Level III-Art Lesson 2: The African Crowned Crane
Learn to draw an African crowned crane and capture its dancing in color and pattern
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 5 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
African crowned cranes are the only cranes that roost in trees, but what they are more admired for is their dancing.
While the emphasis in our art lessons is on realistic drawing, the dancing of the cranes begs the question: what is realistic? Is it more realistic to capture the color of the crane or to capture the joy it seems to exude as it dances? This lesson gives the opportunity to interpret the crane drawing either way.
Using acrylic pens makes it much easier to add details--making fine marks with them is easier than with a brush. Be sure to have some on hand!
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the crane.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 crane warm-up (this is included with the lesson)
- 1 sheet of 11" x 14" drawing paper
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- Tempera paints or acrylic paints
- Acrylic paint pens
- Set of brushes
- Paint palette
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
- Masking tape
- 1 bottle or cup for rinsing brushes
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Social Studies: Use this lesson as an introduction to the geography and history of Uganda and Ghana, where African cranes are found.
- Music: Learn to sing songs from Africa at Mama Lisa's World.
Science: Learn about the African crowned cranes.
- Find out the parts of Africa where the African crowned cranes live.
- Learn facts about the crowned crane at these sites:
- Watch a slideshow about the cranes.
- Watch a video of the cranes as they dance. Then learn about the language of the birds' dance.
- Learn about cranes throughout the world
- Literature: Watch a video about Anansi the Spider (look for the crowned crane in the video!):
- Dance: Watch students dancing the Luganda Traditional Dance from Uganda. Try doing parts of the dance!
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Introduction through guided drawing: 20 min. (1 crane) to 30 min. (3 cranes)
- Finishing the drawing: 45 (1 crane) to 55 min. (2)
- Total time: 65 to 85 minutes