“Webb’s Wondrous Tales”— Art Content for Book Illustrations Lesson Plan

Program/Lesson 1 for “Webb’s Wondrous Tales”
Art Focus

Ages: Grades 5 and up

Materials Required:
Book – “Webb’s Wondrous Tales Book 1” by Mack H. Webb, Jr.
White cardstock /newsprint/construction paper

Student Preparation:

Read “Webb’s Wondrous Tales Book 1” by Mack H. Webb, Jr.

Objectives: (Language Arts, Art)

Students will:
Create an illustration for a book.
Identify unique requirements for art created to illustrate books.
Identify characters and objects to include in the illustration.

Overview: This lesson focuses on some of the unique aspects of creating book illustrations. Art that is created specifically for illustrating books has to meet particular requirements including aspect ratio considerations, medium selection, and art content. This lesson familiarizes students with some of the special considerations for creating art specifically for use in books with a focus on the content requirement.

Set Up: For the discussion section below, arrange chairs in a circle to allow for better communication between students. Use butcher block paper on an easel or a Powerpoint slide display to display the question being discussed and to jot down major discussion points.

For the activity section, provide students individual workspace at a table or desk with paper and drawing tools (pencils, pens, markers).


1. Students are to prepare for the beginning of this program by reading “Webb’s Wondrous Tales Book 1” prior to the start of the session.

2. Define the unique requirements of book illustration: Begin by discussing the idea of illustrating books. In Western cultures, book illustration started during medieval times when each book was handwritten and illustrated. Most books were produced by religious orders and dealt with religious topics. The most commonly made book was the Bible, but there were also religious essays and books of prayers. When the printing press was invented by Gutenberg in the 1450’s, the method of including illustrations changed. A wood cut, where a drawing was carved in reverse on a wood tablet and then inked and pressed on paper, was one of the first methods used. In fact, wood cuts were also used by Asian cultures, particularly the Chinese and Japanese, long before Western cultures started to use them. Other printing techniques that developed over time included the letterpress and the offset lithograph. Computer-aided techniques and printers like ink jets and lasers are widely used today.

Discuss what makes book illustrations different from creating a picture to hang on the wall. Your group may identify factors other than those listed below. All of these factors provide boundaries and guidance for the creation of appropriate art. Points to cover include:

  1. the size of the book as it will influence the art,
  2. aspect ratio (width to height of the space the drawing is intended to fill),
  3. dealing with book gutters (the edge of the bound page),
  4. the art must reinforce the book by using the characters and objects appropriate to the story
  5. the art must create the feel of the story (happy, sad, majestic, old, techie, etc),
  6. the art should reflect the intended reader of the book (young children, teens, adults, ethnic group, cultural group, gender group, etc)
  7. the art must be able to be scanned or photographed so it can be uploaded on the computer. The art may also be created on the book pages themselves.

3. Identify characters and objects to include in the illustration: The content of the drawing is critical. It must help the reader understand the story’s concept. Have the students re-read the story “Can You Keep a Secret?” from “Webb’s Wondrous Tales Book 1”. In this example, focus on the ending scene of the story. Discuss the following questions.

  1. What is happening in the final scene?
  2. Where is the final scene taking place?
  3. Is this a “close-up” scene or one at a distance?
  4. Who are the important characters?
  5. What objects are important to have in the picture to show where the final scene is taking place?
  6. What objects are important to have in the picture to show what is happening?

4. Draw/Paint the illustration: Now that you have defined the characters and objects to include in the drawing, have each student draw an illustration for the final scene in the story “Can You Keep a Secret?”

5. When the drawings are completed, have the owner of each drawing display it to the group and explain why certain choices were made in deciding what to include in the illustration.

6. Conclusion: This lesson explored some of the unique requirements of book illustration. It looked at art content and the importance of the content to the illustration the artist creates to support the story. In addition, each student had the opportunity to create an illustration specifically designed for a book.

Book for Lesson Plan

Webb’s Wondrous Tales Book 1

Twenty-six tales of the magical and fantastic.

Size: 6 in. W X 9 in. H
Pages: 184
Black and white illustrations: 30
363 word glossary
ISBN: 0-9779576-1-6
Price: $14.95

Other Items of Interest

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