Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Typical Author/Illustrator Visit

When I visit a classroom to share Over in the Valley, I don't like to just go and talk. My visits always touch on several aspects of the book: the story, the art, and the science. I tell the students why I was inspired to make the book, and the steps I actually went through to get it done. I mention the fact that I did lots of research to start with, then many drafts and revisions. I show some of my early sketches and then final art. We talk about animal characteristics and habitats.

Then, I will have the children create their own art based on my story. I help students create portraits of native species, and for older kids, we include habitat as well. There are several animals that could have been included, but weren't.

Of those, the mountain lion is my favorite, and children are very excited to draw them as well.  I show students how to find the basic shapes of the lion's face -- circles and triangles -- and put them together. After we've sketched it out, we color it in. The lesson can be done with watercolor, watercolor pencil, pastels... really any medium works fine.

Next week, I'm visiting kindergarten classes at a nearby school. I think I may try to have them draw salamanders this time. I'll let you know how it goes.