupils to note the shape of the head and how it is placed in relation to the body, the direction in which the tail points or curves as the case may be, the shape of the legs and their position in relation to the body, the shape of the feet and the way in which they are joined to the legs.

When their attention has been called to all the points they are likely to overlook, the pupils are asked to close their eyes, to discover which attitude they can recall most vividly. is removed, and they proceed to draw it in using charcoal or crayons.

A day or two afterwards, the same bird or animal should be drawn again without the model; a story for illustration which would require the drawing of it might be given advantageously.