Our students love jumping into a project. One of the things I enjoy doing with them is having them make artwork in a similar manner to an illustrator from a book we have just read. This not only gives students an opportunity to be creative, it helps them to understand the job of the illustrator and the process that person goes through to create the pictures they see in books.
Young children enjoy Lois Ehlert's beautiful books filled with her collage illustrations. In the fall, I read her book, Leaf Man, to the kindergarteners. Afterwards, students created their own Leaf Creature collages with some colorful fall leaves I had gathered. They did a great job!
In December, the kindergarten classes had been reading books by Denise Fleming as part of their Reading Workshop. Denise Fleming is another wonderful author and illustrator. She creates vibrant pictures for her books by using paper pulp and stencils on a wire screen in ta similar manner to how hand-made paper is made. We wanted kindergarteners to experience this process. We set up stations with window screens over plastic tubs and created buckets of paper pulp using torn colored paper and a blender. Students made the background for the pictures using their fingers to push the paper pulp around on the screen. Then they arranged cookie cutters and different colored pulp to make details in their illustrations. They loved the feel of the wet paper pulp and enjoyed making these textured pictures.
Our first graders had a chance to try making a pop-up illustration in the same way that the very talented paper engineer, Robert Sabuda, designs his pop-up books. We read the author's book, Winter's Tale, which has very intricate pop-up illustrations done in all white on every page. Then we viewed a short video that showed Robert Sabuda talking about his work and demonstrating how he makes his illustrations. First graders then tried his method. They were very successful!