Dali Inspired Elephants

In this lesson students will work individually using pastel and marker focusing on an elongation of limbs, long shadows, and vibrant color to create Dali inspired pieces.



From Wikipedia– Salvador Dalí, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in FigueresSpain.

the_persistence_of_memory_-_1931_salvador_daliDalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters.[1][2] His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.

Today’s project is inspired by Dali’s Les Elephantes (The Elephants)

Salvador Dali Elephants

Salvador Dali Elephants were specially selected animals which Dali used to contrast the difference between weight and structure, with the elephants carrying huge weight on their backs on top of brittle legs which were vastly elongated in order to substantially distort reality and stengthen the symbolism in his painting.


Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The art deals with the contractions between dream and reality and certainly surrealist art has very much of a dreamlike quality to it.   Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision and created strange creatures from everyday objects.   Surrealism works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as a philosophical expression or political commentary–  even a revolutionary movement.


  • 12×18 sheets of white all purpose paper.
  • pastels to share
  • washable markers, 1 set for every 2 kids
  • cups of water
  • small paint brushes


  1. Students should put their names on the back of their papers.
  2. This lesson is modified slightly from SMART CLASS:

    Salvador Dali Elephants and Surrealistic Creatures

  3. Click on the link above and scroll down to read the instructions.  They will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to draw the elephant.
  4. The one modification you’ll need to make is with the trunks the elephants are carrying.  We will not be using fabric for this.  Students should use markers to create a design on the trunks.


Mounting/Labeling:  You’ll want to mount each art piece on black butcher paper, centering it width-wise, but leaving at least two inches at the bottom for the student’s name/label.  Ask your teacher for labels with each student’s name (they usually have them for displaying work in the class).  If they don’t have labels, use a fine tip white marker to write the names on the butcher paper.   Bring the completed work to the TAP Room.


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