Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Telling Your Story in Pictures: A Visit from Christopher and Jeanette Canyon

"A journal gives us a place to explore our thoughts and develop our ideas in many ways." Christopher Canyon
On Monday illustrators, Christopher and Jeanette Canyon, visited our school to share their work.  It was interesting to get a glimpse into their process and learn about the very different way they both tell stories with pictures.

My students were fascinated by the work of Jeanette.  I think she had them at, "I use kitchen tools to make my illustrations."  Jeanette then showed the students her studio and the myriad of kitchen tools she uses to work with polymer clay.  It was interesting to see how she works with color and shape to create her illustrations.  It was interesting to watch her blend colors, sculpt shapes, and then create a page.

Jeanette Canyon also shared her research process for illustrating her book, Over in the Ocean:  In a Coral Reef.  Since she needed to know about a coral reef to create her illustrations she started by reading.  Then she went to the coral reef to study the creatures that live in this habitat.  She took pictures and then came back to decide how to best make these creatures for the pages of the book.  You can learn more about her process here.

Christopher also shared his work as an illustrator.  He talked about how he uses his notebook to practice his ideas and drawings.  He showed students how he draws a character in many different ways before beginning to work on the pages in a book.  Christopher Canyon, in addition to other work, illustrated a set of books based upon the songs of John Denver.  He talked about how he sketched his pages and using watercolors in his illustrations.  He shared how he experimented with different papers, different types of paints, and different techniques to find the best way to illustrate the books.

The Canyons reminded students to have fun creating and sharing stories.  Reminding students to share stories in all kinds of ways.  My students decided they wanted to add a post about the visit to our class blog.

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