Oceans Biro Drawing Workshop
St Wilfrid's RC College
20 January 2020


Spectacular marine wildlife drawings were created by talented young artists of years 10 & 11. Inspirational art teacher Mrs. Gribben introduced Biro as a drawing medium to her students many years ago after attending one of Jane's workshops and students present at Oceans workshop embraced the opportunity to make drawings using colour Biros. Jane was exceptionally proud of the drawings created. She delivered a presentation about her art practice and a discussion about why wildlife and our oceans are important:

  • "If we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves" David Attenborough
  • Wildlife is not only beautiful we need wildlife for the survival of our habitat, planet Earth
  • The air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all rely on biodiversity
  • A wide variety of species means a healthier planet. Losing species means our ecosystems can become sick and this can impact on our food production, cause water to become polluted as well as create dramatic changes to our climate
  • Human overpopulation and overconsumption are the largest threats to nature and our planet. Habitat destruction to clear land for farming is the biggest contributor to species decline
  • There are now 16,306 endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List
  • We have reached a critical point in the history of our planet and it will take collective responsibility from all of us to save what we have left


Beluga's inside Russia's 'Whale Jail' image credit: Moscow Times

The facts are clear about the health of our oceans

  • Turtles are eating plastic, whales are being washed up with stomachs full of plastic bags, albatross are feeding their chicks plastic, microplastics are being found in the fish we eat and plastic is being found in the Arctic
  • LOOK after your own back yard! Looking after local environments can help biodiversity flourish, no matter where we live. Plant pollinator-friendly plants from seed in gardens, pots and window boxes. STOP using pesticides
  • REDUCE CONSUMPTION, CHOOSE products that are sustainably and ethically sourced & RECYCLE
  • CONTACT your local MP and voice your concerns about the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
  • SIGN PETITIONS – they often work. 100 whales kept in Russia’s ‘Whale Jail’ have just been released following public outcry. SHARE PETITIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
  • TELL others about climate emergency and biodiversity crisis – WORD OF MOUTH is key
  • DONATE or RAISE FUNDS for conservation organisations to help them help wildlife

Art is a very powerful form of expression. If we want to save wildlife, it is vital to make emotional connections with animal species "If we care, we want to conserve." Through art, your portrait of a marine animal could inspire others to get involved in their conservation.


Hiroshima Unicorn 2017 green Biro drawing detail, Jane Lee McCracken


Marine creatures studied including:

Black Tipped Reef Shark
King Penguin
Humpback Whale
Horned Ghost Crab
Picasso Triggerfish
Polar Bear
Leather Back Turtle
Leafy Sea Dragon

Each student worked diligently to make their brilliant drawings of marine wildlife, executing an exciting array of drawing styles. Many of the drawings are works in progress, such as beautiful sea turtle drawing by Emily and stunning walrus portrait by Eve. 

An astonishing king penguin by Daniel and octopus by Jason demonstrate their beautiful line making and hatching skills. A sense of ice and snow is captured by Anna and Abbie in their stunning polar bear drawings. Brightly coloured abstract drawing by Ellie of an octopus tentacle speaks of the sea; Jess's terrific, bold neon reef shark would make a brilliant surfboard design and the blending of colours is reminiscent to a painted wall in Judy Chigago's BALTIC exhibition.  


King Penguin 2020 colour Biro drawing, Daniel Y12

Octopus 2020 colour Biro drawing, Jason Y12

Polar Bear 2020 colour Biro drawing, Anna Yr12

Picasso Triggerfish 2020 colour Biro drawing, Alfie Yr11

Sea Turtle 2020 colour Biro drawing, Yusuf Yr10

Sea Turtle 2020 colour Biro drawing, Grace Yr10

Horned Ghost Crab 2020 colour Biro drawing, Sian Yr10

Polar Bear 2020 colour Biro drawing, Abbie Yr11 

Octopus 2020 colour Biro drawing, Ellie Yr10

Horned Ghost Crab 2020 colour Biro drawing, Abbie Yr 10

Sea Turtle 2020 purple Biro drawing, Chloe Yr10

Sea Turtle 2020 colour Biro drawing, Emily Yr10

Horned Ghost Crab 2020 colour Biro drawing, Leoni Yr10

Walrus 2020 colour Biro drawing, Eve Yr10

Sea Turtle 2020 red Biro drawing, Katy Yr10

Seat Turtle 2020 green Biro drawing, Daisy Yr11

King Penguin 2020 colour Biro drawing, Hugh Yr10

Seat Turtle 2020 colour Biro drawing, Lucy Yr10

Sea Turtle 2020 colour Biro drawing, Jamie Yr10

Sea Turtle 2020 colour Biro drawing, Jessica Yr10

Picasso Triggerfish 2020 colour Biro drawing, Mia Yr10

Reef Shark 2020 colour Biro drawing, Lucy Yr10

Reef Shark 2020 colour Biro drawing, Jessica Yr10

King Penguin 2020 colour Biro drawing, Lorna Yr10

Picasso Triggerfish 2020 colour Biro drawing, Shannon Yr10

Octopus 2020 Biro drawing, Mana Yr10








Jane was also shown a priceless drawing of an elephant by Alfie Yr 11. The drawing depicts symbolic layers of images including poachers, elephant habitat and poached elephant. Alfie said that making this exceptional artwork has helped him make a stronger connection with elephants and the need for their conservation. Jane said:

"It was an honour to learn that Alfie chose to study my art practice for his Art GCSE. Seeing his astonishing Biro drawing of the life-cycle of a poached elephant woven with insightful symbolism was moving beyond words."