In the art class I am teaching at a local public high school, my students are looking at the intersection of science and art. They had to invent an animal hybrid and then label it as if it were a scientific illustration.
Students looked at scientific illustrations by artists and scientists – both contemporary and dating back to the 1500s. We learned about what aspects of animals are usually described and conceptually imitated the labeling system used in illustrations.
In the process, students learned about science and art but they also learned about symbols.
We looked at mythological animals from Egyptian and Greek Mythology as well as Chinese and Japanese folklore.
We also looked at concept art monsters and characters used for film and gaming.
The resulting animal drawings were hybrids not only of animals, but of contexts.
Some hybrids got to be a little disturbing in a powerful and interesting way.
Students tried some very unexpected combinations.
For all of the drawings, students looked very closely at a variety of reference material and learned about using shape, contour, texture, value and pattern to draw from observation.
The students all had workbooks that they sketched the animals in before creating their finals. Some who struggled a great deal with drawing from observation clearly made a lot of progress and were really happy with their final drawings.