I am an illustrator and author of a couple dozen children's picture books. I feel very lucky to have this wonderful job. Part of what I love the most about it is having the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for creativity and imagination with children when I visit schools and libraries around the country. In conjunction with programs I present about my books, I often conduct workshops for kids where they can make their own collages, books, and other creative artwork. This blog will hopefully give me a chance to share some ideas with a wider audience. Many aren't brand new---just a reminder that sometimes the best ideas are simple and easy and allow a child to enjoy the process even more than the product. So---get out your glue sticks, scrap box, recycled materials, and scissors and try some of these ideas with the kids you love. Have fun!
A fun morning making creative critters of all kinds with recycled containers, scraps, and left-over art supplies. I love the intensity, followed by the delight! A great process-to-product balance in child satisfaction. I've done this workshop many times over the years. One parent once joked: "This isn't recycling, this is delaying." Maybe so---but in the process, a lot of imagination, problem solving, and creative thinking happens. And joy!
We celebrated with a festival, using Grace Lin's book, Bringing in the New Year. Activities included origami rabbits, paper-cut rabbits, brush-painted banners, and a wonderful dragon!
A grand time was had by all.
Look over your favorite picture books, and think of ways to extend them for children. Start with the content, and then keep going. Picture books are a treasure trove of additional ideas that you can expand creatively. Is there a dominate color? shape? mood? energy? Run with it!
Three small friends came for lunch in my tree house last week. After lunch, they made turtle puppets and then created a puppet show with them. From the tree house, you can watch the critters in Frog Song Pond who appear in my books, Turtle Splash and Scoot. We had a great time!
Summer! Time to head down to the library and pick a pile of books! There are so many ways to extend a book's content and value with art activities. These can, in turn, inspire kids to hunt out more books, too.
They can also create their own simple books. Stack several sheets of paper, fold them in half,
and you're ready to go. Fasten with staples, punched holes and ribbon, or a favorite of mine, shown here: Use a twig and a rubber band to bind the pages together.
In addition to visual story telling, this is a great way for kids to figure out sequence. What comes first? next? how does it end? Drawings can also be done separately, and then pasted into the book when they're finished.
A friend and I spent the day running a printmaking workshop for teen boys today at an alternative school on the Maine & New Hampshire border. These young men approached the medium in their own unique ways, but all enjoyed experimenting with ink on paper. Since this was a new experience, we decided to just focus on found-object printing:
bits of hardware, keys, leaves, vegetables, jar lids, and a bunch of that junk that seems to accumulate in basements, drawers and garage corners. We used waterbase printing ink in the three primary colors, newsprint, copy paper, a handful of brayers, and old cookie sheets for rolling out the ink.
This photo by Roger Marchand
We were thrilled to see the concentration, cooperation, exploration and conversation!