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How to Draw Animals: A Mixed Media Course for Kids! Review by Emma Filbrun

Fragile Glory Impressions

Because my 9-year-old son loves art and is always begging for a drawing course, I was delighted when we were able to review How to Draw Animals: A Mixed Media Course for Kids from Fragile Glory Impressions. This online course teaches children how to draw and paint animals. The twelve lessons progress in difficulty, each slightly more advanced than the one before. All instructions are included in the videos, except one that is incomplete. Of course, you must supply the art materials.

Each lesson focuses on drawing a different animal. The course starts with a panda and works through a toucan, a jellyfish, an orca, a horse, and others. The last lesson focuses on a crab. There are several parts to each lesson. The first part is the research part, where Mary, the teacher, shares an interesting fact about the animal in that lesson and encourages the child to learn more about the animal himself. After that, the art lesson begins. She always has the student draw a simple grid on the page and then shows them how to draw the outline of the animal, usually with a regular pencil. After that, the lessons vary; she often has them draw or color part of the picture with an oil pastel and then go over that with watercolors or acrylic paint. Some lessons use both! She also sometimes uses colored pencils or a Sharpie. The art lesson is broken into parts; quite often, a break is required to let the paper dry before the next step, so she tells the student when to stop the video for the day. She also tells them to pause the video to catch up to where she is.

The dashboard lists all the videos, including the three introductory ones, the twelve lessons, and a final short closing video. It is quite easy to go back and forth by simply clicking on the title of a lesson. At the end of the title is the video's time; the lessons vary from 31 to 52 minutes. Clicking on the title opens that lesson. Below the video is a list of the specific supplies needed for that picture, an outline of the lesson telling how many parts are in it and what is covered in each part, and then several pictures done by previous students. Seeing these pictures is inspiring to my children!

I found the supplies easy to produce. A lot are everyday household items—pencils, rubber eraser, ruler, sharpener, paper or plastic plate, water container, paper towels, and plastic wrap. The more specialized items needed are a kneaded eraser, watercolor set, oil pastel set, acrylic paint set, colored pencil set, and 11 x 14-inch Mixed Media Paper Pad. I was able to find all these in our small town at the variety store, so I am guessing they will be easy to locate anywhere or order on Amazon if you are in the USA.

My 9-year-old son has completed these lessons with no help from me. My 6-year-old daughter did several the lessons, too, and found them a bit challenging but still doable. Both produced completely recognizable paintings that I am happy to display on the wall. The instructions are clear and straightforward, and the teacher gives plenty of time to complete each step, especially since she has built-in pause screens. Her voice is pleasant to listen to. One problem I ran into is that the videos will not play very well on my old Acer laptop; they worked fine on the newer Toshiba laptop and our new iPad. Other than that minor glitch, I am delighted with this course. I believe it is well worth the $40 this course costs.

-Product review by Emma Filbrun, The Old Schoolhouse® January 2022