Learning to Draw: Shape Recognition Animal Art


A Rudolph shape study: 1 triangle, 2 ovals, 3 circles, 10 rectangles.

When my daughter was in preschool, she brought home lots of little shape studies and she loved them. I recently brought back shape studies to help her create animal art. She would get so frustrated that she couldn't draw animals the way she saw them in her mind. These are super easy to make for a quick art activity. And we haven't found an animal that couldn't be broken down into shapes, so there are endless possibilities! We've also made them into birthday cards and gifts for friends.


For the Rudolph project above, we cut out the shapes and glued them on a winter scene my daughter drew with oil pastels. And, pictured below, the shapes within a fluffy little kitten on a watercolor rainbow: one circle, two triangles, four ovals and a crescent. (We taped the edges with masking tape before the watercolor to make a frame.)


My daughter made this project for our new kitten, Primrose.


Pretty strong likeness, right?!






A nice, low pressure way to introduce the method of sketching shown in the book below. It will be a while before she is able to do a light sketch with the pencil and employ that technique. In the meantime, cutting out shapes not only helps bring the animals she wants to draw to life, but serves as a pre-drawing exercise.


Art for Kids: Drawing; by Kathryn Temple

I've definitely seen an improvement in her drawing skills since we've been breaking down the shapes. She tends to be super intense about how her art looks, so the shape studies gave us a break from the meltdowns and, at the same time, improved her drawing skills! Sweet!


She recently drew this rabbit habitat for school, and I noticed her using the shape studies for the bunnies. She was very happy with how this turned out. Win!

P.S. Two more shape studies:


Love this triangle porcupine. Start with an oval, a triangle head and lots of little triangle texture. He could use a colorful makeover, though! And some sparkle.

This owl has great texture, and I like how she filled in the owl's outline with the ripped pieces of paper. The face is great shape recognition, as well.


0 comments