Monday, October 20, 2014

Teaching the Elements of Art with Picture Books

In my last blog post, I wrote about using picture books in the classroom as a supplemental way to teach art history. Using this same approach, young students can also be introduced to the seven elements of art using the illustrations in a picture book. Each illustrator brings their own unique style and uses these elements in different ways to convey the story in pictures. The seven elements of art are:

Illustration by Joan Waites

Looking at the illustrations in a picture book, ask students to comment on the art using these seven elements, asking the following questions:

Line: Is the line used to draw the objects or setting thin? Thick? Angular or curvy?
Shape: Are the basic shapes large or small? Organic or geometric?
Color: Are the colors used warm or cool? Monochromatic?
Value: Are the colors used darker or lighter in shade?
Form: Are the figures and setting flat or more 3-D looking?
Texture: Do the objects in the picture appear rough? Smooth? Shiny?
Space: Do the objects in the illustrations look like they are closer to the reader? Farther away?

Have students study two picture books and compare and contrast how the illustrator incorporated these seven elements. Next, have students draw an illustration based on their favorite picture book or story. Using the seven elements as a guide, encourage students to incorporate as many of them into their work as possible. Bonus points for those students who incorporate all seven!

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