Poetry Activity: The Tyger
Tyger Tyger by Zaff
In this activity you will form your own impression of the Tyger based on the poem by William Blake. You will then create an original piece of art work based on The Tyger.
William Blake was not just a poet but an artist too. He used a technique known as engraving to accompany his poetry, which is similar to an etching technique used on slate or parched paper.
The picture above is a young artist’s impression of the Tyger. The vivid colors depicts a “tyger” (Blake’s old fashioned spelling) that illuminates the jungle with an orange glow as it moves through the green leaves.
Step 1: Before you begin your drawing, study the poem further to form your impressions of the Tyger.
Here is some poetry analysis to guide you:
The Tyger is a source of energy but also a thing to be feared. The creature is described in terms of its bodily creation:’ the furnace’ of its brain, ‘the fire of thine eyes’, and its ‘dread hand’ and ‘dread feet’, which present the image of a fearsome Tyger.
The poem describes the Tyger ‘Burning Bright in the forests of the Night’; the Tyger is therefore likened to the flames of fire with its orange fur and stripes. We imagine the Tyger lighting up the forest as it moves, creating a source of energy and an illuminating presence.
The stars which ‘throw down their spears’ are personified in the poem and convey giving energy to the Tyger as it moves through the forest. The Tyger is also compared to the Lamb, a completely opposite creature in creation. It is also opposite because it is usually symbolic of Jesus’s sacrifice. The poet asks ‘what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?’ which suggests that no living thing could equal the forceful creation of the Tyger.
What images from the poem jump out to you?
Two vivid image examples are:
1.The Tyger looking into the flame of fire
2.The Stars that throw down their spears.
Pick one line from the poem with a strong image and description of the Tyger in it and write it down.
Draw an outline sketch in pencil of the Tyger as it appears to you in your imagination from the description.
Choose a ‘style’ of artwork for your Tyger picture. Artists use many different techniques to create their work. Artwork can be classical like a water color by the famous 19th Century English painter John Turner, or more modern art piece like a 1970s Andy Warhol Pop Art.
Pick a style in which you will create your picture of the Tyger.
Pick a material to color your Tyger in. There are a wide variety of different art materials to choose from: Paints, water-color, oils, pastels or chalk, or marker pens or ink.
Above is a cartoon style picture of The Tyger using fine marker pens, which give a very different impression of the Tyger but still captures the spirit of Tyger in the poem.
Share your Tyger with a friend and see if they can spot which verse line of the poem it illustrates.
Don’t forget you can always send your pictures and or shares your ideas of the Tyger in William Blake’s poem on Storynory.com.