Last summer in art camp, I introduced my students to artist Clare Youngs who lives and works in the UK. She trained as a graphic designer and now makes beautiful “handicraft objects,” as she calls them. I’m in love with her cardboard animals so we did a little artist study and made some of our own adorable animals from cereal box cardboard.
As with all the artist studies we do, I print out some images by the artist from Instagram and tape them to the wall along with some key words. The words I used for Clare Youngs were: England, Illustrator, Handicraft, Collage, Animals and Decoration.
Before they began to create, I talked about the artist and the words on the wall, and told them that they can use the wall as inspiration. They could make something that looks similar, or they could make a spin-off variation. Our main focus for this project was drawing and cutting animal shapes, and adding marks and decoration with contrasting colors.
Supplies needed for Clare Youngs artist study:
~ Cereal box cardboard
~ Tempera paint (mix colors with white for more opacity)
~ Old gift cards of small pieces of cardboard
~ Acrylic paints if you have them, otherwise stick with tempera
~ Paint brushes, finer tips if you have them
~ Glue gun to adhere the pieces together
Instructions for Clare Youngs artist study:
1. Begin by prepping the colored cardboard. Cut open your cereal boxes. Mix some paint colors, making sure to add white to make them more opaque. I decided to have my students use “scrape painting” to cover the cardboard with color. This simply means that they put some drops of paint at the top with a spoon, and pulled down the paint using an old gift card. This process is fun for them and makes covering the surface go much faster.
I had one table using cool colors and one table using warm colors – three in each color family, for a total of six finished colors.
2. Dry the painted cardboard overnight. The next day, students can choose which colors they want to use for the animal bodies. I suggested they stick to either a cool palette or a warm palette. One child wanted to mix the two palettes.
3. This next step can be done in 2 ways. Your students can draw out their animal shapes on paper, or old paper grocery bags, and then cut them out to use as a template. This adds an extra step but ensures that they shapes are a good size (kids will ALWAYS draw too small) and that they fit together well. Or you can have them draw directly onto the cardboard. Make sure you have them draw lightly if they do it this way so that they can erase their pencil mark if they decide they need to re-draw.
4. Now they can cut out their shapes. I gave them each a paper plate with blobs of acrylic paint. I gave them either a cool palette which consisted of blues, white, and black. Or a warm palette which consisted of red, orange, yellow, white and black. One child chose to use all the colors.
5. Adding detail using a small brush can be tricky for younger kids. But they will figure it out! They can practice making marks on a scrap piece of cardboard first and figure out the patterns they want to make. Or they can just go for it!
6. Once all the details are finished and dried, it’s time to glue the pieces together!
The kids in my camp ranged from ages 7 to 10, so for younger kids I would concentrate on mark making with objects such as foam brushes, corks, pencil erasers (little dots), bubble wrap, or even potato printing!
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