Drawing creatures

Some of the books in our Museum library feature pictures of strange looking creatures, like sea lions with bushy manes and giant sea serpents. Why is that?

In the past, in a time before cameras and the internet, the artists who illustrated these books had to draw using descriptions from other people – like early scientists and explorers – about what the animals looked like and how they moved. Could you imagine drawing an elephant if you’d never seen one before?

Join Gemma, our Museum Librarian, as she describes a make-believe animal for you to draw. The make-believe animal has...

  1. A very long, winding tail
  2. An oval shaped body
  3. Walks flat on the ground
  4. Two short arms at the front, like a T-Rex!
  5. Seven heads
  6. Each head has a long neck and sharp teeth
  7. Scaly skin, like a snake

Pause the video and take a moment to draw the creature as you imagine it. Don't forget any of its features! Then, when you’re finished, press play and Gemma will reveal the mythical animal she’s described from one of the books in our collection.

In the video Gemma refers to a number of illustrations from our rare books which are freely available on the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

As always, we love seeing your creations, so don’t forget to share them with us by using #MelbourneMuseum #MuseumAtHome.

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