Children's books make a great jumping off point for art projects. One of the most well known children's authors is Eric Carle. Most kids can recognize and recite "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See?" Kids love his books for their fun artwork and simple, memorable words. Here is a fun Eric Carle Inspired Animal Collage project you could do with kids from third grade up through high school! The best part about this project is it includes process art in the making of the paper, something ALL kids love doing! It also includes craft, drawing and imagination. Video tutorial here!
Day 1. This project is best split into 3 days. Day one have students make the paper. (Before making the paper it helps if they have an animal in mind. Their animal could be realistic colors, or abstract, like Eric Carle's blue horse. Make sure to read them an Eric Carle book before starting the project). Have students fold a large piece of construction paper into fourths. Each section of the paper should have different colors and textures to go along with the animal of their choice. You will need texture making tools. Combs, rollers with bubble wrap, cardboard, etc. Plus brushes and paint.
I found that the best way to set up for this is put a different color paint, plus white on a paper plate on each table for students to share. Students move to a different table to get different colors. The tools and brushes for applying the paint stay with that particular color, this way if you have multiple classes you don't have to clean up until the end. You will most likely spend the class running around adding more paint to the paper plate pallets!
Day 2. This is the easiest day! Give students a sheet of white copy paper and have them draw a simple version of their animal. If you teach elementary art, you could ask their classroom teachers to have them find an image of an animal they want to draw and they could come to art class with it printed out. Or have them draw it from their imagination! They should decide what colors of their painted/textured paper will be in their animal and where.
Day 3. Cutting and assembling the collage. Start by having students cut out their animals. Have them trace its different body parts on to the back side of the painted/textured paper that they made. Cut out and glue the parts down onto a good sheet of white paper. (Students can share their painted papers if they don't have all the colors they need, or if someone was absent when they made the paper). Students can add a simple background into the collage as well. To see more about the process of this check out my video tutorial below.