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Terrific Toucans: Drawing and Painting Toucans for Fourth Grade

How to Draw A Toucan Art Project

Aren’t these fantastic? I absolutely love how each toucan has it’s own personality. This is the yardstick I use to measure how successful a project is. If the artwork is unique to the artist, then I’m happy.

Black oil pastel
Tempera paint
Sulphite paper


To begin, I show my students a few images of toucans and talk about the beak. I demonstrate a few drawing techniques and then, using a black oil pastel, the kids draw their own toucan. I suggest they begin with the eye and then draw the beak. If the beak is large enough, then it almost doesn’t matter what the body looks like; everyone will know it’s a toucan!

I really think not using pencils in this project is beneficial. Using an oil pastel loosens the kids up, encourages them to draw large and if they make a mistake, I tell them that the tempera paints will cover it.

After the drawing is done, the picture should look like a coloring book page; black and white and ready to color.
We use tempera paints and once the painting is dry, the kids go over all the oil pastel lines with a small brush dipped in black paint.

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  1. love them!
    one question ~ what kind
    of paper are you using for this


    May 3, 2009

  2. I only use two kinds of paper for all of my art projects…a cheap watercolor paper and drawing paper from Tru-Ray (see right side bar for more info).
    It’s a great all-purpose construction paper. It has a smooth finish, is great for drawing or painting and is very inexpensive. All the major art catalogs sell packs of 50 in over a hundred colors. Although I mostly use black and white.
    I use the 12″ x 24″ size. Most schools carry this brand.

    Patty P

    May 3, 2009

  3. These are gorgeous! jan

    Snippety Gibbet

    May 3, 2009

  4. I love these!! I’ve never used oil pastel and tempera together… I’ll have to try it! I was wondering why you have them draw with oil pastel and then paint over their lines…. is it just so they will work large and loose? Does the oil pastel resist the tempera at all or does it stick pretty well?


    May 4, 2009

  5. I LOVE these! So vibrant!


    May 4, 2009

  6. Regarding the oil pastel…I use it to encourage the children to draw big shapes. handing over a pencil and eraser would yield smaller drawings and therefore, more time consuming to paint.
    The paint covers the oil pastel so if the kids make a mistake, no biggie. So there you go, using the oil pastel has nothing to do with the resist! It’s just a trick!

    Patty P

    May 4, 2009

  7. aww that’s so cute. 🙂


    May 9, 2009

  8. My children are loving your art projects thank you so much, I have posted our Toucan and dog on my blog and there will be more to come.
    Thanks for a great blog!
    New Zealand

    J's mum

    June 22, 2009

  9. I do a tropical bird lesson with my 2nd graders every year but was looking for a new approach – these are adorable!! I started them with the kids yesterday and they look great! Thanks so much for the ideas 🙂


    September 19, 2009

  10. would a black crayon work in place of the oil pastel?


    October 11, 2010

    • Yup, especially with the drawing steps. An oil pastel will give you a darker line when tracing back over the paint. You could use black tempera paint and a small brush to give you an equally (although slightly messier) effect.


      October 11, 2010

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