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Create Animal Silhouettes and Patterns

Create Animal Silhouettes and Patterns Activity

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See in slideshow:
Animal Adventures

Spiky, slimy, fuzzy and furry are some of the textures you'll get to talk about with your child as she creates her very own silhouette animal. This project encourages kids to look closely at their favorite animal and recreate texture, pattern and silhouette. Make several of them and create your own zoo. They look great hung in multiples on a wall!

What You Need:

  • Black paper 8.5" x 11"
  • Pencil
  • White watercolor paper 8.5" x 11"
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Colored pencils or Oil pastels

What You Do:

  1. Begin by discussing with your child the definitions: texture, pattern and silhouette. A pattern is a repeating shape. Good examples are stripes on a zebra or spots on a leopard. Texture is what the fur or skin on an animal feels like. A giraffe looks fuzzy but the hair also looks kind of stiff, or a squid's suckers look bumpy and kind of slimy too. A silhouette is the outline of anything that is filled in with a solid color.
  2. Ask your child to choose her favorite animal and investigate any textures or patterns it has on it's body. She can also discuss specific shapes on its body that makes it recognizable in a silhouette form.
  3. Have her draw the outline of the animal's body with a pencil on black paper. Encourage her to draw it as large as possible.
  4. She can cut out the silhouette of the animal from the black paper and put it aside.
  5. Have her lightly sketch the pattern of her animal's skin or fur repeated across the entire page of the white paper.
  6. Using colored pencils or oil pastels, she can fill in the colors of the pattern. As she does this, also help her consider what the texture might feel like and how she can convey that in pencil or pastel. Fuzzy fur may be short, soft strokes. Spiky texture may require long, jagged specific strokes.
  7. When her background is complete, she can glue her animal silhouette directly on top of the pattern using a glue stick. 
  8. Frame your wild beast and put it on display for all to visit!

Fun Fact: Before photography was invented, it was very popular for people to hire artists to create silhouettes of their profiles. They would precisely cut them from black paper and mount them on white paper.

Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.

Updated on May 18, 2011
Printable Workbooks from Education.com
Find a printable workbook to go along with this fun activity. See Workbooks
See more activities in: Fifth Grade, Painting & Drawing
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