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Process art inspired by Eric Carle’s books (+ 14 story baskets).

"Look, my cloud is as fluffy as the little cloud" Miss 4.

In storybasketeers last month we had an art BONANZA and trying out collage, art techniques and tools to enhance and extend some of his fabulous books.

Each month in storybasketeers we normally have a pattern for the month and dive deep into the book and ideas to extend it from social emotional, schema or STEM to name a few. We also have challenges where I support members to explore authors or curriculum areas in a unique way.

Eric Carle’s art work and the process he used was a perfect challenge for discovering new art ideas and using them in stories and props too. Eri Carle has published more than 70 books which were mostly of children, animals and nature. Eric Carle’s artwork was created with collage, using hand-painted papers, which he cut and layered to form bright and colourful images.

We started the challenge by looking at and using tissue paper as Eric Carle used this as his main material for his art work. He had sheets the size of a room and then painted them using different techniques, which we explored the following week.

We collected tissue paper and introduced it to the children. Using it to create a montage on paper (I used mine in the final week when I brought it all together). We had tissue paper, crepe paper and paper napkins.

Scissors could be used but ripping was great and many of the children enjoyed this part. The glue that could be used was a glue stick or PVA. PVA will get ‘wet’ and the tissue paper may ‘bleed’ and we used both and experimented with what they did to the tissue paper. This was a very basic collage expertise to get started.

In the second week we looked painting techniques and tools. We started with Eric Carles' 5 main techniques:

· Colour wash

· Colour splash

· Brush strokes

· Scratching and

· Blotting

And the tools I used were:

· Brushes

· Sponges (make up. dishes, sea and foam)

· Bubble wrap

· Cotton buds

· Cotton wool or balls (pegs clipped to help painting)

· Scrunched paper

· Pine cones

· Cotton reels

· Lids

· Cardboard scratcher

· Fork

· Dabbers

Dabbers are so simple to make and can be used over and over again. There are pantyhose or onion bags filled with different items to get different textures. These are perfect for process art and to achieve Eric Carle's effects. PLUS they are perfect for little hands.

The children had really been enjoying the art work in the story Mr Seahorse so we tried dripping, flicking and running watercolour paints and dye on paper plates with the intention of cutting out seahorses. The children provided the art and I the props to make a story basket.

We experimented on paper using the book little cloud as inspiration for our techniques and tools. Each sheet of paper was dried and then put into a ‘paper bank’.

I also extended this but using a mirror inside and outside to create clouds. The children enjoyed experimenting and so did the teachers!

In week 3 storybasketeers made a ‘paper bank’. A paper bank is where all art work that is not named or taken home now goes to be reused in other art and collage. A basket or box was found and a label added ‘PAPER BANK’ and this became a source of art materials and inspiration for collage in the following weeks.

We then used some of the tissue paper from the paper bank to create a collage for the book Little cloud. We started out with this simple book and then moved onto Papa, please get the moon for me?

I added FREE maps (more on how I used these in last months BLOG)that we had been given and had been used to extend learning. We talked about what collage is and that it is a word used to describe the process and end result. It is where you glue on a single surface various material.

As the round mirrors were so popular to paint on for the clouds I used these again abut as a surface to paint the moon.

In the final week of the challenge, we brought it all together and used the collage and art work to add to story baskets and our storytelling. I created the beautiful butterfly from the very hungry caterpillar story with the paper from our Paper Bank. This was a perfect addition to my FREE very hungry caterpillar posting tins.

The most popular story basket was Mr Seahorse and I am guessing because the children did the art work for the seahorses. The little cloud story basket was perhaps the easiest story basket to create as all the items were in the setting. And finally, Papa, please get me the moon? Which I kept natural and open ended for the children to add their imagination to.

There are plenty of other titles that I have made story baskets for and that could be used in the future for art provocations or inspiration.

They key is to be open and experiment like Eric Carle did.

Slowly, slowly

Panda bear, panda bear what do you see?

All of these story baskets have been sold to storybasketeers members and are part of the library that tells you where or how I made all the items in the basket. I also share masterclasses on sharing story baskets, story telling and group times in the membership.

Finally I got some Tuscan stones from Bunnings and have been making story stones. I LOVE the ones I have made for Brown bear, brown bear what do you see? My next blog will be about the others I have created and how simple they are to make.

Until next time.


P.S. there are affiliate links in this blog and if you use them I may get some money

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Thank you i really appreciated a fresh approach to these resources, especially this time of the year, winter brain syndrome.


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