Friday, June 29, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Chapter 7

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The big idea I took away from this chapter was the importance of helping children learn how to make decisions about the content of their writing and illustrating.  Katie Wood Ray lists some decisions illustrators have to make:
  • What exactly, will be in my picture?
  • Will I use a single illustration, or multiple, separate vignette illustrations?
  • Will I zoom in very close or zoom out and show a wide angle?
  • Will I picture my subject from the ront or the back?  From the side, perhaps?  From above or below?
  • How much background detail will I use for the central image?  Lots, or none at all?  If none at all, should I leave it white, or use another color?
  • Will I stick close to the words, or will my illustrations extend them in some significant way?
I am so excited to use these kinds of questions during an illustration study with my class .  I am starting to see how this kind of thinking is going to help make them better writers.  Learning to make thoughtful and meaningful decisions on the content of the their illustrations will teach them the importance of making these same kinds of  decisions in their writing.

Here are two of my favorite picture books and the illustration techniques I discovered in each:
Something is terribly wrong with George the puppy.  His mother tells him to bark, and George meows like a cat.  When his mother asks him to bark again he quacks like a duck.

His mother takes him to the vet who soon discovers the problem...

I think the choice to leave out background allows the reader to focus entirely on the characters.  It has a simple repetitive story that is supported by the simple illustrations.

Taxi Dog by Barracca.

Maxi is a stray dog who meets a New York City taxi driver named Jim.  Jim takes him home, feeds him, and then lets him ride around in the front seat of his taxi cab.   Maxi loves the city, the people, and most of all Jim.   

The background in these illustrations are bright, bold, and busy.  They tell the story of a big bustling city.  You are drawn into Maxi's world through the illustrations.  

I also love that this book can be used to talk about Technique #2: Crafting with Positioning Perspective.  You see Maxi and his world from all angles.  

I can't wait to see all the book suggestions for the eleven illustration techniques discussed in Chapter 7!!


  1. I have Bark, George, but have not used it for any particular lesson. I'll have to go check it out. I love that dog from Taxi dog sticking his head out. I will have to put this on my list of books to buy!

    1. Mark Buehner the illustrator of "The Adventures of Taxi Dog", is one of my favorite illustrators. Some of his other books include: "Snowmen at Night," "Dex(The Heart of a Hero," and "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm." His wife (Caralyn Buehner)is the author of these last three.

  2. Thanks for the book suggestions. I will have to look for those books, I don't think I have those in my collection.
    The Very Busy Kindergarten

  3. Great book recommendations...I haven't seen either. It's so much fun to be introduced to new books!

    Owl Things First

    1. I'm nominating you for Only Lovely Blog Award! Stop by if you wish to play along. Your blog really is lovely!

      Owl Things First

  4. Oh that picture of Max in the taxi is hilarious! I loved your book recommendations (I pinned them). Love! Love! Love!
    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

  5. love, love, love your recommendations! alas, it is 108 here in the STL and i can't do anything except read all of the lovely posts and go broke buying all of the awesome books you guys are telling me about! i have a list going. thanks for sharing. come say hi if you get the chance.
    Carole Dawn