Wednesday, June 9, 2010
My seven year old recently had a fun assignment (all credit to these folks): to practice doing research for a paragraph by choosing an artist she likes and gathering some information on them. She surprised me, I had my mouth open to suggest some pedestrian choices like Van Gogh or Picasso and she immediately said "I want to do Eric Carle!" I'm glad she cut me off.
My good friend Debbie was so kind years ago to give our babies lots of Eric Carle board books that they enjoyed so much. Actually, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See was instrumental in getting us through our youngest's ER visit when she was two years old and broke her elbow. The screaming finally ended when I grabbed a hospital copy and read it to her over and over. Thank you, Mr. Carle. Thank you. I'll be forever in your debt.
So we got online and did some research, went to his official site, read his FAQ, watched interviews with him on YouTube. He is now a delightful, soft-spoken 80 year old and we liked him so much. Thing One wrote her little paper, but we were so inspired by watching his photo tutorial that we (er...I) decided that we must make some images using the same method.
So, first to paint some 'tissue' paper in his signature bright, variegated colors. I had some white wrapping tissue, no problemo. Mistake. As soon as the brush touched it, it disintegrated. So, when he says tissue, I can safely say he does not mean wrapping tissue. Check. The next best thing I could think of was tracing paper, which has more body but is also translucent. That worked fine, although it wrinkled up a bit. I'd really like to know what kind of 'tissue' he means. For paint, we just used cheap acrylic paints I already had on hand.
(POST-POST NOTE: I wrote to Eric Carle's fan site, and receive a link to this information from Eric Carle: "I use archival quality tissue paper for my collage illustrations, but I receive e-mails and letters from many teachers who use a range of different kinds of commercially available tissue paper (the kind you use for gift wrapping), so feel free to experiment. I have tried many brands of tissue paper and have been pleased with a long-fibered, ph-neutral, white tissue paper from Kate’s Paperie in New York City. I prepare the paper with a matte medium before I paint the paper with ordinary acrylic paint which can be found in any art store." SO. He gets great quality tissue paper and pretreats it with matte medium. Check!)
To get the variegated look, I squirted several colors in the girls' plates and told them not to mix it, just dip in the brush and go. That was fun. After we did several colors we hung them up to dry.
They look like stained glass, don't they? Of course, Eric's method is more involved. He does several layers of paint, and uses things like squares of carpet to add texture. We sort of skipped that part. That's why they pay him the big bucks.
After those were dry, the next step is to make your sketch on tracing paper. So we each did that.
Next came Mommy's part. I laid their sketches down on top of the painted paper and cut each section out with an Xacto knife, making sure to go through both layers.
They were in charge of art direction. They chose the colors and helped paint on the Mod Podge when we laid each piece down on some bristol board. (Eric Carle uses wallpaper glue on illustration board, but this was close enough).
Well, Mommy had to make one too. Can't let them have all the fun. I was so pleased with our little art project. This was so much fun. In your debt again, Mr. Carle!