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3-6 Animal Heads


Products Used

  • Low Fire Red Clay
  • UG-KT1 Underglaze Assortment Kit, S-2101 Crystal Clear Brushing
Decorating Accessories
  • BT-910 Synthetic Sponge, CB-200 #0 Detail Liner, CB-404 #4 Pointed Round, CB-604 #4 Soft Fan, PSTS9MC Carving Sculpting Set

Miscellaneous Accessories

  • Fork or Tooth-edged Rib, Slip, Canvas


May2015 AnimalHeads LP

Techniques: Hand-building, Glaze Application
Course Length: 1 week (allow for dry time and firing)
Level: Intermediate, Elementary - grade 6
Download Plan: 3rd - 6th Grades: Animal Heads


Art (Ceramics) + Language Arts (Character Studies) + Eric Carle (Illustrations)

Without imagery, readers need to visualize what characters look like, where it takes place, and how they embody their own personalities, to appreciate a story. The same know-how is needed by an artist in order to build a picture or sculpture! In this lesson, students will be studying the illustrations of writer and artist, Eric Carle. They will be creating 3-dimensional animal heads inspired by the ones he depicts in his books. Not only will they be working on various sculpting techniques and glazing patterns, but they will be gaining more of an understanding of how an artist brings an idea to life.


  • Students will study the distinct and undoubtedly recognizable illustrations of Eric Carle.
  • Students will create a 3-dimensional ceramic animal heads, influenced by Carle’s work.
  • Students will focus on the precise sculpted facial features of their chosen animal, as well as the use of specific colored under glazes.

National Standards (9-12)

  • VA:Cr1.1.5a Combine ideas to generate an innovative idea for art-making.
  • VA:Cr1.2.5a Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art.
  • VA:Cr2.1.5a Experiment and develop skills in multiple art-making techniques and approaches through practice.
  • VA:Cr1.1.6a Combine concepts collaboratively to generate innovative ideas for creating art.
  • VA:Pr4.1.6a Analyze similarities and differences associated with preserving and presenting two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and digital artwork.


Part 1. Hand-building Instructions:
  1. Create a pinch pot using a handful of clay. You will be aiming for the shape of whichever animal you are creating. The rabbit you will use a cone shape and for the chipmunk it would be a bowl in the shape of the palm of your hand. For the bear focus on creating more of a salad bowl shape.
  2. Once the bowl forms stiffen up a bit, use your finger to shape from the inside to create the cheeks and bridges of the noses.
  3. From the outside use your finger to create eye sockets.
  4. Use small balls of clay for the eyes.
  5. If you choose to do eyelids, this is achieved by adding small coils.
  6. Add coils of clay using the slip and score method for a brow line if wanted.
  7. Use the PSTS9MC Carving Sculpting Set while creating the eyes to shape them and attach to them form.
  8. To make the nose attach a small triangle to the end of the bridge.
  9. Use the PSTS9MC Carving Sculpting Set to add any details in the face such as the muzzles.
  10. To add ears shape small slabs and attach them to the head using slip and score method.
  11. Make sure all connection points are sealed and smooth.
  12. Allow to completely dry before bisque firing to cone 04.
Part 2. Glaze Application:
  1. Using a damp BT-910 Synthetic Sponge, wipe away any dust that may be on the bisque.
  2. Using the CB-604 #4 Soft Fan Brush, create a base coat of each of the animals. The bear will have UG-204 Orange, the rabbit has UG-68 Apple Green, and the chipmunk has UG-46 Bright Yellow.

Glaze Application - Bear: 

  1. Use UG-208 Dragon Red over the UG-204 Orange. Once that had dried apply the UG-97 Bright blue using the CB-404 Pointed Round on the muzzle, along the ears, and to highlight the brows and center of the head. Apply UG-50 Jet Black for the eyes and nose. Once that has dried use the CB-200 #0 Detail brush and add highlights to the eyes using UG-51 China White.

Glaze Application - Chipmunk:

  1. Use UG-204 Orange over the UG-46 Bright Yellow. Focus the UG-204 Orange on the cheeks, ears, and top of the head using the CB-404 #4 Pointed Round brush. Apply a heavy coat of UG-51 China White to the muzzle. Apply UG-50 Jet Black for the eyes and nose. Once that has dried use the CB-200 #0 Detail brush and add highlights to the eyes using UG-51 China White. You will use UG-50 Jet Black and the same brush to create the mouth lines.

Glaze Application - Rabbit:

  1. Add 2 coats of UG-208 Dragon Red to the inside of the ears. Use the CB-404 #4 Pointed Round brush to add the UG-97 Regal Purple to the top of the head. Layer the UG-97 Bright Blue under the eyes, along the nose, and outside of the ears of the rabbit. You will also use it as a wash over the UG-68 Apple Green for the rest of the head. Apply UG-50 Jet Black for the eyes and nose. Once that has dried, use the CB-200 Detail brush and add highlights to the eyes using UG-51 China White.
  2. Once the heads are completely dry, apply 2 coats of S-2101 Crystal Brushing Glaze using the CB-604 #4 Soft Fan Brush.
  3. Stilt and fire to cone 06.

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