Visual literacy and picture story books


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Visual literacy and picture story books

  1. 1. Visual literacy andpicture story books
  2. 2. What is visual literacy?The ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaningfrom information presented in the form of an image.Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be“read” and that meaning can be communicated througha process of reading
  3. 3. Interpreting the visual textArt elements • Colour • Texture • Line • Form • Space • Shape • Size • Balance 1
  4. 4. Interpreting the visual textMedia• Media – tool and surface an illustrator uses• Techniques – the way in which the illustrator applies one medium to another e.g. painting, drawing, sculptural, printing, collage• Mixed media – two or more techniques 2
  5. 5. Interpreting the textAesthetic perspective• Focuses on the affective/personal response of theviewer to the illustration• A visual text that engenders a significant personalresponse is more likely to motivate someone to seek tounderstand and interpret a text“Essentially an aesthetic perspective asks questions about how the illustrator hascreated mood or feelings and what personal responses are engendered by theillustrators’ combination of elements in balance and layout.”Reading the visual, p187 (Anstey, M. & Bull, G., 2000)
  6. 6. Interpreting the textFunctional perspective• Analysing illustrations to learn: sees the artist as astoryteller rather than creator of art• Looks at how elements and media/techniques cometogether to convey meaning about: - Characterisation - Setting - Plot - ThemeReading the visual, p188 (Anstey, M. & Bull, G., 2000)
  7. 7. Interpreting the textFunctional perspective“The best children’s books are about the complex business of being human. Theymay seem to be about rats and pigs and rabbits and koalas and all manner ofunlikely adventures, but they’re not really. They’re about people. They are aboutLife with a capital ‘L’. They are concerned with the transmission of human values toa group of readers and listeners who are at a crucial stage of discovering how theworld works and how they might live. In practice picture books are strong on storyand they’re subtle on metaphor. They’re simple and direct in their telling (theauthor’s voice is intimate and personal), and complex and insinuating in theirmeaning. They focus on the particular as a means of understanding the abstract –as children do. They are exploratory (as children are). They’re preoccupied withrights and wrongs – as children are – without being moralistic. They delight in theidiosyncratic – as children do. They’re clear-sighted and truthful. They’re optimistic.Above all they are playfully serious – or seriously playful.”Ros Price, ‘Women’s Book Review 1990–1991’, in Creative Connections: Writing, Illustrating and Publishing Children’sBooks in Australia, papers of the Canberra Children’s Book Council, seminars 1987–1993
  8. 8. Interpreting the textSocial critical perspective• Critical literacy• Messages and associated beliefs about issues suchas gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status• The messages that we read/view help us to constructa particular picture of the worldReading the visual, p190 (Anstey, M. & Bull, G., 2000)
  9. 9. Telling stories through pictures• Illustrations are often used to clarify the meaning of the text for early-years readers• The majority of story books also have illustrations that add meaning, and in some cases possibly subvert/change the original meaning• Wordless book
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  11. 11. Telling stories through picturesIllustrators often say thereis no point in illustratingwhat has already beentold in words 4
  12. 12. Telling stories through pictures“With every book my first rule of thumb has been tonot draw what is there already in the words. I try tofind something from behind or between the words,something unsaid, something from the moment behindand beneath the moment, something about where thosewords come from, something from and about the heart,to then add to the words.”Drawn from the heart, p 296 (Brooks, R., 2010)
  13. 13. Art elementsColour• ‘Hot’ colours – excitement, happiness, anger• ‘Cool’ colours – harmony, peace, sadness• Placement of certain colours near each other canprompt mood, or draw attention to certain features• Media used can emphasise colour, e.g. luminouswatercolours, gouache – more intense
  14. 14. Jan Ormerod, illustration from Lizzie Nonsense, Little Hare Books, 2004,watercolour on paper, courtesy of the artist
  15. 15. Elizabeth Honey, illustration from Not a Nibble, Allen & Unwin, 1997, watercolour and inkon paper, courtesy of the artist
  16. 16. Art elementsTexture• Connecting the sense of sight with the sense of touch/feel• Can rouse memories, and create empathy forcharacter and setting• Use of media influences texture
  17. 17. David Miller, illustration from Snap! Went Chester, text by Tania Cox, HachetteAustralia, 2003, paper sculpture, courtesy of Woodleigh School
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  19. 19. Art elementsLine• Can create mood• Curves – warmth, safety• Jagged, sharp - excitement, destruction, unease• Line can draw attention to something in the illustration
  20. 20. Shaun Tan, illustration from The Rabbits, text by John Marsden, Lothian,Hachette Australia, 1998, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist
  21. 21. Bob Graham, illustration from Greetings from Sandy Beach, Lothian, Hachette Australia, 1990,colour pencil, pen and watercolour on paper, courtesy of the artist
  22. 22. Art elementsForm• Refers to the boundaries of an object and how itrelates to other objects• Used in the positioning of characters to show theirrelationships and how they feel about each other
  23. 23. Ron Brooks, illustration from Fox, text by Margaret Wild, Allen & Unwin, 2000, mixed media on paper,Peter Williams Collection
  24. 24. Fox“That first picture was a real mixed-media job: a multilayered collage ofbits and pieces of different papers, heavy impasto, oil paint, acrylic, ink,watercolour, shellac, oil sticks…and instead of drawing with pens, pencilsor whatever, I gouged, scratched and scraped my way through all thisstuff using kitchen forks, bits of wire, old dental tools, bits of rusty tin,sandpaper – whatever seemed to work – to find my lines. I then workedthe oil sticks into and over the whole picture, working and rubbing them inacross the entire surface, obliterating the whole image under deep black,red, blue, brown or green oil. After allowing this to dry a little, I rubbed andpolished off the higher, flatter, smoother surfaces with soft cloth; laidglazes of acrylic and wash over the top, gouged back in again, varnishedagain with shellac, added more colour here and there – until I felt theimage had everything I was able to find. Until I felt it matched the voice inthe writing – the texture of the language.”Drawn from the heart, p 282-283 (Brooks, R., 2010)
  25. 25. Ron Brooks, illustration from Old Pig, text by Margaret Wild, Allen & Unwin, 1995,watercolour on paper, courtesy of St Catherines school
  26. 26. Jane Tanner, illustration from Love From Grandma, Viking, 2010, colourpencil and watercolour on paper, courtesy of the artist
  27. 27. Art elementsSpace• Liberal use of space indicates isolation, emptiness• Busy illustration can infer chaos, lots of activity,energy• Space can also draw attention to specific objects
  28. 28. Rebecca Cool, illustration from Isabella’s Garden, text by Glenda Millard, Walker BooksAustralia, 2009, acrylic on canvas, courtesy of the author
  29. 29. Armin Greder, illustration from The Island, Allen & Unwin, 2007, pencilon paper, courtesy of the artist
  30. 30. Art elementsShape and Size• Visual outline of an object which we use as torecognise objects• Rounded – warmth, safety• Angular – excitement, confusion• Use of object/character size can convey differentemotions
  31. 31. Leigh Hobbs, illustration from Mr Chicken Goes to Paris, Allen & Unwin, 2009,gouache and pen on paper, courtesy of the artist
  32. 32. Elizabeth Honey, illustration from Im Still Awake, Still, music by Sue Johnson, Allen & Unwin, 2008,gouache on paper, courtesy of the artist
  33. 33. Art elementsBalance• How different elements come together and whichelements are dominant• Arrangement of objects in an illustration rather thanthe elements – chaos or stability, or the effect ofdrawing one’s attention
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  35. 35. Gregory Rogers, illustration from Way Home, text by Libby Hathorn, Random House Australia, 1994,chalk, charcoal, pencil and torn paper, courtesy of Books Illustrated
  36. 36. ActivitiesComparing images• Compare different images (from the same story)which portray different moods indicating possiblechanges in character, plot• Consider elements and media/technique
  37. 37. ActivitiesComparing images• Compare images from multiple texts• Investigate themes, characterisation and settingthrough the use of elements and media/technique• Illustrator study - compare images from multiple textsby the same illustrator to see how they differ
  38. 38. Armin Greder, illustration from The Island, Allen &Unwin, 2007, pencil on paper, courtesy of the artist Shaun Tan, illustration from The Rabbits, text by John Marsden, Lothian, Hachette Australia, 1998, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist
  39. 39. Ron Brooks, illustration from Fox, textby Margaret Wild, Allen & Unwin, 2000,mixed media on paper, Peter WilliamsCollection Ron Brooks, illustration from Old Pig, text by Margaret Wild, Allen & Unwin, 1995, watercolour on paper, courtesy of St Catherines school
  40. 40. ActivitiesEducation kit More activities can be found in the education resource, eg: • Short-activity ideas (Bloom’s taxonomy) • Book-based activities, e.g. Lucy Goosey; Fox; To the Top End • Theme-based activities, e.g. My home, my family; What does tomorrow look like?; Telling stories through pictures Activities are aligned with the e5 instructional model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate)
  41. 41. Sample activityTelling stories through picturesBased on Lesley Reece’s (Fremantle Children’sLiterature Centre) framework for studying picturebooks 1. Write out the text from a picture story book and read then discuss 2. Students create illustrations for different sentences and then discuss illustrations 3. Read the original story with illustrations then discuss
  42. 42. Sample activityTelling stories through pictures• Rule up 2 columns• 1st column – copy the text from one page• 2nd column – list all the things shown incorresponding illustration• Look at how the illustrator has gone beyond thewritten text through the use of art elements and media
  43. 43. Sample activityEducation kit – Telling stories through pictures 7 8 9
  44. 44. Alternative activityStudents predict text for awordless book or discusswhat they think ishappening 10
  45. 45. Online resources•••
  46. 46. Book cover references• Margaret Wild, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas, Jenny Angel, Puffin, 1999• Jackie French, illustrated by Sue deGennaro, The Tomorrow Book, HarperCollins Australia, 2010• Shaun Tan, The Arrival, Lothian, Hachette Australia, 2006• Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ron Brooks, Fox, Allen & Unwin, 2000• Jeannie Baker, The Hidden Forest, Walker Books, 2000• Jeannie Baker, Window, Random Century, 1992• Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo, The Boy and the Toy, Penguin Books Australia, 2010• Gary Crew, illustrated by Steven Woolman, Beneath the Surface, Hachette Australia, 2004• John Marsden, illustrated by Shaun Tan, The Rabbits, Lothian, Hachette Australia, 1998• Stephen Michael King, Leaf, Scholastic Press for Scholastic Australia, 2008