Teach How to Draw Gorgeous Owls in Grade One

I am a HUGE fan of owls. I love their big eyes and the wisdom they transmit. I love the white ones, speckled ones, grouchy looking ones, big ones and little ones. In a nutshell, I LOVE  owls! Because owls come in all different sizes and colors, they are the perfect animal for kids to learn how to draw.

I wanted to share with you these gorgeous owls my grade one students drew during a whole group guided drawing lesson. These are not my students by the way because I am currently taking a year off from teaching. I was asked to sub for the art teacher at my son’s school and she even let me do my own lessons if I wanted to. These kids by the way were so adorable and it made me miss being in the classroom. Any chance I can teach kids art I realize, makes me a very happy person indeed.

Let me start by showing you this gorgeous video that is going around the web recently. Isn’t this little guy so gorgeous? Don’t you just want to have your own little owl too? Definitely start this lesson by showing this quick video to your students so they totally fall in love with owls and be excited, inspired and ready to learn how to draw their own!

Drawing with Children; A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too Drawing with Children; A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too

Drawing With Children, by Mona Brookes is a fabulous book I have recommended before on a previous post I wrote on how to draw birds. You can see the post here. I love the way Mona Brookes explains the  5 elements of shape. It’s done in a way that students can break down a picture into shapes and lines quite easily and not feel intimidated when drawing from still life or copying from the subject matter. I briefly introduced the lines and shapes in the Mona Brookes way and made sure the kids repeated the lines and shape after me. Kids are sponges and they learn QUICKLY.

For most of my guided drawing lessons, I generally like to have all the students together on the floor and in ca ircle. It makes the lesson feel different and special. This doesn’t mean you have to do it this way so please go ahead and do whatever way works for you. Give out some small individual white boards or a clipboard with some recycled paper. These will be the ‘mini’ tables as I call them–kids love this! Give out pencils and erasers. Alternatively– and this is what I always do in my own classroom, is to give out thin or chisled white board or dry erase markers to each student. Because this is the practice part we do as a group, drawing with whiteboard markers allows the kids to erase and keep practicing (without wasting paper) till they go back to their tables to do the real drawing on paper with a pencil.

I also draw along on the board so my students can visually follow each step as I say them.

Begin by asking your students to draw a small ‘dot‘ and fill it in as this will be the owl’s eye. Make sure to remind them to do this dot not too close to any of the edges of the whiteboard or paper so they have room for the owl’s head. Leave some space and do another dot to the right or left of the first dot.

Next up…draw two big circles around the dots. Owls have BIG eyes so the circles should be nice and big too.

Add an upside down triangle shape for the beak.

Next is a curve line for the head and a larger curve line for the body. Your students can add a line to close off the head shape.

More curve lines for the wings and feathers. Use angle lines to make claws on the feet.

At this point ask your students what might be missing from this picture? Details of course! Show them how you add your details to the eyes, or add designs to the feathers. Draw branches, leaves, berries, etc. Let your students add details to their pictures and remind them to not copy the details you made. They can ‘borrow’ your ideas but make changes and make it their own.

Once everyone had a practice, I normally encourage my students to erase their owl (if they are using whiteboards) and either try drawing another owl if they feel they need more practice time. This is so important to let your students have time to explore and feel comfortable with their work.  I don’t believe in 45 minute art lessons in fact I love lessons that take more time.

Last step is to give your students a 12×18 piece of paper and send them off to their table to do their final drawing of their own special owl. For this particular lesson, the students used the owl they drew during the guided drawing lesson and colored them in with crayons because I only had 45 minutes with them– remember I was subbing?

There are so many wonderful ways your students could color in their drawings. Try crayons, oil pastels with a watered down tempera paint wash over it (gorgeous!), draw the owl onto black paper and color in with any of the pastels (oil or chalk), use tempera or acrylic paint, etc..

With the short amount of time these kids had to learn a new way of looking at lines and shapes plus draw and color an owl, these came out simply stunning, don’t you think?


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7 thoughts on “Teach How to Draw Gorgeous Owls in Grade One

  1. Pingback: Owl Moon and inspired Owl Artists | Seymour Division 5

  2. Hi,

    We have just read “Owl Know How” and used this blog post to create our own owls – love the idea and the children’s owls look gorgeous!

    Thanks for the inspiration,


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