Wild About Art!


Joan Brown (American, 1938–1990)

Enamel on Masonite, 90 x 48 in. Crocker Art Museum Purchase, 1974.30.


• Introduce elements of art to students. 

• Use of basic collage techniques.

• Introduce idea of mixed-media artwork.

Opening Discussion

  • Museum: Introduce yourself and ask children if they have ever been to or heard of the Crocker Art Museum. What is a museum? What do you think would be in a museum? Discuss how the museum has many kinds of art or “mediums.” Artist often use different materials to create their art and often combine different materials. This way of making art, or “technique” of mixing materials, is what we will be doing today.
  • Today, we are going to explore and create bold and beautiful animal art! First, we will look at artworks of artist who have animal subjects. 
  • Practicing Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), show Walrus Willamette with Whale Walkers. Ask them the following questions: What is going on in this painting? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find? 
  • Show Xochipilli’s Ecstatic Universe, Tino Rodriguez. Look at all the different animals and colors this artist used! Do the animals look real or do they appear to be something from his imagination? What else do we see in this artwork? Shapes and lines? Artist combine various shapes and lines to create forms. That’s how we determine what animal we are looking at by its shape and form. 
  • Practice Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), show And a Little Child Shall Lead Them, Charles Christian Nahl. What is going on in this painting? What do you see that makes you say that? Does the title give you a clue about what this piece may be about? How many animals do we see in this painting? 
  • Show Jaguar and the Moon, Roberto Montenegro. What animal can you see in this painting? What else can we see in this painting? Pattern? What in this painting is made from pattern? Are the patterns made of lines and shapes or both? Do you like this style of art? Why or why not? Artist explore with pattern and it’s an interesting technique that has been used throughout history. 
  • Tell students that they will be creating a mixed-media collage artwork that depicts a wild animal. We are going to use color, shape, line and patterns to create our bold and beautiful wild animals! This art project has 3 parts to it, so it’s important we are listening and following directions.
  • Write on the board and explain the following steps: First, you need to figure out what shape the head of your animal is? The head of an animal can sometimes have more than one shape. Demonstrate on the board different animals and explain to the students that they will have to trace the head of the animal onto their colored card stock paper. Have students pick out a colored card stock paper and have them sketch the shape of their animal.
  • Second, you are going to use different materials to create your animal. Discuss/demonstrate to the students the definition of collage and the different techniques they can use to create a collage (tear, cut, glue etc.). Emphasize to the students that they must capture the different features of the face (mouth, nose, eyes, ears, etc.) Have them use patterned paper to fill in their face and scraps of paper to create the eyes, mouth, etc. They may use ink pens at the end to add small details. 
  • Third, when students are finished with their collage, have them cut around their work, leaving them only with the head of their animal. When finished, have them choose a background for their animal. Have a table set up with different colored transparency sheets and have students use double-sided tape (puff tape) to attach their animal heads onto their sheets. 


  • Guide students to decide on and sketch the shape of their animals head. 
  • While they are working on their sketch, pass out a basket/tray with patterned paper, scissors, glues stick, and ink pens to students who are ready.
  • Students will use patterned paper to collage around the head and use smaller pieces of scrap paper to create the features of the animal (eyes, mouth, etc.). They may use black ink pens to add small details toward the end. Have students cut out their animal heads.
  • Those who are ready for a background may go over to the table where the transparency sheets and double-sided tape are setup at. Have them pick a color for their background and help them stick their heads onto their background.
  • Encourage them to cover up the whole page and to use a number of materials throughout the project.

During the Work Period

  • Help one-on-one, giving explanations and demos as necessary.
  • Give the teacher the teacher resource packet and explain what is inside.
  • Count and log number of students and number of adults served.
  • If you notice the supply boxes are in need of anything, make a note of it to restock later.

Clean Up

  • Everything but their work of art needs to be cleared off the table. Scraps that can be reused should be put back in the bin or can be recycled. All other materials come back to the supply table. Have students check under the floor for any scraps or other materials that need to be put away. When the floor and tables are cleaned, have them sit in front of their artwork so they can move onto the next activity. 


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

  • Tell students that they’re going to move around the room and look at each other’s work. The animal collage artwork will stay on their table and they will be the ones 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 once more 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 look at their work and share the animal they have created. Ask what determine them to use the colors and materials to collage their animal.  Did they use lots of lines, shapes and patterns? Did they enjoy this type of artwork?


  • Thank them for their hard work. Tell them to take their animal collage home and share them with their friends and family. 
  • Explain the family passes, if they’re getting them. Encourage them to visit the Crocker to see the artworks they saw today. 
  • If you have extra time, read them a book. This can be done at any time, depending on the class needs


  • White/Black 9 X 12in. Paper (Background)
  • Tissue Paper (Background Option)
  • Transparency Sheets (Background Option)
  • Card Stock Paper (Animal Head)
  • Scrapbook Patterned Paper
  • Black Ink Pens
  • Pencils
  • Glue Sticks
  • Scissors
  • Double-Sided Tape (Puff Tape)


90 Minutes

Grade Level



  • Visual Art


  • Collage
  • Female Artist


  • Collage



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