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LEARNING: In this project, student artists learn about how scientists use drawing in their field research. They focus their studies on the ornithologist John Audubon. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. He eventually produced a book called ‘Birds of North America’ which contained 435 life-sized watercolours of North American birds, all reproduced from hand-engraved prints.

CREATING: Students begin the project by creating ‘field sketches’ through which they learn the basics of observation drawing. They then pick an animal figurine of their choice, draw it from observation, study the habitat of the animal, create an accurate background for their drawing, and then turn the drawings into a series of prints.

CONNECTING: This project is thematically aligned with the topic of ‘birds’. Specifically, it supports by looking at the biography and artworks of John Audubon.

  • CCAS: W.1.7 , W.2.7 , W.1.8 , W.2.8 , SL.1.1a, SL.2.1a , SL.1.1b , SL.2.1b, SL.1.2 , SL.2.2, SL.1.1c , SL.2.1c , SL.1.3 , SL.2.3 , SL.2.4, SL.1.5, SL.2.5
  • NCAS: VA:Cr1.2.1a, VA:Cr3.1.2a
  • Art Elements: line, shape/form
  • Art Principles: proportion/scale

*Materials and books linked to are affiliate Links and we may make a small percentage off of them. The materials list assumes a class-size of 30.

We link to products that are expert-recommended; for our supplies, art teachers have helped us choose the most effective brands to use. For our books, literacy consultants have vetted our selection.

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Terms of use: We are a non-profit, and the materials made available for download are freely available for anyone to use, adapt and share (with attribution), but no one is permitted to sell either the original program, an adaptation of it, or lesson plans that reproduce any part of it.

Affiliate Links: On the pages, you may find affiliate links to art supplies, books, and misc materials. We encourage you to use these, as we do make a small percentage off of them, and by doing so you support our mission. More, we link to products that are expert-recommended; for our supplies, art teachers have helped us choose the most effective brands to use. For our books, literacy consultants have vetted our selection.