So, this was my last lesson teaching the young learners at Language in Totnes a two hour Yoga & Art session. I wanted to base the lesson round animals so the yoga lesson was all about Bunny & elephant breath and it was more like a guided moving meditation to calm them down after a game of rounders. By chance I stumbled upon the artist Laurel Burch and she creates these incredible funky cat illustrations, apparently she was big in the 80’s but I have never heard of her, so glad I found her though, I fricken love her art!
I discovered a simple tutorial on an arts blog that breaks down how to teach a Laurel Burch inspired art workshop to kiddies and it involved collage making and lots of colour! These two things go well with kids, collage making is very sensory because of the texture and tactile nature of it and ALL kids love vibrant colours!
This is also a great art therapy exercise for both kids and adults because collage making is very therapeutic and encourages those who feel they can’t be artistic because they can’t draw, realize that that is simply not true, creativity is for everyone so it’s a great confidence booster.
If you have a good hour with your kiddies, this could be done all at once, as long as they don’t get the wiggles too bad.
Materials for session:
• Colored 9×12 card paper (we used pink, brown, blue and yellow).
• Sharpie markers, or something similar…the regular thickness.
• Colored pencils and/or felt tips.
• Pritstick glue & kid friendly scissors.
– Introduce Laurel Burch to the kids – show a slideshow of her art (I printed off examples for them to hold)
– Lead a step-by-step drawing of a cat sitting down. (Kids work on the colored papers, with pencil first). Start with a big letter “D”, then add a cat’s head with ears overlapping the top of the big “D”. Add nose, eyes, whiskers. Show how to make the back leg, then draw a short vertical line down for the front feet. Add a tail. The kids in this group intuitively did their own thing, some followed my direction when drawing a cat, others kinda just independantly drew their idea of what a cat looks like and that’s OK too!
– Talk about PATTERN, and what exactly makes a pattern a pattern. Ask, “Is one circle a pattern?” No, it must be a REPEATING shape to be a pattern. Have the kids draw patterns on their cats’ backs.
– Tell the kids to “Go Crazy” the more colour the better! The kids I taught this to were from Japan and Saudi Arabia and were all 7 years old so their English was reasonably limited, I kept saying “Rainbow Cats” to emphasize that their cats NEED to be as colourful, weird and wonderful as possible. I made sure they didn’t use dark earthy colours on their cats…. bright only!
– On another peice of coloured card paper, have kids make a border to frame their cats, and draw patterns in the borders.
– Make a “hill” on the bottom, inside the border so the cat has a place to sit. Some decided they wanted their cats to float as though in space.
– Make a starry night sky with a moon and planets if they want, in the background above the hill.
– Cut out and glue the cats down!
These cats are super funky, you can really see the Kid’s personalities through their final pieces. One boy decided to include two foxes to his collage, I wonder what that means to him? Another boy drew a heart right where the solar plexus would be, what does that mean to him? And a little girl drew a very traditional looking cat with small amounts of vibrant yellow on the eyes, ears and feet, what does that mean to her? Some of the kids named their cats as well which I thought was a cute ending to the lesson. Check them all out below!
This is the original lesson: Talking walls Murals_Laurel Burch Cats.
I changed my lesson slightly to fit with the resources I had at hand as I had limited black card paper so instead I encouraged the kids to choose a coloured card of their choice, whilst using black card may have been better in fitting with the Laurel Burch aesthetic, allowing the kids to chose a colour they wish to use is great as it makes them feel a part of the project, instead of being told what to do. I did not use Sharpies with these kids either, their English language is limited and two of these kids were known to be badly behaved, I dread to think what would happen if they got their hands on a sharpie! And because this was being taught to a bunch of 7 year olds at a summer language school I had to keep the direction simple and allow for an intuitive process by allowing the kids to see they need to draw a colourful cat but not expecting them to follow exact instructions on form, shape and pattern. I literally just let them go with the flow whilst I guided them through the session.