Museums & Galleries Qld

Roana O’Neill, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery blogs Day 6 of mentorship at Art Gallery of New South Wales

Posted on: 23 April 2012

The Art Gallery New South Wales Kids Art Club continued with more programs on Sunday for member’s children.This time children explored Ink and Scientific Drawings in a 1.5 hour program. 

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Brenda, the activity tutor kindly let Nicole and I observe the activity. Brenda discussed with the children how scientific drawings were completed by using specimens such as insect. Brenda showed the children drawings from Australian artist John Wolsley and discussed how he did his research in the natural environment and then often used his own interpretation to complete the work.

Children chose from a range of insects they could draw, including grasshoppers, ladybirds, praying mantis’s and so forth. Using A3 watercolour paper children then lightly sketched the insect’s body on the paper, looking for the main shapes to start the process off. Once children were satisfied with the body shape they then went over the drawing pressing more firmly with the pencil and adding lines on the wings, legs, antennae and so forth.

To make the work look like a real scientific drawing children were encouraged to draw parts of the insect’s body in other locations on the paper. Brenda then demonstrated how the paper could be made to look older using pastels lightly rubbed on the paper, smudged and spread with scrunched up paper towel, with white bits of paper showing through.

After this children then used a bamboo pen dipped in ink to go over the lines of the insects body. Children experimented with using the bamboo pen on some scrap paper to see how by changing the grip it changed the flow of ink to fine or thicker lines. Once their insects were dry, and to continue the feel of an old scientific drawing, children then dipped brushes into water and painted over the black lines and body shapes. Brenda then showed the group how they could dip their brush in ink and create a splatter effect on the paper.

The end results were great and truly did look like scientific illustrations. The children were thoroughly absorbed in the activity and it was a great activity that combined the use of a variety of media, allowed for experimentation and also choice in the subject matter.

M&GSQ’s 2012 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program is funded by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a joint Queensland Government and Local Government partnership to support local arts and culture.

Go to the M&GSQ website, for an announcement about the recipients of the 2012 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.

Captions for Images


Art Club Tutor Brenda demonstrates how to apply a wash over the insect drawings


Creating a scientific drawing using ink, water and pastels

Praying Mantis

A Gallery Kids Member uses pastels to create an old world feel to the illustration


Using a toothbrush to splatter ink to give the final touches to the drawing

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