Sharing Art
Western Reserve Public Media
 
Illustration Project

Overview

Regional Artists: Rhonda Mitchell, Ravenna
Featured Museum: Canton Museum of Art
Featured Artist: Max Fleischer Studios
Featured Work of Art: "Mr. Bug Goes to Town"
Featured Teacher: Debbie Gottas,  Woodridge Local Schools

Lesson Overview:
The students will develop or codevelop a presentation (a cover design, an illustration, or author and/ or illustrate a book), grounding its artistic merit within historical, social, cultural and/or aesthetic parameters.

 

Video Synopsis

Our illustrator, Rhonda Mitchell, does a wonderful job of demonstrating sketching techniques. Each sketch is traced and then transferred to canvas for the application of oil paints. She shows how a dummy book is set up to give the artist an idea of the space available for each illustration. The school project shows students sketching out ideas and then painting the final products using acrylics and watercolor paints.

 

Objectives

Students will:

  • examine various forms of art to discover common components of the artistic process or art forms.

  • analyze and critique the incorporation of the arts in commercial media.

  • investigate the relationship between the presentation of the arts and students’ perceptions as consumers.

  • build awareness of how people process information to solve problems.

  • use vocabulary that encompasses structural, technical and analytic aspects when discussing and analyzing artistic forms and/or processes.

  • communicate information about an idea or event through one or more art forms.

  •  interpret an idea or event through one or more arts forms.

  • develop strategies for collaborative work in the arts. (Optional)

  • create an artistic piece demonstrating use of old and new technologies and compare the process or result. (Optional)

 

Vocabulary

  • Value

  • Balance

  • Contrast

  • Emphasis

  • Repetition

  • Unity

  • Movement

  • Scale

  • Clarity

  • Distortion

  • Fusion

  • Font/typeface

  • Symmetry

  • Asymmetry

  • Genre

     

 

Materials

  • Tag board

  • Coloring media (acrylic paint, colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints)

  • Lettering books

 

Higher Grade Material

  • 8" x 13" sheets of printing paper

  • Tag board

  • Coloring media (acrylic paint, colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints)

  • Computers

  • Lettering books

 

 

Procedure

Look at a variety of illustrated books from varying authors/illustrators. Focus on artists who are making a cultural, historical or social statement (for example, Eric Carle, Tomie de Paola, Mercer Mayer, Jerry Pinkney, Faith Ringgold, Shel Silverstein and Chris Van Allsburg). Focus on how the artists use media in different and similar ways.

  • Does the media fit the text? What if Eric Carle illustrated his books as watercolor paintings? Would they have the same audience impact?

  • Show the Sharing Art video, “Illustration.” Discuss how the artist relies on the written word to inspire her art. Why do you think Mitchell chose to paint like this instead of like de Paola or Silverstein, for instance? Note her use of realism and detail in painting the little girl. Does her art work help sell the book? Why? By just looking at the cover do you think the story will be interesting? Read the story. Can you judge a book by its cover? Can a book cover be considered an ad?

  • Discuss possible cover art pieces (book cover, CD case design, food packaging, magazine covers, newspapers). Critique several examples of each of the above in terms of elements and principles of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, balance, contrast, emphasis, repetition, unity).

 

Project Procedures

  • Decide what type of cover art you will create. What is your genre? Who will be your audience?

  • Once you have chosen a cover art type, create a name or title for your product or cover.

  • Begin layout design. Consider elements and principles of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, repetition, unity).

  • Also consider graphic manipulations (change of scale, clarity of design, distortion, fusion, font/typeface, placement, symmetry, asymmetry).

  • Color and/or paint your layout.

 

 

Lower Grade Level Project

Students will develop an illustration and a short story about an event in their life.

  • Look at a variety of illustrated books from varying authors/illustrators.

  • Show the Sharing Art video, “Illustration.”

  • Discuss how the artist is relying on the written word to inspire her art. By just looking at the cover, what do students think the story will be about? Read the story.

  • Have students ever heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”?  What does that mean? Look at Story Quilts of Faith by Ringgold. Do her pictures need words in order to explain what is going on? The words do add to the presentation, but the image itself communicates the story.

  • Discuss memorable events in students’ lives: a trip to the park, the first puppy, a day at Cedar Point, a hike in the woods, an afternoon of fishing, Christmas traditions, July Fourth picnic, a trip to Disney, a winter trip to see a frozen Lake Erie, etc.

 

Project Procedures

  • Decide what event you will illustrate.

  • Fold tag board in half. Begin layout design on one half of the paper. Consider elements and principles of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, balance, contrast, emphasis, repetition, unity) in designing. (Optional: Draw a one-inch border on the page.)

  • Color and/or paint your layout. Fill the page.

  • Color or paint the other half of your paper to complement the illustration.

  • Write a story about your illustrated event.

  • Glue story onto the unillustrated portion of the paper facing the illustration.

 

 

Higher Grade Level Project

The students will author and illustrate a children’s book.

  • Look at a variety of illustrated books from varying authors/illustrators.

  • Show the illustration video featuring Rhonda Mitchell.

  • Discuss why Mitchell chose to paint like this instead of like de Paola or Silverstein, for instance. Note Mitchell’s use of realism and detail in painting the little girl. Would another style of painting or another media have the same audience impact? Read reviews of The Talking Cloth. By just looking at the cover do you think the story will be interesting? Read the story. Discuss how the artist is relying on the written word to inspire her art.

  • Discuss possible story lines. Discuss what makes a story worthy of our attention. Critique several examples of children’s books in terms of theme, flow of the story, dialogue and target audience.

  • Critique several examples of children’s books from the illustration perspective in terms of the elements and principles of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, balance, contrast, emphasis, repetition, unity).

Note: Rhonda Mitchell has both written and illustrated the book, but there are several other books that Mitchell has illustrated (Daddy Calls Me Man, Rain Feet, Joshua by the Sea, Joshua’s Night Whispers and Momma Bird, Baby Bird, all by Angela Johnson; Little Red Ronnika by Bobby Jackson; and Sleep Song by Karen Roy).

 

Project Procedures

  • Decide what type of children’s book you will create. Is your genre informational, community pride, social issue, value issue, family, historical, alphabet, colors, counting, mimic (Tuck Everlasting, The Never-Ending Story), poetry, mystery, legend, fractured fable (How the Spider Got Its Waist, The True Story of the American Flag)? What age is your target audience?

  • Once you have chosen a genre, begin researching and then writing your story. In long hand or using a word processor, write and edit your story. At this point you are just concerned with the content of the story. Edit to a final draft.

  • Begin breaking the story down into page assignment: generally two sentences minimum per page, eight-page minimum length. Use a storyboard for visual planning.

  • Type your story in size 16 font or larger, spacing according to storyboard plan. Cut apart and make up a “dummy” book.

  • Begin designing illustrations. Consider media, style, techniques and elements and principles of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, repetition, unity). Also consider graphic manipulations (change of scale, clarity of design, distortion, fusion, font/ typeface, placement, symmetry, asymmetry)

  • Type up final book pages according to “dummy” layout plan. Illustrate book.

  • Create a cover on tag board. Laminate when finished.

  • Assemble and bind the book. A comb or spiral binding looks very professional but there are several hand-made techniques that are just as presentable.

 

Assessment

Develop a rubric covering:

  • Design layout

  • Use of media

  • Craftsmanship

  • Story

Go over the rubric with the students before they begin their project.

 

 
pbs.org