Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eric Carle Art

In my dream world where I have tons of free time and energy, I would run more programs like this one.  There are a lot of great children's book illustrators on the web who provide lesson plans and ideas for exposing kids to their art.  It is also an easy way to tie art with the library.

Where I Got the Idea
A couple of years ago I visited the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amhert, MA.  If you haven't been there, it is a great place for any children's librarian or educator to visit.  I was really impressed by their educational opportunities and programs.  If you visit their web site, they list a bunch of lesson plans, including today's program.  I printed out their sheet for each of the kids to walk them through the steps.

Ages and Requirements
We registered 25 kids, ages 6-12, for this program.  It ended up being heavy on the 6-8 year olds, but they were still able to come up with quality artwork.

Supplies Needed
  • liquid starch (check the laundry aisle at your local grocery store)
  • tissue paper-It comes as color fast (like the kind you buy to put in gift bags) or bleeding (found at art supply stores).  Personally, I would buy the kind that bleeds as it makes the best colors.  I bought 2 packs and we have a lot leftover for our next project.
  • dixie cups-I used these to put the liquid starch in.  You don't need a lot of starch.  I used less than 1 inch in each cup and each kid had plenty.
  • paint brushes
  • watercolor paper
  • scissors (for those kids who don't want to tear)
What to Do
I started off by showing a couple of Eric Carle illustrations in various books.  You will want to find ones with multiple colors-The Very Lonely Firefly is a good example if you look at his wings.  Then I showed off my example.  I explained that I used a bunch of triangles to make a star shape.

I explained that you should create your tissue paper shape first, whether the first letter of their name, a fish, or filling the whole paper with tissue paper pieces.  It helps if you give them some ideas before they begin as some kids will look at the white sheet of paper and give you a blank look when you ask them what they are going to make.

When they are ready, you spread liquid starch with a paintbrush on the white watercolor paper.  You put the piece of tissue paper on top of the starch and brush starch over the tissue paper.  This causes the color to move on the tissue paper and create the blending effect.

The Final Product
I am always amazed at what the kids come up with.  We had a couple that looked like they could have come out of an Eric Carle book.  There were flowers, stars & moons, heart butterflies, the first letter of names, a dog, and a tiger.  Some of the kids got really creative and crumbled their tissue paper to make a 3-D effect.  The entire program cost less than $20 and it is definitely worth doing again.

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