Classic Children’s Book Illustration
Are there stories within you that you would like to tell? Learn to illuminate your very own narrative in the style of beloved children’s books with the help of this course. We will discover why these beautiful illustrations exude warmth, kindness, and creativity, and then will adapt their simple yet timeless style to our own personal masterpieces.
What is it about those classic children’s book illustrations that open a door to another world? One where we can imagine tromping through the Hundred Acre Wood with Christopher Robin, or waltzing through an English Cottage Garden on the heels of Benjamin Bunny? While it could take a lifetime to fully understand the magical grasp these little images have on us, this fall we will begin that journey! We will explore how a stroke of the pen can open the imagination, our memories, and even whole new worlds.
We will begin our studies by focusing on the illustrations of E.H. Shepard’s Winnie-the-Pooh and the paintings, drawings and illustrations of Beatrix Potter, the author and illustrator of the beloved Peter Rabbit book series.
We will study their art and pictures and begin to articulate what it might be that sets these works apart. From there we will begin creating characters and narratives of our own, taking cues from the worlds around us—as they did from theirs—and using this as a basis for our own illustrations. While we won’t be able to do all our hearts desire in one semester, we will put ourselves on a path that may help us beyond the confines of our class and give us a taste of what we may someday create.
Our class time will be comprised of demonstrations, individual instruction, work-time, and class discussion. Students do not need any prior art experience. The class will start simple dealing with foundational principles. Course material will gradually build in complexity, ending with emphasis on working from observation, creating dynamic compositions, and color mixing. Students will practice thinking like an artist. They will engage in the whole creative process from generating ideas, making intentional decisions with each aspect of their work, and reflecting on what they have made.
Students will be encouraged to practice exercises taught in class and may need to work out- side of class to complete projects.
Along with hands-on studio work, students will participate in regular class critiques, creating a forum for the group to constructively collaborate and discuss creative outcomes.
Students can also expect ongoing dialogues and study of classical illustrations.
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- All Foundations V pre-requisite skills
- Extend Place Value to Include Decimal Places
- Adding and Subtracting Decimals
- Multiply and Divide Multi-Digit Whole Numbers
- Adding and Subtracting Fractions and Mixed Numbers
- Multiplying a Fraction by a Fraction
- Multiplying Mixed Numbers
- Dividing a Fraction by a Whole Number
- Understand Powers and Exponents (mainly squares)
- Multiply Decimals
- Dividing with Two Digit Divisors
- Dividing Decimals by Whole Numbers and Decimals
- Understanding and Using the Coordinate Plane
- Identifying and Graphing Numerical Patterns
- Convert Customary and Metric Units
- Volume of 3D and Composite Figures
- Properties of and Classifying Quadrilaterals
- Identifying and Graphing Numerical Patterns
- Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Canvas discussion boards.
- Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Canvas messaging.
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
- Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
- Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
- Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
- Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
- Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
- Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.
- Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
- Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
- Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.
- Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.
- Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
- Follow along with instructor-led workbook completion and record answers during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
- Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
- Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
- Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).
- Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
- Be able to deductively apply content and previously learned mathematics skills and processes to the understanding of newly introduced content.
Teaching art online is a unique learning experience to navigate. If at all possible, buy the version of supply linked below. I can help students navigate obstacles more effectively when we are all using the same materials. If you have any questions regarding supplies, please feel free to email me.
- Any kind of sketchbook (minimum size 8″x10″): We will use these for exercises and notes. If you already have one that you use, that will do!
- Document camera (such as Ipevo), or equivalent*
- Pencils for drawing
- Kneaded eraser
- At least 2 Micron pens, 005 (link) & 05 (link)
- Bristol board drawing paper pad (link)
- Blue painter’s tape
- Set of watercolor paint (link) and palette** (link)
- Short handled watercolor brushes
- Size 2 round (link)
- Size 6 round (link)
- 1/2” or 1” flat (link)
- OR a set like this (link)
- Water cup
- Watercolor paper pad for studies and final projects (link)
- Rags or paper towels
OPTIONAL COURSE MATERIALS:
- Set of colored pencils
- Drawing board for stretching watercolor paper
- Apron to keep clothing clean
- Small spray bottle
- Masking fluid
- White gouache
*EpocCam (link) is an app for the iPhone that turns your phone into a document camera. Ipevo has an app for Android phone (link), but I have not used it. Paired with a tension arm like this (link), and you have a very affordable alternative to a dedicated document camera. It will automatically link to Zoom.
Sara Silkwood holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Syracuse University. Sara has several years experience teaching in a variety of areas including college level, church-run camps, Classical schools and privately. She also serves as the fine arts teacher at Valor Preparatory Academy. Currently, Sara works out of her home studio in Waco, Texas where she lives with her great dane-lab mix, Oberon. She spends her free-time backpacking, reading and illustrating her own stories.
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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