Recreating Eric Carles animals with tissue paper (literacy art projects)

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the artist who painted a blue horse

I just realized that its almost time for summer art camp and I never even finished posting the activities we did last summer. This activity was actually one of my favorite.

I have actually gotten used to more mature work since I work with early elementary ages now, so when I looked back at the pictures in this post I had to reorient myself to the fact that they are more of the preschool age.

This was a multi step project as most Eric Carle projects tend to be. I did explain in a post a while back how we created our own collage papers but, I had not completed the activity by explaining what we actually did with the papers. Below are the papers we created in that post and you can check  out how we created them.

painted papers 2

Recreating Eric Carle is a very common project for many adults working with young children in art. Eric Carle does  the most amazing collages that he uses for his books and this one The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse iss just one of his many.

When I want to children to try to draw objects or animals I tend to give them some pictures to copy and kind of just throw them into it. If you think the kids will be able to do it, they usually can. It’s only as they get older that they start feeling more and more that they “can’t draw”.

After we created the various collage papers I told the children that we were going to draw animals and then cover them with the different papers. Of course, the animals do not have to be the same colors as the animals really are since, that is art and Eric Carle proves it with this book.

This child set to work drawing a bunny rabbit. Not all of them chose to draw from the book as I had other samples of animals for them to copy.

drawing bunny

I then told them that they should use the papers we created to cut out and glue onto their animals that they had created.

gluing animal


collaging bunny

cutting out animal

Most of them did not get the idea that they could completely cover the animal with the pieces and just used parts of the papers to cover different sections of their animals.

animal with heart

collage of 4 animals


I found that this activity more than many of the others, gives the children a really concrete knowledge that art does not have to representational and is open to much interpretation. If you start children off  young with this idea, then they will have a much easier time as they get older stepping out of the box.

It really is quite interesting that even though the child drawing it saw that there only 4 legs, she still ended up making 8. I guess if horses can be blue, rabbits can have 8 legs.

If I do this activity again I would probably show them how they can use the tissue paper to trace over the drawn image to cover larger parts of the animal if they wanted.

Leave a Comment:

Miriam Hendeles says June 9, 2014

I love Eric Carle’s books with his colorful and interesting drawings. Interesting to have the children create similar looking art.

maryanne @ mama smiles says June 16, 2014

This is a great Eric Carle project! I love the rabbit with eight (four) legs 🙂

Faigie says June 16, 2014

Hey! this is art you know 🙂

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