Art Competition for Schools and Families| Primary 4–7

Theme: Magical Creatures and Fierce Monsters

Welcome to the National Galleries of Scotland Art Competition for Schools and Families 2020. The aim of this competition is to encourage school children to interact with, and be inspired by, artworks in the National Galleries of Scotland Collection.

Here you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss, with some additional images included below. There are suggestions of things to think about, instructions on what to make, examples of materials that can be used and how the artwork will be judged.

Things to think about:

  • How has this strange creature been made by the artists?
  • Can you identify different objects in the body of the creature?
  • How do you think it would move around?
  • Would different parts of the body make different noises?
  • Do you think it would have any special powers? What would they be?



Surrealist artists drew inspiration from the unconscious mind. They used games and dreams to help them create their art. The Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse) was a game they played where three or four people would add to a drawing, without seeing what anyone else had done. You can try this by folding a piece of paper in 3 and drawing a head, body and legs without looking at what the person before you has drawn.

Things to think about:

  • What is magical about the creature in the centre of the picture?
  • It looks like it has the body of one animal and the wings of another. What animals are they?
  • How do you think it would have flown through the air?
  • Would it have been easy for the knight to hold on? How would he have fought while the creature was flying?
  • Do you think the creature has any other magical powers?



The artist, Sir Joseph Noel Paton, was very interested in myths, legends and stories. He loved painting fairies and other magical creatures but he studied animals and plants in real life to make sure that the details in his pictures looked believable.

Things to think about:

  • What kind of creature do you think this is?
  • Do any parts of her body look like different animals? What is her hair made of?
  • What do you think her skin would feel like to touch?
  • How would she move?
  • Do you think her hair, body or tail would make a noise?
  • Do you think she is friendly or fierce?



This is a model of Medusa made by Ray Harryhausen for the film, Clash of the Titans (1981). Harryhausen used stop-motion animation to make Medusa appear to be fighting with the actors in the film. The character of Medusa comes from Ancient Greek mythology.

Image: Ray Harryhausen, Medusa model from Clash of the Titans, (about 1979), © The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation (Charity No. SC001419)

Things to consider

Here are a few questions to help spark the imagination.

  • What kinds of magical creatures have you heard of?
  • What is a monster? Is a monster always scary?
  • What makes a creature scary? Its size, sharp claws, big teeth, colour, loud roar, ability to breathe fire?
  • What makes a creature magical? Wings, talking, magical powers - what could they be?
  • Where would your magical creature or fierce monster live? What would they eat?
  • What size would your creature be? As big as a house or small enough to fit in your pocket?
  • Is your creature furry, scaly, slimy, spikey or feathered?
  • What would your creature do if it met you? Would it let you ride on it? Would it show you some magic? Would it want to eat you up?
  • Think about different stories with fierce monsters and magical creatures in them, Greek myths and legends, fairy stories, stop-motion model animation in films: King Kong, Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts



A picture of a magical creature or a fierce monster or both of them together. You could be in the picture as well if you like.


Any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer aided design, collage, montage) to make your piece as long as each entry is two-dimensional.
It can be any size up to A2 (60 x 42 centimetres).

Entries will be judged on:

  • Originality and creativity
  • Confident handling of materials
  • Boldness and impact

Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema


Curriculum for Excellence

Entering this competition can contribute to your teaching of Curriculum for Excellence and interdisciplinary learning. Here are some examples of what the children will be able to do in working towards their entries:

Expressive Arts Art and Design

I can create and present work that shows developing skill in using the visual elements and concepts. EXA 2-03a

Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities in art and design. EXA 0-05a

I can respond to the work of artists and designers by discussing my thoughts and feelings. EXA 0-07a

Literacy and English

When I engage with others, I can respond in ways appropriate to my role, show that I value other’s contributions and use these to build on thinking. LIT 2-02a

I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to literal, inferential, evaluative and other types of questions, and by asking different kinds of questions of my own. LIT 2-07a

Social Studies

I can use my knowledge of a historical period to interpret the evidence and present an informed view. SOC 3-01a


Prefer to submit a group entry?

Groups, including families, of two or more children in any age group can choose from any of the themes in this year's competition and submit a group entry.

Find out more

Entry form and guidelines

Entry process for families and schools:

  • Read the instructions for each category very carefully.

  • Schools are asked to select no more than 10 artworks per category for submission. You might want to invite another class to choose their 10 favourites. 

  • Send us your entries by completing the online entry form

  • Make sure that the name of each child is spelt correctly as no amendments can be made at a later stage.

  • Please submit images that are no larger than 10Mb and no smaller than 2Mb. 

  • Send files as JPEG format. 

  • Name the image file(s) with the name of the entrant and school name. 

Competition terms and conditions

Voucher applications for schools

To support art in schools, teachers are invited to apply for a free artist-led workshop for their class or £100 vouchers for art materials. Just complete the appropriate part of the online application form and submit it with your entries.

The National Galleries of Scotland Art Competition is proud to be supported by Players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Art Competition contact details

If you have any questions about the competition please get in touch.

[email protected]