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Lesson: Neon Animals

June 23, 2015 | By Rachel Zink

June is Animals + Paper Month at Arts For Life, and students across the state are creating fabulous specimens of every genus and species! Animals get the black-light treatment in this lesson, created by our Winston-Salem program director, Betsey McLawhorn. The end result is so bright you’ll have to wear shades!


  • Inspire creative thinking through drawing and the introduction of bold and bright color use in an unconventional way.
  • Apply abstract concepts to drawing while promoting self-expression.


  • White cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Black Sharpie
  • Neon oil pastels
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Solid bright cardstock
  • Paper towels
  • Blending sticks, optional


  • Choose an animal to draw.
  • Study the face of the animal.
  • Sketch the head of the animal as large as possible on the white cardstock with a pencil.
  • Trace over the pencil lines with a black Sharpie marker.
  • Use oil pastels to color in the animal head. Color in sections – creating a rainbow of colors across the animal’s head.
  • Blend the oil pastels with blending sticks or your fingers and a paper towel.
  • Cut out the animal head and glue to a solid sheet of bright cardstock.

Tweak It!

  • Use neon paint.
  • Check out the fun “grunge tigers” at this link, which inspired the lesson. For students with more time, add details like the students in the link did: glasses, bowties, hats, etc.

Photo: Neon Cheetah by Yareni, age 10

© 2015 Arts For Life