Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Get Into Art, People: Discover Great art and Create Your Won

Get Into Art, People: Discover Great art and Create Your Won

Susie Brooks
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Kingfisher, 2013   ISBN: 978-0753470596

Many new artists are afraid to try trying drawing or painting pictures of people. “It is hard to draw people,” they say. Certainly the human form can be challenging, but there are many approaches that one can take, approaches that make it easier to create portraits of people.

   In this clever book the author looks at pieces of art that were created by twelve famous artists. In each case the artist has created a picture of one or more people. For each work of art we are given a little information about the artwork and then a short biography of the artist. Then, under a flap, readers will find an art project inspired by the featured artwork that they can try for themselves. There are directions and illustrations to help young artists create their own masterpiece.

   The first artwork presented in the book is a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II, and the surprising thing is that the emperor did not take offence when he saw the portrait that Giuseppe Arcimboldo created. Many people would have because the artist drew the portrait using images of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The emperor’s nose is a pear, his cheeks are apples, and the one ear we see is an ear of corn. In the project, young artists are encouraged to take real fruits and vegetables, cut them up, paint the cut surfaces, and then use the fruit and vegetable surfaces to create pictures of people and faces. The author shows us examples of “foody figures” that she made, and we can see how one can create a lovely piece of artwork just using a potato, some carrots, mushrooms, and colorful paint.

   Later on in the book we see a famous painting by Georges Seurat. The painting is called A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte and it shows men, women, children and pets enjoying some time in a park. Some people are walking, one lady is fishing, and there is even a man playing a trumpet. What is amazing about this painting is that it was created “using multicolored specks of paint.” You have to look at the painting up close to even see the specks.  In the accompanying project we learn how to create our own piece of artwork using “spots.”

   This splendid book combines excellent art projects with interesting information about artists and art styles. It would make a wonderful gift for a young person who likes to learn about and create art.