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Illustration Tools and Techniques

An illustration is a visual representation of something. In books, illustrators use their drawings to establish the setting, bring the characters to life, and tell the story in a visual way. The medium the illustrator chooses is very important. The medium effects how the illustrations look and can help create the feeling that the illustrator wants them to have. Some examples of different mediums the illustrator uses to create their story are:
  • Collage: A method that involves cutting out and pasting down each shape to form the picture. The shapes are colored befor being cut and assembled.
  • Woodcut: A method that involves carving out a wood block with special tools. The wood that remains prints black when ink is rubbed over the block. The artist can then add colors to the black outlines that have been formed.
  • Watercolor: Thin paints to which water is added. Special paper is used to help the colors blend together. Soft, pastel colors and smooth flowing shapes result.
  • Gouache (rhymes with squash): pigments mixed with water and opaque white liquid gum.
  • Digital Illustrations: A computer program and a draw tablet.

(pigment - a substance that is added to give something such as paint or ink its color.)

  • Celebrate Variety.Explore the variety of techniques used for creating illustrations for children's books.
    • The Hello, Goodbye Window uses watercolors, oil pastels, and pencil.
    • Snowflake Bentley illustrated by Mary Azarianuses woodcut and watercolor.
    • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein uses pen and oil.
    • Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins illustrated by Brian Selznick uses acrylic paint.
    • The Stray Dog by Marc Simont uses gouache and watercolor.
    • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback uses collage.
    • Olivia by Ian Falconer uses charcoal and gouache.
    • Puss in Bootsillustrated by Fred Marcellino uses colored pencil.
    • The Gardner illustrated by David Small uses crayon.
    • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus illustrated by Mo Willems uses Digital Illustrations.
    • Snow illustrated by Uri Shulevitz uses India Ink and watercolor.
    • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein uses Oil Paints.
    • Tuesday illustrated by David Weisner uses watercolor.
  • Illustrator Techniques. After exploring a variety of techniques, choose your favorite. Create a one page PowerPoint of your favorite illustrator. Copy and Paste an illustration from your favorite illustrators website. Describe the techniques used in creating the illustrations and background information about the illustrator.
  • Use the Techniques PowerPoint (PPT) worksheet to get started.