We started out by watching some videos of Jan Brett that showed how she was inspired and how hard she worked on her illustrations. We read books by Jan Brett, then watched videos that showed how she researched the animals and settings of her stories. She worked very hard to make sure that her illustrations were as accurate as possible. We even had an art lesson by Jan Brett (in video) that taught us how to draw one of our favorite characters, Hedgie the Hedgehog. They were concentrating so hard, you could hear a pin drop! Like Jan Brett, they did black line drawings, then used watercolor. Here are some examples of their work!
The kids created a list of things that they learned from Jan Brett:1) Use a pencil to draw your pictures first, then add correct colors.
2) Take your time when you are drawing your pictures.
3) Add a lot of detail.
4) Show where your story is taking place with your pictures.
5) Do your personal best.
6) Research and use what is in your schema to help you draw pictures accurately.
7) Slow down!
We are still reading Jan Brett books for inspiration! One student wrote a book about African animals, based on a book Jan Brett wrote called "Honey, Honey, Lion!" They enjoyed watching the video that showed her on an African Safari researching the animals and environment before she wrote that book. The kids realize that we may not be able to travel to far away places like Jan Brett to research animals and places, but we can use books, the computer and our own experiences for our research.
I have noticed a huge improvement in the kids work since they have been inspired by Jan Brett. They are working very hard and are taking pride in the books they are making! I am so proud of them! Our key words in Writer's Workshop are, "Slow down!"