Saturday Art Challenge!


Beetle Mania!

Hello! Hope you have all had a good week and are ready for a nice relaxing Connect to Nature Art Challenge!

A bit of synchronicity occurred this week – one of my children’s homework from school was to complete line drawings of beetles. I absolutely adore beetles, all the shapes and colours that you find are brilliant for drawing and having fun with. I especially like making my own version of Beetle Drive (a quirky and brilliant British game) and drawing made up beetles as I go along.

For some absolutely inspirational beetles check out Golly Bard another of my favourite artists!

So here is my art work that I did this week – and I will take you through the process so that you can make one of your own:


  • Sketch pad (I used brown paper which is lovely to draw on – however anything will do!
  • Pencil crayons, and even better – if you have them – water soluble pencil crayons.
  • Water colour tube paint – white.

Task: To draw a beetle from a photograph to learn in detail about a beetle!

  1. Choose an awesome picture of a beetle – I found a picture of a stag beetle online to work from.

2. I like to start drawing from one focal point of the beetle and work outwards rather than doing an outline. I used an undertone colour (dark brown) to basically start drawing all the shadows that I could see. From there I start sketching in outlines of details around the shape that begins to appear. As the beetle is symmetrical I tried to work from one side to the other to match up the proportions.

Top tip: Use reference points on the beetle to measure distance. Notice what different parts align to on the shape.

3. Once my drawing had got going I used a grey to add in the lighter shades and a yellow to highlight areas of body joins. I noticed that the horns were brownish red so used a nice earthy red to achieve the colour.

4. Once I had created my basic shape and undertone shadows in dark brown, I went over them with dark blue (blue and brown mix black and make a much more natural / interesting colour than flat black). As this began to give off a blueish hue – I went back over them again with dark brown to achieve the lovely reddish black colour that I was looking for.

5. I used water soluble pencil crayons, they basically mix like paint with a damp paintbrush. When I was happy with my drawing I highlighted areas with a damp paint brush to further blend the colours and create a smoother finish – mimicking the hard shiny shell of a beetle.

6. The final stage was to use a tube of white water colour paint to apply highlights to really make my beetle look shiny! I waited for my sketch to dry before getting a pointy thin brush. I dipped the brush in water and then very lightly in the top of the tube of paint and applied highlights of white that had been caught by the light in the photograph that I was drawing from.

My next task is to research further about the stag beetle – label the parts and go on a stag beetle adventure to actually see one in the wild!!

I hope you enjoyed this little task – please do email me with any sketches that you produce, I would love to see them. Also feel free to use your imagination and draw freely if you don’t feel in an observational mood. The main thing is to have fun!

See you next week for more creative writing! As it is bank holiday weekend and lots of people enjoy visiting natural beauty spots (under usual circumstances!) I have chosen a water based theme for all of next week’s tasks. This will start with poems inspired by wild swimming and follow with a creative writing class on pools, lakes and rivers.

Look forward to seeing you then.

Best wishes,


A beautiful beetle designed by my son 🙂

Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge ( and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York ( for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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