Sunday, January 15, 2017

Penguin March

This week the Calgary Zoo announced they would start up their very popular Penguin walk, where the King penguins get to go out for a walk around the zoo. That was the inspiration for this project.

I did 2 versions. A large 12"x18" (bulletin board size) and then a smaller 9"x12". (art journal size)


- background paper, use good heavy painting paper or wc paper
- blue disk tempera
- grey (black and white) liquid or disk tempera
- white paper
- black paper
- scrap of orange paper
- glue
- oil pastels, you need orange, yellow, black and white
- Kleenex
- some textures for printmaking, I used some bubble wrap and bumpy foam
- glue
- glitter glue, optional
- text, optional


Place your paper on your art board.  I like to tape my sides to hold it down and to get that nice white border.

With a pencil draw a path.

Paint with blue tempera along the sides of the path.  Get nice bright colour so make sure the students swirl that paintbrush on the disk well.

I wanted a snow effect so while the paint was still wet I used a Kleenex to lift some of that paint.  Similar to what we do when lifting clouds.

For the small one I concentrated where my lifting was like a snowbank.

For the large one I kinda did it all over.  It's up to you but I wanted you to see both results.

I then painted the path.  You can use disk tempera or liquid.  I used acrylic as that was what I had on hand in the studio.

To get grey you mix mostly white and a touch of black.

To add some texture to the path I mixed a darker grey, (just added some more black) and painted some bubble wrap and bumpy foam.

I then turned them over onto path and pressed to get that texture.

For the small version I didn't even paint the path just added the dark grey texture onto the white path.

While your background is drying let's make the penguins.

You start with the bellies. They are a rounded triangular shape. You want one large one and 2 smaller ones for perspective.

For the large version you can get 3 out of a 8.5x11 piece of paper.  For the smaller just cut the paper in half and set it up the same way.

Once the bellies are cut out use them to draw out your head and wings.

I call them wishbones you'll see what I mean in a moment.

I traced them in white so you could see them.  Use a white pencil crayon if the kids have a hard time seeing their pencil lines on the black paper.

See what I mean they look like wishbones.

For the large one you are going to need 1 and 1/4 pieces of black paper.  For the small just 1 sheet.

Glue the bellies onto the wishbones.

These are King penguins so we are going to add some colour with the oil pastels.

Put some orange right at the top of the white and then some yellow underneath.  Use a Kleenex and smudge it a bit.  Kleenex smudges better that your finger with oil pastels.
You can also add a touch or orange to the side of the head.

You can put some white pastel under the wings.

And I would add just a touch of black to sides and bottom to show the roundness of the penguin body.

Do it now as it is easier than waiting like I did.

Glue your penguins onto your path.

Add eyes (white circles and hole punched black circles out of scraps) or you could use googly eyes.

Cut out beaks from orange paper and feet.

I added some snowflakes.  I have this great Martha Stewart snowflake punch that I use constantly during the winter. Kids love punching snowflakes.

You can add a touch of glitter glue to snow for that sparkle.

Finally I added some text to finish the project.

That's it.



  1. Great job Gail, and really good to see the process :D)

  2. That is so very cool, thank you for sharing!

  3. I really enjoy your blog, Gail! This seems to happen rather frequently: when I'm researching ideas for new projects it's hard to find links with actual step-by-step directions and tips from the instructor or facilitator on what worked well and what didn't. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into posts.