by TeacherLem Iglesias


Book Illustration is always a fun-filled activity. It gives students a chance to stretch their imagination as much as they can using a given text. It’s a pretty good form of assessment on how they understand the idea behind a poem or a story (therefore it could be linked to a lesson in their English or Literature class). It’s also a good way to determine their skill level in drawing and colouring. However, the one that makes me excited in this activity is the way they interpret the world around them visually. They produce drawings reminiscent of of Picasso, Miro and Miyazaki without even trying 🙂



Samples Created by: Primary 4

Age: 9-10 years old



  • A4 Bristol or Watercolour Paper

  • HB Pencil

  • Watercolours

  • Markers




To motivate the students on doing the activity, I started by introducing them to a couple of children’s book. We picked two classics: Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. It would be perfect if your school library has copies of these books that you can borrow and show to the class. The Very Hungry CaterpillarThe_Giving_Tree


I used a projector to show each page while reading them with the class. They loved it of course and everyone participated well during our discussion, since most of them have read both and are familiar with the stories.


Afterwards, I introduced to them a poem by Miranda Will — posted on http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-snowy-sunset/ :


Snow Snow on the ground

Sun is sinking down down down

Trees trees covered in Wight

People gasp at the sight


Snow Snow on the ground

Animals scurry all around

Snow Snow in your hair

Stiffness and cold in the air


Snow Snow on the ground

People sledding down down down

Hot Coco and coffee inside

Why not go for another sled ride


Snow Snow on the ground

The sun has set past the ground

Lights light up the city bright

People every where say what a sight


We discuss the poem to make sure they understand it, then I ask them to do a head count from one to sixteen (“one-two-three… fourteen-fifteen-sixteen”) ; each number corresponds to a line of the poem. So, if a student is “one” he would have to illustrate “Snow Snow on the ground”. Number two would then illustrate “Sun is sinking down, down, down” and so on.


To help them visualise how the drawing should look, I engage them in doing a mind map with a prompt question: “What images do you think should we see in our drawings based on the first verse of the poem?”


Here’s what we came up with:





To better understand, see MIND MAPPING Activity here >> CLICK THIS LINK.




STEP 1: Based on the mind map and the assigned line of the poem, ask the students to do their best to draw/illustrate that part of the poem. Use a pencil.

This part is often free wheeling. I try not to interfere with their creative process, except maybe in the following:


  • If the drawing is too small that the lines might overlap when they use the marker.
  • If there are too many images on the page that it will be too difficult to colour and ink within the given timeframe, which in my class is 80 minutes per meeting.
  • If the student is just goofing around, not focussed on the task at hand and sometimes lost on what to do next. I help them as best as I can; call their attention, even explaining the whole thing again in the simplest way possible.


STEP 2:  Colour the areas of your choice using watercolours.

What do students love more than drawing– Painting! This is the part where students have a lot of fun with crazy, unpredictable colour combinations. I do tell them to limit their colours to about 3-5 colours to avoid really going overboard and end up with a messy looking work.


STEP 3: Draw over your pencil lines using a black marker

To finalise their work, I ask them to go over their pencil lines with a marker. This helps to hide the colours that went over their designated areas, giving the drawing a cleaner look.




Ask the class to vote on which drawing would they want to appear in the book to illustrate each line of the poem. With the poem having 16 lines, sixteen drawings will be needed, plus two more– one for the front cover and one for the back cover. A total of 18.

See our blog post on how to help the students choose the best art work: EXHIBITION, PRESENTATION AND EVALUATION (please create a specific criteria for this project) >> CLICK THIS LINK.



After finalising which drawings will appear on the book, I scanned each drawing. Then I used Adobe Photoshop to add the text on each artwork.


Here’s the first five pages of my art class’ first children’s book:



by Ploy, Primary 4P

by Ploy, Primary 4P




by Miemie, Primary 4J

by Miemie, Primary 4J



by Austin, Primary 4J

by Austin, Primary 4J



by Jai-Jai, Primary 4P

by Jai-Jai, Primary 4P



my Ming-ming, Primary 4P

my Ming-ming, Primary 4P



Send me an email at mr_lem@ymail.com  if you like a free PDF copy of the book.




Photo: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle from



Photo: “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein from



“A Snowy Sunset” by Miranda Will from



The student artists who worked so hard on their art pieces:

Ploy, Miemie, Austin, Jai-jai, Ming-Ming, Thee, Ployfa, Hanna, CJ, Min-min, La Lisa, Zene, Focus, Dean, Third, Prim, Stefan


Our school who’s looking forward to our next book 🙂




More ART PROJECT PHOTOS… CLICK THIS LINK>>  https://instagram.com/teacherlem/



I hope you and your kids will have as much fun as we did with this project.


See you next time    🙂


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