Tesco Art Competition 2018 Special Education Schools

Theme: Hair, Fur and Feathers

Here you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss as a class, 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.

James Boswell, 1740-1795. Diarist and biographer of Dr Samuel Johnson

How splendid this man looks in his fur trimmed jacket which almost invites you to stroke it. What animal has given up its life so that this young man can look so fine and important? There was probably more than one animal involved. The gold brocade and buttons add to the feeling of luxury and wealth. But who is this looking down at him from the tree above? Another fine fellow of an owl dressed in his own natural plumage of feathers. 

George Wilson had a very rich uncle who paid for him to train as an artist. James Boswell’s father was worried his son was wasting his time so sent him to Holland to study law but George was restless and travelled to other places. The owl might be a symbol of wisdom or it might be there to show that James liked to stay out late at night enjoying himself. 

Daisy Matthews (for ‘Daisy Matthews and Three Other Tales’ by Rhys Davies)

What a cosy but extraordinary blanket to have. We usually find bear skins on floors not on beds. The furry bit is to the outside but what would the inside of a bear skin feel like?
The bear has a kindly look but his claws show how strong and powerful he once was. The girl’s hair curls and rolls like waves in the sea. The direction of the fur rises and sweeps over the shape of the body like a landscape. 

Agnes Miller Parker trained and then taught at Glasgow School of Art. Her husband was an artist too. She is best known for her wood engravings. She liked drawing animals, birds and fish and made illustrations for Aesop’s Fables.  

Our Lady’s Birds

We know this peacock has a magnificent tail even though we are only getting a small glimpse of it. The female bird is rather drab in comparison but maybe she is happy not to be the centre of attention. Their tiny pin head crowns must wobble and wave as they walk, lifting their feet gracefully as they go. Where are they going? The square of stone steps, sand and blue sky are the only clues to help us. 

William Giles is said to be one of the most important and innovative British colour printmakers of the 20th century. He studied Japanese woodcut printing when it was completely new to the Western world. His woodcuts are often mistaken for paintings as the colours blend so softly and beautifully together. 

Things to consider

Here are a few questions to help spark the imagination.

  • Hair - Short, long, straight, wavy, curled, coiled, twisted, plaited, fringes, ponytails, partings, moustaches, whiskers, beards , blonde, brunette, redhead, eyebrows, eyelashes, hairdressers, barbers, combs, brushes, scissors, shampoo, Medusa, Rapunzel, Santa Claus
  • Fur - Short, long, tidy, tangled, soft, smooth, coarse, springy, spotty, stripy, patchy, plain, light, dark, collars, hats, coats, robes for kings and queens, animal farms, protestors 
  • Feathers - Peacocks, parrots, eagles, owls, feather hats, feather dusters, feather quills, pillows, mattresses, cushions, dress uniforms, Indian chiefs


A picture inspired by hair, fur and/or feathers. It can be realistic or abstract. 


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 A4 or A3 or A2 in size. 

Entries will be judged on originality and creativity, confidence in the handling of materials, and boldness and impact.

Pupils from special education schools are welcome to enter in any category as long as it is age appropriate.

Prefer to submit a group entry?

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

Make a picture inspired by any of the five themes. 

Use 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. As frames have been specially made, work entered must be either A2 in size or measure 120 x 150 centimetres.

View all themes

Download group activity



Tesco Bank Art Competition contact details

+44 (0)131 624 6534