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Thursday, May 23, 2013

James Audubon and texture

5th grade students studied the life and art of artist James Audubon.  He's remembered for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that showed the birds in their natural habitats.  Audubon identified 25 new species!  Most impresive is his book Birds of America. There are only 119 copies and one copy is worth up to 10 million dollars today!  This book is truly special not just because of the birds it documents but because of it's size...each bird was created life size!
After learning about Audubon students were inspired to create their own bird drawings.  Looking at photographs students attempted their own realistic birds.  When the drawings were complete students looked again at Audubons book and learned that the images inside were actually prints.  Students then transferred their drawings to a linoleum block and set out to create their own prints. Finally students returned their focus to the photographs they drew to study the texture on their bird.  Using the carving tools students added texture to the bird on their block of linoleum. 


  1. These are incredible! I haven't tried using carving tools with students- too afraid. Any tips would be appreciated.

  2. Thanks so much! I was scared to use them at first too! To ensure safety, I made all the kids bring in a thick winter glove for their non carving hand. I also bought a few child size gardening gloves for the students who forgot to bring theirs. They were not allowed to carve without a glove. We also used bench hooks which help them keep their block in place. They were also instructed to keep their non carving hand behind their carving hand. We spent a lot of time reviewing safety!!