If I taught art in an Elementary School I would love working with the other teachers in integrating my art projects with their lessons. Even as an at home art teacher I love to have mini Art History lessons with our art projects. This lesson is one of those that would integrate well in the classroom. My students are fascinated by animals but add the magical element of the "Totem Animal" and the idea that there could be an animal out there that has something to teach you or is a type of spirit guide for you and I had their full attention! There are many cultures in the world with variations on this belief and a quick google search brought up lots of fun quizzes and information on the different totem animals. There were a lot of discrepancies, so make sure you teach this with that in mind! Here is some of the information I used:
Your totem animal is usually an animal that is very present in your life, either a favorite animal or one that makes itself known to you somehow, like a big assignment you have to research or actually crossing your path recently!
Your totem animal can change throughout your life. Sometimes we need to be brave, sometimes we need to be still and listen, sometimes we need to be creative. Watch for what the totem animals are trying to tell you!
Once we chose our totem animal and had fun looking up what it means we found some images to do drawings from. We tried charcoal for the first drawing, but then simplified that into a simple line drawing. We did our line drawings in pencil on big pieces of stiff white paper that could handle a little moisture. I mixed white school glue with some black india ink, but there are websites that say you can use acrylic paint mixed with the glue too. Leave your black glue in those orange tipped glue bottles because they will draw a line so easily. Go over your pencil drawing with a bead of black glue. This takes some practice, but really the thick and thin lines add great variety. Set them aside to dry. Next class use watercolor to fill in your drawings. Don't just stop with filling in your animal! I'm a big advocate for FILL THE PAGE! If you have blank space find a texture or pattern or color to fill it in with.
I love our projects and how they turned out. And as much as this isn't a part of MY beliefs, it was amazing to see how well the totems matched the kids!
Flowerstone Art School
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