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Creature Creation, Alex Rowe
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Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist


Create either a predator or prey for an environment.

Core Ideas

Narrative, character design, scientific illustration


Any color can be used!  Suggestions: watercolor, colored pencil, pastels, etc.


Listed below are watercolor supplies and ink wash supplies.

For instruction on how to use ink wash, (which is similar to watercolor) watch this course

Art Supplies: Tall Plastic Container

A yogurt container works well!


Assign the  ecosystem and the predator/prey to a group of 3-4 students

Each group writes a list of the temperature, weather patterns, plants, for each ecosystem.

Creature Creation, Alex Rowe
Creature Creation, Alex Rowe

Students acquire reference photos for features, like scales or fur.

Sketch and brainstorm, researching and using reference photos for animal features such as scales, claws, etc., designs for each predator/prey with a pencil in a sketchbook.

Sketch creature in pencil.

Creature Creation, Alex Rowe
Creature Creation, Alex Rowe

Block in colors, finalize piece.

Creature Creation, Alex Rowe
Tina Guo

Tina Guo
2018 Intern

One of my favourite things to do in my free time is just thinking about random things that could possibly exist in this world that would explain all those unexplainable problems in life. This project is so much fun for me, not only because I get to actually realize one of my little mind children, but also because after I went through the journey of justifying its features.

I analyzed how the creature would interact with its environment and laid them out like a biologist or ecologist would do on a field journal. I almost feel like it’s lurking beneath me right now! Everyday, I have to confront the frustrating and somewhat creepy phenomenon that whatever I drop on the ground, 95% of the time it would just disappear. This has been so persistent that I am ready to believe anything.

Thus, this project is a perfect vent for me to let out my frustration (in other words, to find a scapegoat); on top of that, I just love the role artists get to play in bridging imagination and reality! In a way, artists are like scientists, laying out the world for the viewers in a different, researched and thoughtful way.”

Vivian Kong

Vivian Kong
2018 Intern

“This was one of the most liberating projects I have been able to do in a while. Animal forms are one of the most interesting and important areas of drawing studies that are often difficult to explore. Having the freedom to mix and match animal forms all the while learning about their function and physical detail truly gets to the core of drawing anatomy.

For this project, I decided to choose a predator living in the mountains where the terrain is cold, rocky, and frequently snowy. This is because I wanted to use some traits of my kitten from observation. I used my knowledge about my Siberian kitten and what traits Siberians have that help them survive harsh Russian winters in the wild.

By being prompted by this project, I truly took time to observe the way his fur interacts with light and how the patterns appear on millions of tiny hairs. The patterns on his fur and the way his ears are designed is usually merely glanced at, but today I took a longer look at his lynx patterning and furry ears. From there, I researched animals that live in rocky or cold environments and what traits they typically have. Bears and mountain goats seemed to survive particularly well in the environment chosen, so their traits were incorporated into this weird bear goat cat etc. hybrid.

Overall, it just felt fun and liberating to be able to sharpen drawing and observational skills while being able to exercise creativity.”


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