This week we dug deeper into the world of Eric Carle. Most every child has at LEAST one of his books in their library of favorites (if not many), but less often do we talk about how and why Eric Carle makes art. What does he use to make his colorful pictures? How big are they? Who is Eric Carle, really?
Instead of my usual book-as-inspiration routine, I switched it up this week and introduced my kids to Eric Carle’s art through the most knowledgeable source I could thing of- Eric Carle himself! This quick, 4 minute video was perfect for my preschoolers. They easily understood who an artist is (we are all artists!) and what is “good” art (ALL art is good art!). They thought it was pretty cool to actually see the artist and see him reading his own book. This was important to me because I think that aspect of personal connection is often lost on a child. Sure they love the pictures in this book or that one, but I love to see them begin to understand that an artist somewhere created the images they are seeing just like they create art in our classroom.
We then flipped through an ipad slideshow about EC. We saw some of his books that we know and love, but I also included images of EC in his own studio working, and in his museum hanging the enormous pieces he creates on large scale canvas.
I wanted to approach this project as more of an exploration rather than a step by step process. As I demonstrated, my littles and I talked about tissue paper. We talked about paint. We talked about “scraffito” or scratching images onto the surface of something- in our case our paper. We talked about layers, we talked about color.
With tempera paints and watercolor paper, I painted purple and yellow stripes onto the paper. I used the paint sparingly so it would dry quickly. When the stripes were finished, I added red on top then used a popsicle stick to scratch my designs in the surface revealing the colors underneath. The final step was adding tissue paper onto the wet paint. I didn’t have the kids attempt to paint the tissue paper in true EC style because 3-5 year olds can get rough and heavy handed. An attempt at painted tissue paper would have ended in wet, ripped paper which wouldn’t have made anyone happy!
After my demonstration, and lots of discussing, I set the kids loose to make whatever it was they wanted to make. Not quite sure how my littlest littles would take to this process, I was pleasantly surprised with how well everyone did. There was genuine effort and pleasure coming from these kids- they loved scratching through the surface to reveal the colors underneath.
Love my little artists!
If you loved this project be sure to check out these easy crafts for kids! We all need a few more of these in the idea bank, right?!