All of the papers were handmade by students using multiple tactile techniques: paper marbling, rubbing, watercolor, stamping and more. Following this, they collaged all of the patterned papers into an urban landscape, learning about what’s on a city street, building shapes, types of buildings, perspective, and horizon line. Lastly, they created people to walk through the space: families, superheroes, all kinds of real and imaginary characters. They really enjoyed exploring texture and color throughout.
This was also a wonderful opportunity as well to to introduce the concept of characters and settings in stories. Author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, who was our inspiration for this project, was a fascinating and groundbreaking artist. His books were some of the earliest to feature African-American, Latino and Asian children in an everyday context (rather than a teaching-about-race context) and also the first to take place in a real urban setting. There’s plenty about him to research on the internet, I encourage any teachers to dig around and see!