DRAWING CANADIAN CREATURES – Inspired by the Codex Canadensis

Students use the drawings in the Codex Canadensis by the Jesuit missionary Louis Nicolas as inspiration for the creation of a drawing of a Canadian animal.

Share this:
DRAWING CANADIAN CREATURES – Inspired by the Codex Canadensis


  • Crayola Fine Line Markers
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Sketchbooks - 1 per student
  • Pencils


Step 1
  1. View an image from the Codex Canadensis by Louis Nicolas.
  2. Describe what you see.
    - written words
    - repeated lines
    - lots of patterns
    - scratchy looking
    - realistic but also imaginary (whiskers on owl)
    - drawn with ink
    - different kinds of lines - thin, thick, zigzag
    - lines close together to show dark spaces and far apart to show light areas
    - several animals on one page

Image by Louis Nicolas (1634 - ca. 1682)

Step 2
  1. Choose the Canadian animal you want to draw.
  2. Find a photo of the animal to use as your source.
  3. Draw your animal in your sketchbook using a similar style to that in the Codex.
Step 3
  1. Use your sketchbook drawing and the photo to draw your good copy.
  2. Make sure the image fills the page.
  3. Start with pencil to make a light outline of the main shapes.
  4. Add the lines and patterns with brown fine line marker.
Step 4
  1. Add written information about your animal the way Louis Nicolas did.
  2. View your work with fresh eyes.
  3. Ask yourself:
    - Does it have lots of different kinds of lines?
    - Are the lines repeated to make a pattern?
    - Does it look realistic and a little imaginary?
    - Does it look similar to the style of Louis Nicolas in the Codex Canadensis?
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Social Studies,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8

Related Lesson Plans

Illustrated Crayon Character