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Kids school and holiday art clubs

The Big Small Book

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Hello and welcome to Pelham Year One Artists (Y1) group update.

Where do we begin to create a language of visual expression to tell our stories?

Firstly, we need to know exactly what it is we want to say.  Louise Pasquill devised this project to teach the children how to connect words and pictures.  The children had to question, what would this word look like?  To help, we put the words into pairs of opposites.  Now, it’s easier, because the pictures will help each other to express their contrasting meanings.

The artists’ challenge: to enable the viewer to guess the pair of words expressed pictorially.

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We read a beautiful book, with prose in the form of a continuous poem called “You and Me” which tells the tale of two friends, a boy and a girl, who take on different guises to express opposites.

“You’re a circle, I’m a square. You’re a tiger, I’m a bear.  I’m a mountain, you’re a hill.  You’re moving, I’m still”.

The artists’ chose specific vocabulary; then, to express their idea clearly, they concentrated on what it conjured up in their minds’ eye.  What did they think of when they said this word?

Try it and see what you come up with.  Hot, dry, smile.  The beauty comes from our different interpretations of language and it’s translation.  Hot could be burnt or the sun, dry could be a washing-line or a desert and smile could be a spark or some teeth!

By focussing on one word per page, the children were free to concentrate on the translation of words into pictures, without the complexity of creating a story with multiple scenarios.

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Another book we studied was Pomelo. The illustrator of this book, achieved clear statements by using Pomelo in every drawing, but in a different state, depicting the word’s meaning.   There were different visual guides depending on the word, such as colour, close up, use of props and dress up, but the most prominent was through use of white space.  With only the character on the page, there were no other distractions, so it was easier to read the signal clearly.

As you see below, this flower shows a “Before and After” sequence. The artist has succeeded in showing us what we need to see, in order to communicate their message.

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These skills are integral for Graphic Designers, who are given briefs that need to signal all kinds of messages to all kinds of people using pictures, from advertising to health and safety information.

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Hot and Cold.  Moving and Still.

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The children chose a pair of opposite words from the board and reflected on how they wanted to achieve their results. Perhaps create a character to express their words?  Everyone used a combination of animals, plants and objects to do this for them. Using simple pencil drawings enhanced with soft pastel colours, the children began to create beautiful colour books of opposite pictures.

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Can the reader tell what the words are, just by looking at the pictures?  Let’s see if you can guess which words the little artists are illustrating here…

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My favourite was an ice cream depicted as Whole:Melted.  Time to stock up the freezer!

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