My grandkids love books and we enjoy reading Eric Carle books together. He’s the illustrator of over 70 books and author of many of those. His most famous book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been read by children in sixty-two different languages. If you have never read his books, you owe it to yourself to make a trip to the library or book store to spend an afternoon reading. His collage style of illustration is unique and inspiring to children of all ages.
After reading several of his stories, we pulled out magazines and some of my gelatin printed papers to looked for colors and texture images to make our own collages.
Ninja Boy, inspired by A House For Hermit Crab, made a shell and sea plant.
My Princess, also inspired by the sea life, made this collage.
Miss Tickles headed in a different direction, preferring to add more of her hand-drawn art.
Melinda started her collage with an intricate background and I can’t wait to see her turtle when she gets a chance to work on it more!
I made a mosaic vase with flowers for my collage.
I was curious to find out how Eric Carle really did his illustrations to get the transparent look. On his website, he shares how he makes the illustrations from tissue paper he has painted. He even includes a pdf with instructions for his readers to try his method.
Without a plan in mind, using acrylic paint, I painted a bunch of colors on tissue paper. It’s not an easy task because the tissue is so thin.
After the paint was dry, I started cutting out shapes to make a bird in a tree. And of course, in honor of Eric Carle, I had to include a little caterpillar in my collage! I glued my painted tissue pieces to a sheet of paper with gel medium and many wrinkles. I later found out, he glues his tissue pieces to a white hardboard with wallpaper paste and uses a straight edge to smooth out the wrinkles. He probably uses a better quality tissue as well.
This was a fun project and I challenge you to try an art collage using Eric Carle’s inspiration and methods. If you want to learn more about his life, watch these videos:
“My pictures are collages. I didn’t invent the collage. Artists like Picasso and Matisse and Leo Lionni and Ezra Jack Keats made collages. Many children have done collages at home or in their classrooms. In fact, some children have said to me, “Oh, I can do that.” I consider that the highest compliment.”