Artist Biography Books

Artist biography books are a fun way to teach kids a little art history. These books contain a short biography of an artist to read aloud, an example of their work, and the bookmaker's interpretation and impressions of the artist.

We make one book about each artist, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. We used photocopies of a book's (see Sources below) biographies and painting examples which were then cut out and glued to the book pages. Tweak this project to your heart's content, though. Two ideas are to make one book including both Picasso and Matisse, or include little biographies about other artists.

Materials

  • Several sheets of construction paper (depending on how many pages you want in your book)

  • Paper scraps or drawing materials

  • Stapler w/ staples

  • Glue sticks

  • Print outs of biographical information, Picasso painting example, etc. (See Sources or click image at bottom for PDFs)

 

Instructions

  1. Fold a few pieces construction paper in half (short end to short end) to serve as the outer cover and pages of the book. Tuck them inside each other and staple along the inside crease.

  2. Using the example painting as a model, decorate the cover in the style of Picasso. Using the paper scraps makes a more interesting visual than markers, but use anything.

  3. Cut out and paste the biography and painting example inside the book.

  4. On the last page, write your thoughts about Picasso - do you like his art work? How did you use his ideas/style in your own artwork on the cover?

Source

  • Book: " What’s the Big Idea?: Activities and Adventures in Abstract Art” by Joyce Raimondo

  • For more artist biographies, check out these websites:
  CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR PRINTOUTS

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR PRINTOUTS

 

Many Pointed Star

Materials

  • Triangle pattern printed on cardstock (PDF below)
  • Duct tape or paint & brushes
  • Masking tape

Instructions

  1. Cut out the triangles on the pattern. There are 30 triangles per page. You will need 60.
  2. Tape three triangles together to make 20 pyramids (without bottoms).
  3. Tape two sets of five pyramids together along bottom edges.
  4. On both sets, tape five more pyramids on the edges.
  5. Reinforce all the edges so that the star is solid.
  6. Cover the star with duct tape or paint.

Tips

  • Make sure there is plenty of tape on the edges so the star does not fall apart.
  • It helps younger kids to have cut out for them.
  • This project takes a lot of time.
  CLICK TO PRINT PDF

CLICK TO PRINT PDF

 

Clay Suns

Materials

  • Slabs of clay

  • Extra clay for details

  • Cutting tools

 Instructions

  1. Cut a rectangle or square slab of clay for the base

  2. Cut a circle out of another slab of clay, which will be the middle of the sun.

  3. Add sun rays, a face and other details, making sure they are resting on the base or they will fall off

  4. Encourage the kids to use piece of clay to add details/texture rather than carving out details.

  5. Kiln fire, glaze, and fire again.

Tips

  • Looking at the picture, the suns aren't on bases. They may appear sturdy, but the sun rays kept breaking off. Building them on a clay slab base makes the suns sturdier.

Paper Bag Masks

Materials

  • Large paper bag, like those from grocery stores
  • Miscellaneous decorating materials
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Open the bag and place over the child’s head. Mark where their eyes are on the front of the bag. On the sides, mark where the top of their shoulders are. Take the bag off.
  2. Cut out large holes where the eyes are marked as well as arches on the sides up to where the shoulder marks are.
  3. Lay the bag down and let the kid decorate the face.
  4. Put it back on and wear around.

Tips

  • Use the paper cut out from Step 2 to create little accessories or ears to glue onto the bag.