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.
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!!