Picture Books


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Picture Books

  1. 1. Picture Books Picture Book: A book in which the text and pictures are equally important • o Illustrated book: A book in which the text is primary o Wordless picture book: A book containing only pictures. NB: There is controversy as to whether a wordless book can be considered literature. Many wordless picture books can the literary elements we look for in texts: view, theme, character studies, setting, tone. Narrative art: art that tells a story. Picture books are a form of narrative art. • THE ILLUSTRATIONS IN PICTURE BOOKS Illusion: a technique used by artists to make us see things that are not really there: • distance, depth, texture. Illustrations in picture books must project a mood that is appropriate to the text. • Principal Elements of the Art of Illustration The principal elements of the art of illustration are: line, space, shape, color, texture, composition, perspective. Line o to define objects by outlining  to suggest movement, distance, feeling/emotional responses   curves, circles: warmth, coziness, security  sharp, zigzag: excitement and rapid movement  horizontal: calm, stability  vertical: height, distance  figures at top of page: further away than those at bottom or sides Space (very powerful) o  draws attention to specific forms on the page  generous use of space: emptiness, loneliness, isolation  lack of open space: claustrophobic feeling, confusion, chaos Shape o  massive grouped shapes: stability, enclosure, confinement, awkwardness  lighter, delicate shapes: movement, grace, freedom  rounded: similar to curved and circular lines  squarish, angular shapes: excitable reaction Color o  children do not require brightly colored pictures  color can detract from the text if overpowering or inappropriate
  2. 2. the least imaginatively used artistic element in children¹s picture  books (that is, conventional colors are used, for example, for the sky, grass, etc.)  psychology of color (cultural phenomena)  reds, yellow: excitement  blues, greens: calm, quiet  purple, royalty  green: envy, illness  blue: depression  yellow: cowardice  used to suggest cultural distinctions Texture o  creating characteristics of a three-dimensional surface on a flat surface  used to emphasize the realistic quality of a picture  used to enrich the visual experience and to stimulate the viewer¹s imagination  Composition/Perspective  Composition: the arrangement of the details in the picture  good composition creates a sense of rhythm in moving from page to page--a rhythm that is in keeping with the narration  good composition creates a sense of unity between the illustrations and the text integrating them into one on the page  Perspective: the vantage point from which the viewer looks on at the objects or events in the picture Artistic styles found in children¹s books Representationalism: presents objects realistically, but not  necessarily photographically; may be used with non-realistic subjects Expressionism: deliberate distortion and exaggeration using line,  space, color, shape, texture, composition; abstraction is extreme expressionism Impressionism: uses splashes, speckles, dots of paint to achieve an  interplay between color and light; creates a dreamlike effect; distances the viewer from the action Surrealism: an otherwise realistically depicted object subjected to  unnatural juxtapositions and bizarre incongruities; the product can be nightmarish Cartoon: uses gross exaggerations and distortions for satiric or  humorous effect; uses solid lines and bold, unshaded colors Folk Art: designs and images peculiar to a specific culture--to effect  the mood of the culture; particularly suited to folktales
  3. 3. Photography: used mostly in realistic stories and informational  books Artistic media Painterly techniques:using paint as the primary medium--  watercolors, tempera, gouache, poster color, oil paint, acrylics, pastels, chalk, pencil, ink, crayons Graphic techniques: blocks or plates that are inked and imprinted on  paper--woodblocks, linocuts (linoleum), scratchboard, stone lithography Montage (grouping of different pictures or designs to create a single  picture) and collage (grouping materials--string, cotton, weeds--with pictures to create a single picture) Picture-book layout text must be carefully placed in relation to the pictures  the pictures must illustrate what the accompanying text describes  (called juxtaposition) THE STORIES IN PICTURE BOOKS Principal types of stories   Folktales, legends, myths  initially passed by word-of-mouth  adhere to the traditional storytelling patterns: often begin with ³Once upon a time² and end with a ³happily ever after²  typically take place in an imaginary place where magic is commonplace  Modern fantasy stories  take place in modern settings and employ magic as a principal feature  most omit the potentially threatening forces of evil that characterize the folktales  Talking animal stories  avoid magic  focus on everyday issues in quite realistic contemporary settings  early exposure to symbolism: animal or inanimate characters symbolize facets of human nature  Realistic stories  few subject taboo in children¹s picture books today  includes complexities of our world  literature for children is foremost for enjoyment
  4. 4. expose children to other cultures; depict sympathetic  characters with whom the child can identify or empathize  children like to read stories about other children who are like themselves Narrative elements   Plot: sequence of events leading to a specific goal  must be clear and fairly direct  should have a clearly defined beginning, middle, end  focuses on a conflict which must be resolved  conflict can be internal (struggle within a character) or external (between characters)  for young children the plot must use a simple, chronological time frame; more complex plot structures for older children  young children like action, suspense, humor  Character  focus is one character  character is a human (usually a child) or an animal with childlike qualities  characterizations are quite simple (picture books are not long enough for complex character development)  Setting  usually conveyed visually by picture  still a story element because setting determines much of how and why things happen in the story  success depends on effective selection of scenes  Subject and theme  subject should hold meaning for a young child (e.g. child disobedience but not toxic waste disposal)  theme--the principal idea that governs the story (e.g. disobedience of parental authority often results in dire consequences)--should not be confused with morals or lessons (didactic stories)  Literary style  boredom results which something is either too simple (all common monosyllable words) or too hard (complex sentences with many unfamiliar words)  as picture books are often written for non-readers, they must read well aloud  he best picture books challenge children¹s thinking without overwhelming it Social concerns and the picture storybook   need to be aware how picture books portray and interpret society (e.g. stereotyping)
  5. 5. need to be aware of the underlying message but this does not  mean we must censor or forbid certain books children¹s reading should include a diverse selection of  social attitudes. From: http://www.southernct.edu/~brownm/Gpic.html