How do you make your pictures?

My pictures are collages. I didn’t invent the collage. Artists like Picasso and Matisse and Leo Lionni and Ezra Jack Keats made collages. Many children have done collages at home or in their classrooms. In fact, some children have said to me, “Oh, I can do that.” I consider that the highest compliment.

I begin with plain tissue paper and paint it with different colors, using acrylics. Sometimes I paint with a wide brush, sometimes with a narrow brush. Sometimes my strokes are straight, and sometimes they’re wavy. Sometimes I paint with my fingers. Or I paint on a piece of carpet, sponge, or burlap and then use that like a stamp on my tissue papers to create different textures.

These papers are my palette and after they have dried I store them in color-coded drawers. Let’s say I want to create a caterpillar: I cut out a circle for the head from a red tissue paper and many ovals for the body from green tissue papers; and then I paste them with wallpaper glue onto an illustration board to make the picture.

The DVD Eric Carle: Picture Writer - The Art of the Picture Book is a new film about my life and creative process. An earlier video, Eric Carle: Picture Writer shows how I make my pictures. You might want to try it. It’s messy, but fun. This film should be available from your local bookstore and library. Eric Carle: Picture Writer - The Art of the Picture Book is available through The Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Book Art web site here.

There is so much wonderful art in the world. If you are interested in Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Brueghel, Léger and other artists, you can find their work in museums and in art books.

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