TRADITIONAL TALES Traditional tales are fascinating! Full of strange apparitions, flying carpets, talking trees, wishes, dreams and morals. Many wonderful illustrators from around the world have brought these characters and events to life. So what better way to introduce this topic to my 60 young artists than to show them some illustrations and photos. NB Useful links below if you are using this lesson. Please note many of these images are copyright so use them as inspiration only. Indian illustrations/Art: Micha Archer, Mithila, Mithila, Mithila, Paisley. Moroccan illustrations/Art: Arch, Kilim, Birdcage, Mint tea, Moorish henna patterns, Pomegranate tree. Japanese Illustrations/Art: Hokusai-wave, Girl & Almond blossoms, Japanese lady 1 & 2, Wave patterns. Nigerian Illustrations/Art: Girl & boy, Patterned boy, Nigerian patterns, Fish, Fish & people. Equador Illustration/Art: Kapok tree & flower, traditional dress, Painting-people, Patterns. CROSS CURRICULAR LINKs In literacy the children were exploring and retelling traditional tales using the book A forest of stories Magical Tree Tales from Around the World by Rina Singh and illustrated by Helen Cann. So I thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring in their Pattern, Illustration and Calligraphy skills. Science also linked in with the traditional tales because the topic was woodland. We collected leaves berries from local trees. Measured them in maths, investigated how to measure a tree without using a measuring tape. Researched woodland habitat and identified types of trees and their seeds/flowers. THE TASK The task I set, was to create either a book cover illustration or an illustrated page from the traditional tale they were retelling in literacy. They could choose weather they used writing or just illustration alone. The illustration must represent a character/event/tree in the story. Each class of thirty was divided up into five groups and each group took a tale from a different country. We had tales from Morocco, India, Japan, Nigeria, Equador. The children were retelling the stories orally in literacy and had not seen the illustrations in the original book which was ideal. THEORY The children looked at traditional illustrations by artists from each of the countries that their stories were from (See links above). They did this as a class. I asked them Questions which stimulated a class discussion:
- What stands out about each style of illustration? What similarities are there in the use of colour?
- How are people represented?
- Can you see anything that is interesting about the composition of the pictures?
- What about the writing, is it in another language, another style or font?
- Is there anything around the edge of the illustration like a border? What is in the border? Pattern, objects, faces?
HOW TO BEGIN Thumb nails in sketch books are a good way to start. Thumb nails are several very quick sketches that allow you to work out options. Where something is going in a picture, what will go in it, weather it should have a border or not, and so on. Spend ten minutes maximum on this. Some children are sure and confident to draw straight onto paper using pencil, however others may do well to listen to some good advice and work it out first. Borders should be done using a ruler unless it is free hand. Children need to be reminded to consider where the writing will go if there is any, to draw lines for it in feint pencil. The children all got on very independently and I just reminded them every now and again about composition, dividing up their paper, balance and using their country illustrations as inspiration. Only one child out of 60 found the illustration difficult, but with a little encouragement I managed to get him to add something to his Kapok flower plonked in the middle of his page! I also encouraged them to write in Arabic for the Moroccan tale (some clever kids knew how to), Others I asked to adapt their font to imitate the language of that country if they could. I demonstrated this on the board. You can see clearly the one below has used Sanskrit as font inspiration for the Indian Tale. And a closer look at the detail on that tree… Let’s look at that fabulous tree in more detail! Once the children had planned out in pencil the illustration and written the calligraphy, they then used felt tip pens to colour in the work. Often they worked over the pen with black hand writing pens to enhance areas or add more details. The felt tips give the illustrations the flat colour that book covers have once they are printed. Here are a few more. I was so pleased with the work the children produced and am so chuffed to be able to share it with you. If this post was helpful or you do anything similar with your class please do contact me and send me pictures. Perhaps I can put them here too!!!