Start off by introducing children to the many ways in which they can make textural effects with medium soft pencils. This could take the form of a range of structured exercises which help to free up the children's imaginations and act as a preparation for a tactile approach to clay. For some introductory ideas see the unit 'marks and textures'.
Then each child selects an illustration of an animal or bird (from a selection chosen by the teacher) and is asked to make a simple copy (not a tracing). Their drawings should use the textural effects that they discovered during the previous mark making experiments. Children could work in sketchbooks and make more than one copy from the collection of animal and bird illustrations.