Tag Archives: animals

Animal silhouettes

To do this art project you’ll need a projector and spray bottles. The image of an animal is protected on to a page and traced. Then the artist sprays black paint and drips wet thick paint on the page, blocking some ink with stencils and objects. They can draw with markers or white colored pencil first if they want. The silhouette is then cut out and glued onto a new piece of paper for a stunning effect. Some students chose to color their backgrounds, others did not. Drawing in an eye (using a white colored pencil or crayon) or using a bit of tape where the eye would be as a mask can have a stunning effect!

If students claim they “messed up” and want to throw the piece away, perhaps the reverse of the  animal silhouette can be used. Perhaps the negative space cut out could be used as a mask? This piece is all about texture and contrast. Look at the examples, which ones are more successful? Does the textures inside the animals remind you of technology? pollution? Do they give the piece a kind of movement or animation? We are familiar to the furry texture of a mammal’s coat, so when they have a different texture, like feathers or scales or something else, it creates a juxtaposed “wrong ” feel.

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The white creeping up on the legs make this deer appear to be standing in snow, or like our view of the deers feet is blocked by invisible grass. Also the leaf like textures look like shadows cast on the deers form by sun shining down from above.

Kids often want “perfection” when they work with stencils. real artists know perfection is an illusion or impossible, or uninteresting. I’ve seen some kids recoil in disgust when I intentionally smear some paint.  This piece has three “mandala-like” plastic stencils blocking the india ink and the center of the body has some black acrylic paint scattered. Does it look to you like a tree branch, lightning bolt, insect legs, or an oil spill?img_0519

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Animal Jokes

This is a Script of my animal jokes set: If you want to see a video check this out. I warn you it does have an Fbomb and a couple of naughty words about human sexuality, but that’s quite common in a stand up comedy set, and just a part of the beauty of the human experience, right? But I can and usually perform this set for kids totally clean. I was just super excited about my drawings and wanted to show them off to the nice eco-friendly folks at Cottage Grove Forest Web.

There sure are some silly animal names out there, the Emu, the Aye Aye, the Gnu, the Okapi, even the Moose sounds goofy.

These names demonstrate there are nearly infinite combinations of syllables that could become animal names.  We don’t have to take the lazy way and name animals after other animals. It’s difficult to count all the examples, between folk names (who really calls a cougar a “deer tiger?) and nicknames, but here are some of the offenders.

Giving these animals names that other animals clearly already had reserved implies these species don’t deserve their own unique names. We don’t call Vancouver citizens “Canadian Seattle people.” The Mongolians aren’t the “Russian Chinese.”


The Cuttlefish, the jellyfish, the crawfish and the starfish had a meeting. They were upset about their names. “Why did they name us fish?” Some lazy biologist said something like, “the most successful animal in the ocean is the fish, therefore they must all be fish.”


If that guy had been the one to name the creatures on land, we’d call the giraffe the long necked rat, the tiger the striped rat, the squirrel the climbing rat,


The platypus would be the duck billed rat and the naked mole rat would be the…. hey maybe he did name this cute fella.


The kangaroo would be the jumping rat, and the kangaroo rat? the jumping rat rat.


The leopard was confused when he heard of the leopard gecko, the leopard tortoise,the leopard seal, the leopard cat, and the leopard shark. “What does it mean to be leopard? Who am I? Seems anyone can be a leopard these days.”

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It gets really bad when we consider the creatures of the sea.  (Cow shark? really, is it required to name sharks after mammals and they ran out?) Clearly the humans who were handing out names were more familiar with land animals and so named the sea creatures in tribute. Imagine if those handling naming duty had been an aquatic society: more familiar with the ecosystems of the ocean than land, surely we would see the reverse? Do mermaids call horses “land- whatevers” where whatever stands for the name they gave the sea horses they noticed swimming by?


The seahorse ask the leafy seadragon, why did they name me after a mammal, and you after a reptile when we are clearly closely related?

image The horseshoe crab has never seen a horseshoe, and he insists that he is crab shaped. The Elephant seal and the elephant shrew both held their noses in shame and asked themselves, is it really that big?


Some call the flying fox the wolf bat, some call the hog nosed bat the bumblebee bat.

There are wolf spiders and spider monkeys, but no wolf spider monkeys?

Better to be named after something that exists. Consider the odd cases of the tasmanian devil, the angel shark, the angel fish, the unicorn crestfish, the pink fairy armadillo, the goblin shark, the yeti crab, the vampire squid, and the vampire bat. They are very much real, but the things they are named after: DONT EXIST!



What goes through a female tiger’s head when she sees a new potential mate. “I know he will kill my offspring to ensure his own genetic success, but dang, cute stripes.”


The Praying Mantis is upset about his name too. “I’m an atheist! and I’ve been making this motion with my front legs for tens of thousands of years, longer than humans have been praying to a monotheistic god; you should call this “mantising.”


When hiring for a new position, you should always hire the candidate who is the most highly qualified.image

Why don’t deep sea fish date? Too much pressure. (thanks Kat Witt for this adorable joke)


Are these cute animal pictures pandering to the audience?

Lets get serious for a moment.

One of my favorite animals is the dolphin. Did you know there are dolphins trained by the US Navy to disarm undersea mines? Sometimes they take a hit for the team and blow themselves up for America. Thats a true patriot. Is anybody lobbying congress to grant dolphins who die in the line of duty citizenship? Where is the Dolphin Action Committee?


Some old white bald guy (Alexander Hamilton?) decided that the national animal of the US of A would be the Bald Eagle. Telling of the times, he thought Americans would have something in common with this white, balding, predatory, carrion eating, noble appearing bird.


Well we are a diverse nation, we have hair, we are intelligent, playful and enjoy masturbating, we don’t have echolocation yet, but I think it gives us something to work towards. I suggest we change the national animal to the dolphin.

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Children’s Zoology report magazine covers.

At The Village School I did a lesson on graphic design for a zoology report. I suggested kids make exciting badges on their pages, and put titles in bubble lettering. Some students asked me for help drawing their animals, I never drew on their page, but drew the animal on a separate piece of paper, talking them through. I suggested they draw LARGE, in color and plan their pages in light pencil before doing their final draft.


Slideshow #1 student zoology covers (1)

The first drawings of Moose were made by me as an example. The next page is an Emu, Chicken, and Dolphin with exciting letters as examples of what their pages could look like. Drawing in chalk is a little difficult for me, but I like the challenge.

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