Painting Lions in Jungle Art Activities

Subject: Drawing and Painting
Grades: Kg-4
Ages: 5-8

About this project: I like to begin this lesson by sharing the book by Nili Mayer-Oser called How Nili's Lion Got His Nose. Nili teaches even young children how to draw a lion while hearing a wonderful tale. To order this book, see below. Eric Carle: Do You Want to be My Friend? There's a beautiful picture of a lion in the book. Students will be delighted with the results of these fun loving lions. This African art lesson plan can take three, one hour sessions. Have fun!

Materials needed:
  • Large white drawing paper (50 x 70cm for older kids, 35cm x 50 cm for younger kids)
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Oil pastels
  • Watercolor paints and brushes
  • Plastic containers for water
Instructions for the lion art lesson plan:

Part 1
  1. Introduce the artist Henri Rousseau. You may want to use the examples of paintings showing animals in the jungle from the book: Getting to know the World's Greatest Artists: Henri Rousseau by Mike Venezia.
  2. Demonstrate drawing the face of a lion in pencil by simplifying each part into simple shapes and forms.
  3. Students will draw the face on large paper. Young students will only draw the face on smaller white paper.
  4. Demonstrate drawing the body of the lion in pencil (to students ages 7 and up).
  5. Color in compositions with oil pastels using heavy pressure. May preselect colors for students (for the lion... yellow, orange, red, peach, etc.).
  6. Demonstrate blending colors.
  7. Repeat colors throughout composition.

Part 2
  1. Look again at the Rousseau paintings as well as other pictures of the jungle. Brainstorm what can be drawn into the background. Draw the background in pencil. Emphasize the big size of the leaves.
  2. Help students select a range of jungle colors (e.g. various greens, yellows and blues in oil pastels) and demonstrate how to blend them in order to get a range of colors and effects.
  3. Color in the rest of the composition with oil pastels using heavy pressure.
  4. Out line various shapes in dark colored oil pastels.

Part 3

  1. Demonstrate doing a watercolor wash over the painting. Students may choose one color for everything, or separate colors (e.g. blues for the skies, golden colors over the lion and greens for the foilage).

Remember to save these African art lesson plans for future use.

Art Therapy Ideas: Most elementary art projects are a great way to start an art therapy session. This African art lesson is a great way to stimulate a child's imagination. Is there an area of the painting that your client particularly likes? Have him draw a picture about that, or blow that image up even bigger. This technique is called follow the image.

Go over some of the character traits of a lion. Many children have an image of Simba from The Lion King movie. Have your young client speak in first person, and be the lion. How does it feel to be the king of the jungle? Where would he/she like to roam? What sort of adventure would the lion like to go on? Is there anyone the lion is afraid of? What would the lion like to say to other members in his/her family? It would be helpful if the therapist had another animal puppet and used it to create a dialogue. When you have the art piece speak, it's a gestalt art experience. To get more information on this topic, you can to refer to the book by Janie Rhyne called The Gestalt Art Experience: Patterns That Connect.

To order the book, How Nili's Lion Got His Nose, please e-mail: for further information.


Martine_Styles_Payne_Malik_Tomlinson_Directioner said...

cute :D