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Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes was a major exhibition from the British Museum and inspired this Fun at home activity.

Did you know ...

The Ancient Greeks lived long ago and were surrounded by gods, goddesses and mythical creatures, including monsters.

There were thousands of stories and myths about these creatures! They came in every shape and size.

They could be giants, half-human and half-animal. Some were friendly and helpful, others were terrifying. Some others were wise and kind. Some lived in the sea, others in caves and on mountains.

There are many mythical creatures for you to discover.

Can you create your own mythical beast?

How to make your own Ancient Greek mythical beast

Skill level: ★ Easy
Time:
40–60 minutes
Ages: 4 years and up

What you need:

  • A4 or A3 paper or thin card
  • scrap paper to draw ideas down
  • pencils, pens or textas
  • eraser
  • scissors to cut out your beast.
Make your own mythical beast 3:40

Watch artist Naomi Zouwer show you how to make a mythical beast

Step 1

To help inspire your ideas we have given you two options:

Option 1 – Choose a mythical beast

There are many to choose from. Listed below are a few of our favourites:

  • Triton – god of the sea and son of Poseidon. He was half-human and half-fish. Merman! Sometimes he would carry a conch shell that he would blow like a trumpet.
  • Centaur – half-human/half-horse, with head and arms of a human, and body of a horse. There were a lot of them.
  • Hydria – water monster with nine heads and poisonous blood that Herakles was sent to kill.
  • Ketus – a terrifying huge deep-sea whale-like monster.
  • Medusa – a winged Gorgon (female monster) with live snakes for hair and a death stare that could turn you into stone.
  • Hippocampus – sea monsters who helped people. Sailors thought they were good omens. They have the head and front legs of a horse, and the tail of a fish.
  • Pegasus – pure white winged flying horse.
  • Minotaur – head of a bull and body of a human. Lived underground in a maze called the Labyrinth.

Once you decide on a mythical beast, search for information about them, or use your imagination to recreate what you think they could look like. Many of the Ancient Greek beasts were a combination of two or more creatures.

Option 2 – Make up your own mythical beast

Have fun with this, as your beast can be anything you want. Imagine the possibilities.

  • Thinking of two or three different animals you see today, combine them to make a new creature … OR create a half-human, half-animal beast.
  • Some possible combinations to draw:
    • half dog and human
    • half cat and whale
    • an Australian beast: half kangaroo and echidna.
  • Other features to consider:
    • What will your beast look like?
    • What will its strengths and powers be?
    • Is it friendly?
    • How big is it?
    • Has it got scales, fur or wings?

Step 2

Gather your materials.

Images of various animals cut from paper, alongside a pair of scissors.

Step 3

Sketch out your ideas lightly on paper with lead pencil. Don’t worry what this looks like yet. Light sketching is a way you can start working on the size and proportions.

  • Head – is it big or small? What shape is it? Draw a circle.
  • Body – think about the body. How would you describe it?
  • End – tails, wings and legs? Roughly draw where these will be.
Images of various animals cut from paper, alongside animal figurines, a pair of scissors, paper, pencils, pens and an eraser.

Step 4

Now you have a rough sketch of your beast, go over it with a darker pencil line. You can rub out the lines you don’t want.

Collage of a mythical beast featuring various animal parts, alongside a sketch of the collage.

Step 5

Add the details.

What does your beast look like up close? Does it have:

  • eyelashes
  • teeth
  • scales
  • feathers?
Collage of a mythical beast featuring various animal parts, alongside a hand sketching the collage.

Step 6

Finish your drawing by adding colour and highlights.

  • Use pencils or pens and fill it in as much or as little as you like.
  • You can use a dark pen or texta to draw the outline. Colour the inside iwith pencils.
  • Lastly, rub out any fine pencil lines you don’t want to see (it’s ok to keep these too).

Congratulations you’re done!

The Ancient Greeks were renowned for their celebration of the arts and theatre. Maybe you could create more beasts and put on a play.

A hand sketching a mythical beast with three eyes, tentacles for arms, and clawed feet.

Share your creation

We’d love to see your creation. Email a photo to: programs@nma.gov.au

Find more fun at home family activities and videos on YouTube

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