Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday's Art Smarts: Collage in the Style of Eric Carle

Last week, as a part of Daniel's school, we read "The Very Busy Spider". On Monday I showed you the puppets I made to help Daniel narrate, or retell, the story in his own words. Since I introduced those puppets, he's pulled them off the shelf several times in order to tell me the story again. Yay! I love it when things are a hit. Much better than when things are a flop. You know what I'm talking about, right? The activities where you're kids just look at you like you're crazy. Or, even worse, when there's a whole lot of awkward silence while you try to figure out what to do next because you didn't really plan the activity that well to begin with. It's painful. But (yay!) the successes totally make up for the fails. 

We also began a multi-stage collage project last week and finished it up today. What Eric Carle unit is complete without a little Eric Carle style art?


card stock (we used white, but the color is up to you)
tempera paint
paint brushes
paint trays
play dough tools (or other small tools to make scratches into wet paint)


The project begins in the same way as the Sgraffito project we did last summer. The very first step is to let the kids color one piece of card stock. The darker the colors, the better. Also be sure to instruct them to color every last inch of the paper. This is the first step in several; the idea here is to color the paper, not to make a representational drawing. 

The next step is to paint over the crayon color. I squirted a little paint into a tray, gave each kid a brush, and told them to paint the entire paper. They were allowed to use whichever colors they wanted. Again, this is the next step in a multi-stage project; this is not the final piece. The purpose here, like before, is simply to add color. 

Even Silas got in on the act with this project! Although, he just painted...pretty much all his little toddler hands can handle. 

After painting, give your kiddos access to the play dough tools and let them make all kinds of different scratches in their wet paint. We used rollers, rolling pins, plastic knives and forks, and the ends of the paint brush. I didn't give the kids any instruction at this point. Just presented them with the tools and told them the basic idea. They loved it!

Here is Natalie's completed painted piece:

Let the pieces dry. Depending on how much paint your child uses, this could take 30 minutes or all morning. Be patient. You'll need a completely dry piece before moving on to the last step. 

Before starting the next step, we took a look at our story, "The Very Busy Spider". I pointed out a few illustrations, such as the fence posts,

and the rooster.

We talked about how each illustration was made by piecing together basic shapes. We noted that the fence was made out of long, thin rectangles and the rooster was made with a few different shapes, including circles and triangles. 

I then gave scrap paper to the kids and we drew an ice cream cone, a flower, a house, a person, and a tree using only basic shapes. Oh, and a fairy. Of course. 

I also told the kiddos to think about what they wanted their final picture to be. Did they want to make a flower? A tree? A person? We talked about how, sometimes, it's important to plan out and think about what you're going to do before you dive in and do it. 

Daniel decided he wanted to make a spider, inspired, I suppose, by the story. We talked about what kind of shapes he'd need to make a spider and (trust me, I had to really guide him here) came up with a circle for the spider's body and long thin pieces for the legs. 

With Daniel, I really had to help him out. I drew a circle and some lines on the back of his art and gave him a pair of safety scissors. While he cut, I helped him turn his paper so that he could cut out the general shape. 

He also did some cutting on his own ;)

Natalie decided that she would rather piece together a series of shapes to make an abstract collage. Not quite what I had intended for this project, but I decided to step aside and let her do her thing. I really didn't have to help her at all. She first drew some shapes on the back of her painted paper, and then got busy cutting.

They both turned out quite well! I was really proud of Natalie's fine motor skills in action. They've come a long way even since last spring.

Natalie, age 4

And I really loved Daniel's composition. What a great spider!

Daniel, age 3

And Silas, of course, finished his art. Kind of cool that I have three pieces to share with you today!

Silas, age 1

Thanks for reading! Hope you're feeling inspired to go create some beautiful Eric Carle style collage! Let me know if you blog about it - I'd love to see some finished pieces!

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