Inspiring children one color at a time

Chalk Rainforest Animals Art Video

By on May 7, 2011 in Chalk Pastels, Reptiles, Video Art Tips & Lessons | 12 comments

My fifth and sixth grade students have been working with chalk pastel recently. We’ve done tropical birds and just finished these stunning rainforest animals.

Watch the video to see the kids at work:



To begin, use a black oil pastel to draw a rainforest animal. I provided a few simple drawing demonstrations to get the kids started. Draw lightly at first, then trace over all the “good” lines with a darker line.

Using chalk pastels, color in everything. I like to start with the animal because it’s the most exciting, but it really doesn’t matter. Use one finger to smudge the colors all the way to the black oil pastels.

After everything is colored in with chalk, grab the black oil pastel again and trace all lines. This is the step that makes the biggest impact.

Look at this lime green frog? Isn’t she pretty?

This is my baby girl’s sloth. Okay, she’s not a baby, but still. Isn’t this the most darling sloth ever?

A leopard…or a cheetah. Hmmm. I can’t remember. Probably a leopard given that we’re talking rainforest.

Love this adorable orangutan. Did I spell that right?

Here’s a kid who loves color almost as much as me.

And finally, a super, sizzling snake!



  1. They look fantastic! Love the variety and color! Thanks for posting.


    May 8, 2011

  2. Beautiful! I taught a similar lesson plans to 4th graders. They had to copy color photos of animals from old calendars in chalk pastel. Some turned out beautiful! Other kids really struggled. Did you do a directed draw or use reference photos?

    Rina V.

    May 10, 2011

    • I didn’t do a directed line drawing. I posted a variety of animal pictures on the white board and then each student picked their favorite. This is hard to do. Not every child will be successful unless you can provide some basic instruction. I used some of my how-to-draw handouts from my PDF art booklets to help guide the kids when I couldn’t get to them.


      May 10, 2011

  3. I try really hard to have kids start with basic shapes first and then build up the details and erase any extra lines. This takes lots of patience and practice. With younger students, I tend to only pick one animal that we all draw. They end up looking different anyway. The older students usually get more choices since they have had more drawing experience. I still usually pick only one animal to demonstrate so they get the idea.


    May 13, 2011

  4. What kind of chalk pastels did you use for htis? They are gorgeous.

    erin Kreis

    September 29, 2011

    • click on the blue type “Rainforest Animals”. It’s the last sentence in the post.

      Patty Palmer

      December 8, 2012

  5. Thanks for posting these, and also for posting the video! I showed the video on YouTube to my class of 9-10 year olds and it really inspired them to see what children their own age had made.

    We’ve started our own pictures using this technique, although we only have regular coloured chalk as opposed to chalk pastels. The pictures are looking nice but I wondered if we would have better (or perhaps less dusty) results with actual chalk pastels? Would be great to know what you think!


    May 23, 2013

    • Do you mean colored chalk for chalk boards? Chalk pastels are pretty affordable so I would purchase a few sets meant for art. You’ll love them!

      Patty Palmer

      May 23, 2013

      • I’m pretty sure it is just chalk for chalk boards in different colours. Hopefully I could get the school to invest in the pastel variety, or maybe I will myself! The colours in your pictures are definitely much more intense than ours, which tended to fade when the children did any blending (probably because they’re meant to rub easily off blackboards….). Thanks again for the idea though – the kids were still very pleased with their results!


        May 24, 2013

  6. You are so brave with all of your chalk use. Your blog has inspired me to allow more. There is such a freedom in chalk, it forces fifth graders to not be over controlled, which sometimes sadly happens at that age. Do you use a lot of wipes, or do you have any guidelines for using chalk and clean up with your students? I always feel like there are a few students who end up covered!

    Paula morgan

    November 17, 2013

    • I suppose I do chalk so often with all grades that by the time the kids get to 5th grade they certainly can work through a project without too much mess. I don’t use wipes often but sometimes I do. I find the wipes create more mess than the kids sometimes! The kids work on newspapers which get thrown away or are used to store artwork, so the tables are pretty clean. I like to keep some damp towels by the sink for those kids who need a quick clean-up mid-lesson. Here are some of my tips for keeping the projects safe:

      Patty Palmer

      November 17, 2013


  1. s - [...] Relying on all the fun we had last year with the chalk pastels and knowing how forgiving they can …

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