Creepy, Crawly Creatures


Tino Rodriguez (American, born Mexico, 1965)

Oil on panel, 20 x 16 in. Crocker Art Museum purchase with contributions from Barbara and William Hyland, Monterey, California, and the George and Bea Gibson Fund, 2006.44.


  • Introduce elements of art to students. 
  • Introduce basic color theory through color wheel and color relationships. 
  • Use of basic watercolor techniques.  
  • Use of basic pastel techniques.
  • Introduce idea of multi-media artwork. 


Medium: A “medium” can refer to the materials used to make a work of art (such as clay, wood, paint, fabric, charcoal, etc.) and also refer to creation techniques such as sculpture, printmaking, watercolor, or pottery.


About the Artist:

A 1995 graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Tino Rodriguez draws upon the literature and mythology of diverse cultures in creating his lush, hypnotic imagery. He aims to inspire us with visual beauty and the freedom to accept the beauty of difference. In much of his art, Rodriguez explores themes of metamorphosis and transformation.

In Aztec mythology, Xochipilli is the prince of flowers and the god of beauty, song, and dance. The artist includes a self portrait in the guise of this ecstatic deity, but he also appears as a dual creature, at once male and female, a presentation in which Rodriguez offers homage to the legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The swan, humming birds, butterflies, Egyptian sphinx, and infant Buddha recapitulate the artist’s theme of transformation in exquisite vignettes throughout the composition. The otherworldly garden that these small icons inhabit is intended as sanctuary for the soul. Rodriguez introduces us to a world rich in pleasure that not only touches our senses but alters our perceptions.

Opening Discussion 

• Today we’re going on a hunt! We’ll be hunting for creepy creatures hiding in artworks then catching them on our paper later. 

• Show Xochipilli’s Ecstatic Universe. What do you see in this painting? Bugs? Name some bugs and creatures they see. 

• Tell students that we will be creating our own mixed material artworks with creepy crawly creatures. We’re going to use lines, shapes and colors to create our creatures. 

• We’re going to use three different materials today. First, we’ll use pencil to sketch. Remind them of what a sketch is. When our sketch is done, we’re going to use oil pastels. Show them oil pastels. Has anyone ever used these before? Talk about their attributes. The oil pastels are only to color our creature. Encourage them to use white, as the watercolor will resist when applied. Demo if necessary. For the background, we’ll be using watercolor. Talk about watercolor. When everyone is done coloring their creature with pastels, we’ll use watercolor on the background. 

• Have each student tell you what creature they’re going to draw; as they tell you, give them their paper and let them go to the tables to work. Have someone pass out pencils as you do so.


Procedure: Guide students as they draw their creatures. 

• As they work, pass out oil pastels to students who are ready. 

• Pass out watercolor when they are ready. Tell them not to carry the water cups.


All, some, or none of these can be done, depending on the class and the remaining time. 

• Tell them that they’re going to move around the room and look at each other’s work. The pastel/watercolor paintings will stay on the table and they will be moving. There are two rules for this activity: no talking, no touching. It’s a time to look, not talk or touch. Ask them to stand and push their chairs in and stand behind their desk. Remind them of no talking and no touching. They can walk around the room and return to their seat when they feel like they’ve seen everything.

• If they want to share:  Have them to look at their work and think about what colors they used? What determined their choice of design or bug? Did they enjoy this type of artwork?



• Identify, sort and classify objects by attribute and identify objects that do not belong to a particular group. (K, Algebra and Functions, 1.0)

• Students identify common objects in their environment and describe geometric features. (K-2, Measurement and Geometry, 2.0)

• Identify, describe and extend simple patterns by referring to their shapes, sizes and colors. (K, Statistics, Data Analysis and Probability, 1.2)

• Sort objects and create and describe patterns by numbers, shapes, sizes, rhythms or colors. (1, Statistics, Data Analysis and Probability, 2.0) 

• Determine the approach, materials, and strategies to be used. (K-3, Mathematical Reasoning, 1.1)

• Explain the reasoning used with concrete objects and/or pictorial representations (K, Mathematical Reasoning, 2.1)

History – Social Science

• Students compare and contrast the locations of people, places and environments and describe their characteristics. (K.4)


• Properties of materials can be observed, measured, and predicted. As a basis for understanding the concept: Students know objects can be described in terms of materials they are made of (e.g. clay, cloth, paper) and their physical properties (e.g., color, size, shape, weight, texture, flexibility, attraction to magnets, floating, sinking.) (K,1.a) 

• Different types of plants and animals inhabit the earth. As a basis of understanding this concept: students know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects). (K,2.a) 

• Describe properties of common objects, describe relative position of objects by using one reference, and communicate observations orally and through drawings. (K, 4.b,c,e)


Creating (VA:Cr1.1; VA:Cr1.2; VA:Cr2.1; VA:Cr2.2; VA:Cr2.3; VA:Cr3); Presenting (VA:Pr4; VA:Pr5; VA:Pr6); Responding (VA:Re7.1; VA:Re7.2; VA:Re8; VA:Re9); Connecting (VA:Cn10; VA:Cn11)

ELA: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading (R.CCR.1; R.CCR.2; R.CCR.4; R.CCR.5; R.CCR.6; R.CCR.7; R.CCR.8; R.CCR.9); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing (W.CCR.9); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening (SL.CCR.1; SL.CCR.2; SL.CCR.3; SL.CCR.4); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language (L.CCR.1; L.CCR.3; L.CCR.4; L.CCR.6)  


  • Watercolor paper
  • Oil Pastels
  • Dry Watercolors in palettes
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Water Cups
  • Pencils
  • Wet Wipes
  • Cloth towel


90 minutes

Grade Level



  • Science
  • Visual Art


  • Latinx Artists
  • Local Artists
  • Painting


  • Watercolor Paint


Mallorie Marsh

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