Illustrator Study: Unpacking Form Using See Think Wonder

Grade Two classes explored the central idea, “Creativity enables us to express ourselves.” This unit provided an excellent opportunity to authentically look at picture book illustrators. The exploration focused on illustrations as a form of self-expression. 

Small groups of children in each class were given a selection of titles by a particular illustrator (e.g. Emily Gravett, Anthony Browne, Graeme Base, Eric Carle). They were asked to identify the key element of the illustrations that combined to create a particular artistic style. The “See Think Wonder” routine was used to facilitate an in-depth analysis of the illustrations. The children were provided with a graphic organiser with guiding questions to help support the investigation. Their findings about each illustrator were shared with the class.

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The children identified the artistic elements that were used by the specific illustrators to create their images. They could see how they could apply these styles in different contexts. The “Think” guiding questions prompted a lot of discussions about creativity and who was creative. Lively debates about the creative merit of each illustrator followed. The children had a lot of wonderings for the authors and illustrators. For example, Why did the illustrator use dark colours? How did the author choose the illustrator that they wanted? Why were the pictures drawn in this way?