Are you curious about the natural world? Love animals? Want to explore the intersection between science and art with pencil and paper in hand?
My name is Megan McGrath. I’m an animal scientist, writer, and professional artist, and I’d love to teach you to do what I do. Join me to learn the fundamentals of drawing creatures from all branches of the animal kingdom. We’ll use life drawing skills to deepen our understanding of the natural history behind the way animals look, behave, and move through the world. Whether you’re a seasoned animal artist or just starting out, you’ll love this experience that’s part science class and part art class and the most fun parts of both!
What You Might Need
You will need any pencil, paper, sharpener, and eraser to participate in the drawing portion of this experience. A standard yellow #2 pencil and a sheet of printer paper, a regular pencil sharpener and the eraser on the back of the pencil all work great. If you’re considering drawing on a regular basis, artists’ pencils of varying hardnesses, a pad of drawing paper, a “long point” sharpener, a kneaded eraser and a gum eraser are all great investments, but not necessary.
Don’t miss these upcoming drawing sessions:
JUNE 17 - EVERYBODY SCREAM: DRAWING BROOD X CICADAS
Summer’s here after a tough year—it’s time to go outside and make some noise! If you live on the East Coast of the U.S., you could be lucky enough to see the 17-year Brood X cicadas this month. They might even be screaming outside your window right now! But why are they SO loud? Why do they only emerge every 17 years? And why are there so many of them? Learn all about periodical cicadas, insect art, and the beauty of metamorphosis as we draw one of the great wonders of the natural world. Consider bringing black drawing pens to this class—cicadas look great drawn in ink!
JULY 8 - LEAP & CRAWL: DRAWING ANIMAL MOVEMENT
Want to learn to draw animals as they run, scuttle, pounce, creep, and jump? In this fast-paced class we’ll study animal movement and learn to capture dynamic poses that will make our drawings spring to life. This experience will focus on animals that use their legs (whether two, four, six, or more!) to leap, gallop, or crawl—stay tuned for future classes on other forms of locomotion such as flight.
JULY 29 - RETURN TO THE SEA: DRAWING THE EVOLUTION OF WHALES
All life on Earth came from the primordial sea. Whales and dolphins are the only mammals that have ever gone totally back to the waves—and they had to change almost everything about their bodies to make it happen. Take a dip into paleo-art as we draw members of this diverse and fascinating family of animals, using drawing to investigate one of the most fascinating evolution stories of all time. Consider bringing blending tools like blending stumps, tortillons, or tissue paper, which will help us to draw whales’ and dolphins’ smooth shiny skin.
AUGUST 19 - FEATHERS & FUR: DRAWING ANIMAL TEXTURE, VALUE, AND SHADING
Whether soft or hard, camouflaged or patterned, every living thing is covered in exquisite details that make it look like what it is. In this introduction to value and shading, we’ll learn to reproduce the interplay of light and dark on feathers, fur, scales, and skin to give our drawings pop, polish, and realism. If you’re getting good at making line drawings of animals but want to bring your art to the next level by bringing them to life—this is the class for you!
Add to What Else You Should Know:
For an optimized experience, view on a desktop. Desktop viewers will be able to see reference images and the drawing demonstration simultaneously, and a bigger screen helps with the drawing process. Mobile viewers will still be able to toggle back and forth between reference images and the drawing demonstration as they wish.
Hi! I’m Megan McGrath. I’m a naturalist artist, writer, audio producer, and educator currently living in Washington, DC. In my work as a marine mammal researcher I published a thesis on the social behavior of bottlenose dolphins, but I’ve since gone rogue to become a full-time animal artist. I use my experience as a researcher and writer to inform my art, having given lectures on wildlife and conservation from Baltimore to Belize to Brazil, produced international science radio as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow, trained as a naturalist educator, and edited a book on the origin of life. During my research I also spent time studying parrot linguistics, observing elephant behavior in Tanzania, and recording the songs of breeding humpback whales and the calls of endangered monkeys. These days I use my lifelong experiences with animals to make art that I hope will help people connect to the natural world.
Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account. Atlas Obscura online experiences are recommended for attendees age 13+.
This online experience will be recorded. A temporary link to the recording will be provided in a follow-up email to all ticket holders within 72 hours after the event. Access to this recording will be available for seven days.
This event is one of Atlas Obscura’s Online Experiences. At Atlas Obscura, our mission has always been to inspire wonder and curiosity about the incredible world we all share. Now, more than ever, there’s a need to stay connected—not only to our sense of wonder, but to each other.
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Thu, Jul 29, 20217:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.$15
Thu, Aug 19, 20217:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.$15