Wildlife Art – Animal Drawing from an Image

Wildlife Art for KidsDoes your child love to draw animals? Have you encouraged your child to draw from an animal image?  Wildlife art isn’t just great fun but by taking the time to analyse a wildlife image first, you can learn a lot about the animals in it before you even put pencil to paper!

Miss Possum loves to draw her usual subjects of animals, plants and people from her imagination but I wanted to show her that there are other ways to draw.  I thought it might be nice for us to look at an image of an animal and try to draw it on paper instead.

I grabbed one of my animal photography books and let her skim through it until she found something she wanted to draw. Before starting to draw, we looked at the features of the elephant she’d picked. We talked about the caked mud on the elephants feet, the tusks that seemed well used and how strong and heavy the elephant looked.  We talked about what we thought the animal was thinking and what the image told us about the elephant.

I think it’s an important step to talk about the subject of your image before you start drawing, it almost creates a mood that might even extend into your artwork. Here’s some more general questions you can ask your child before drawing from a wildlife image:

  • What animal is it?
  • What’s the animal doing? Why do you think that?
  • What body covering does the animal have?
  • What type of animal is it? E.g. bird? Mammal? Reptile?
  • Where could the animal be going?
  • Is the animal happy or sad? Why do you think that?
  • What’s in the background of the image or behind the animal?
  • Is there anything in front of the animal?
  • Why do you want to draw THIS animal?

After a bit of discussion, we decided to only draw the animal this time and not the background. It was her first time trying to replicate something on paper and we wanted to start small.

We took our time drawing.

drawing for kids

I noticed Miss Possum was interested in the way I was adding some shading to my drawing of the elephant. I explained that light from the sun hits the animal and where the sun can’t get to creates shadows on the animal.  I showed her the shadows on the elephant and the same shadows I tried to make on my drawing. She started to shade parts of her elephant.

Gift for Santa

It was so enjoyable to draw again and I could see that Miss Possum was quietly enjoying herself too.

elephant art kids

Miss Possum’s drawing is on the right and mine is on the left. Not bad for an almost five year old is she?!

After we’d done our lovely art lesson, I was lucky to find a beautiful place that fosters little wildlife artists to be. I hope to tell you more about Oz Wildlife Studio soon! Take a look around. If you have little artists that would love to learn how to draw wildlife and you live in Brisbane, Australia, this is the place to go!

When did you last get out the pencils and draw from a beautiful wildlife image?

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  1. kirri @ kirri white coaching says

    I can attest that she is a fabulous artist for a 5 yr old! (My skills are only slightly more developed to be honest).
    Athough, looking at your attempt, it seems like the apple really does not fall far from the tree!

    • Penny says

      LOL, I love sketching animal too, obviously but haven’t had much time to do that hobby of late. I’m so glad Miss Poss enjoys it because then it gives me an excuse to do it more often!

  2. Twinkle in the Eye says

    She has done a wonderful job and aren’t you gifted! Mine would look more like your daughters but I’m 32 lol

    • Penny says

      Oh I’m sure you’re better than you say. I used to be a terrible drawer until I practised all the time and then I got better and better. Miss Possum has been a natural drawer since she was little. It so nice for us to both share in something we love doing.

  3. says

    Hello Penny. I loved reading this fabulous article and it’s wonderful to see you and Miss Possum sitting down to draw together. You haven’t changed a bit since I last saw you. You both did a great job and I must say that Miss Possum’s elephant has oodles of character! Love that long trunk and what about those legs and toes! Utterly adorable. Many of my students choose to draw wildlife too and they have produced some stunning artworks in my studio. I am very touched that you mentioned the art classes in this article. Thank you:)

  4. Renee @ adventuresathomewithmum says

    What a great drawing, both of them. Your daughter has talent.
    I wish dimples loved drawing, I’d love to sit and draw like this with him. I enjoy it!

  5. Nathan says

    I love sitting down with the kids to do some drawing, painting or story telling. Bringing out and encouraging their creative side is so fun, and very important, I think.

  6. says

    That is just the most adorable thing! What a wonderful idea…I love her face as she watches you and her drawing is just fantastic….I bet she was so proud of it too! You are pretty clever yourself Mum!

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