I've been teaching an after-school art class and am loving working with
young kids again. One of the first lessons we did was inspired by one
of my very favorite artists, Brian Wildsmith and specifically his book,
BIRDS. I am in awe of his use of color and texture and could look at
his images for hours. I'm including some reference links at the end
of this post if you are interested in finding out more about him.
This lesson was with 7 - 10 year olds and took about an hour and a
half. We looked at the book BIRDS and discussed the general shape of
each bird by outlining it with our fingers and talked about the many
layers of color and how different marks were used to create texture.
Materials & Supplies:
thick white glue
heavy duty scissors
a small bit of white copy paper
The kids decided what kind of bird they wanted to make and drew
the basic body shape on a piece of corrugated cardboard. Try to make
sure the channels inside the cardboard are running vertically. If they
wanted, they could also add three dimensional elements such as wings
and eyes from separate pieces of cardboard. Since the cardboard is
thick some of them needed help cutting them out.
Besides looking beautiful, oil pastels blend well to achieve those
multiple layers of color that we were going for. Texture
marks were added at the end.
They had several options for eyes: cardboard, color directly on
their bird body, or white paper with black marker.
Feathers were poked into the channels of the corrugated
cardboard and glued onto the body.
The feet were made from one chenille stem. Cut the chenille stem
into six equal parts. Bundle three pieces and twist together half of it,
leaving the untwisted pieces to be the toes/claws. Separate the three
pieces - two toes in front, one in the back - and bend horizontally so
the foot will stand up. Poke the twisted end of the foot piece into a
channel of the corrugated cardboard on the bottom of the bird. You
can use a pencil or such to make the holes a bit bigger if needed.
Squeeze some glue in the hole too. (You can alternately tape
or glue the feet to the back of the bird.)
While the feet are drying, the kids made the base for their bird to
stand on. The swan stands on a dock while others are
on branches in the sun and grass.
To finish, glue the birds feet onto the cardboard
base and let them dry.
If you do this lesson I'd love to hear about
your experience and see the results!
Learn more about the amazing Brian Wildsmith:
Brian Wildsmith books on Amazon
Brian Wildsmith's website
Article by author and educator Daisaku Ikeda
An article at The Guardian by Joanna Carey
as part of a series on children's book illustrators
Three posts at The Art Room Plant
here, here, and here
Magician of Colors - Children's Book Illustrator
This post contains affiliate links - thanks so much for your support!