Mixed Breed Animal Drawings Lesson Plan
Mixed Breed Animals

Written by: Linda Woods, Art Teacher at St. John's Lower School, Houston, Texas
Unit: Drawing/Medieval Art
Grade Level: 3 through 6 (these are fifth grade)
School Web Site: St. John's Lower School

Animal handouts (packet for each table), newsprint, pencils, black construction paper, colored construction paper, Prismacolor pencils, scissors, glue
  • Create an imaginary animal by combining parts of two or more animals
  • Show pattern and textures with Prismacolor pencils
  • Show highlights and shadows using complimentary colors - add white for highlights
  • Develop center of interest at eyes using white for highlights
  • Create an environment for their imaginary animal
  • Demonstrate skill in cutting and gluing
by Jenna
Switch Zoo

Electronic Zoo/Net Veterinary Resources

The Medieval Bestiary
Animals in the Middle Ages

Dover Publishing (book of animals)

  1. Discuss a little about life in the Middle Ages - Present some of the animals shown in the Bestiary.
  2. Demonstrate using Prismacolors - show how to to do highlights and shadows - show blending of colors. Demonstrate coloring of eyes to show reflection.
  3. Review color planning - Review animals in their environment/habitat.
by William
  1. Go to Switch Zoo (switchzoo.com) and make new animals to get ideas for combinations and see how these animals might look. Select at least three animals that appeal to you. Plan some combinations on newsprint. For example: decide what head, legs and tail your animal will have, and plan in what kind of environment your animal will live.
  2. Select your best plan -- Draw your animal on the black construction paper. Make it just about fill the page. The animal is to be the main focus of the composition. Focus on transitions: Wings must appear to grow out of the body....patterns must be repeated for unity (zebra tail? how about some hoof stripes for unity, or maybe some more in the face?)
  3. Draw in details of the environment. In what biome does your animal live? What kind of plants would be there (note from Judy: I have had actual plants in the room for students to draw).
  4. Plan colors - try analogous or complementary colors.
  5. Color composition. Use a variety of pencil pressures to obtain different values. Use white and lighter values to show highlights, Use complementary colors to show shadows. Use directional strokes to help shape the animal (making it look more three dimensional).
  6. Develop a center of interest around the eyes - put a reflection in the eye, develop pattern and texture in the iris, use of black and white pencils for texturing and adding depth
  7. Color background/landscape to enhance animal - repeat colors.
  8. Cut out and mount on colored construction paper (select a color that is complementary or analogous to drawing). Put tiny drops of glue on back of drawing (leave face down on table) - lay construction paper over and gently smooth to join the two together.
by Olivia
  • Did students show imagination and creativity in combining different animal parts to create a mixed breed animal?
  • Did students show values by varying pressures of the pencil - showing highlights and shadows with complimentary colors?
  • Did students create a center of interest at the eyes by adding a white reflection?
  • Did students exhibit skill and craftsmanship in cutting and gluing?
Thanks to Art Teacher, Linda Woods, for sharing her lesson plan with other teachers; and the administration of St. John's Lower School for granting us permission to host the work at Switch Zoo. Also, thanks to Judy Decker from The Incredible Art Department for collaboration on the lesson plan.

St. John's School in Houston is a K-12 college preparatory facility with an excellent Fine Arts Department that features Art, Music, Drama, and Dance.