Introduction: SHORT STORY....Inspiration & Illustration

Picture of SHORT STORY....Inspiration & Illustration

Using a page from a discarded book my students write a short story, learn about illustration and create a work of art. This activity incorporates visual arts, language arts and recycling. I have done this project with all ages, beginner readers can produce pleasing results as long as they can identify one word. More proficient readers and artists can elaborate and create several pages.

Step 1: Supplies

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The supplies are simply an old discarded book, I like a book printed on a non glossy paper, few drawings or existing illustrations, with fairly large type. a variety of art materials that one can draw or paint with (collage also works ) I have found that cray-pas are not a good medium for this project because they are so soft and difficult to control. A larger base paper and a glue stick.

Step 2:

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Begin by scanning the page for words of interest or something one might enjoy drawing. When a word or two are discovered try to find other words to create an expression or short story. Using a pencil, lightly circle the word giving plenty of space around the chosen phrase. 

Step 3:

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All words should be identified with plenty of space around them

Step 4:

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I cannot express how important it is to allow for as much space as possible around your words of choice. When the illustration begins and paint or crayon or marker or whatever is applied that space around the words shrinks and one must give as much space as possible to begin with. I always explain to my students what they should NOT do, as in the next photo. 

Step 5:

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Now that your short story is selected. use a glue stick to glue the book page to a larger sheet of paper. Do not use a wet glue for this purpose it soaks the paper and will wrinkle the book page. I like to use watercolor paper for my base page, however, any multi purpose paper works well. 

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Begin your illustration. Explain to the students that an illustration is a visual explanation of the words that they have discovered for their short story. It can be an image presented as a drawing, painting, collage or other work of art that is created as a visual representation. I suggest that cray pas or pastels are not used for this activity because they are so soft and difficult to control. 

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Now that the illustration for the short story has ben outlined begin to add color and detail. 

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Watercolors are great for filling in areas, tempera, crayon resist, color pencil, assorted markers , collage, actually anything your students have used and are familiar with (except cray-pas or pastels) can be used to create the illustration. Get creative.

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Continue to add detail

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Rat Face kicked her with a positive attitude

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Biting off the nose is a tragic example of disguise

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Horror had met with the young man

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5 people in their bermuda shorts had great fun, of course.

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When the numbers had been stomped out and set fire to.

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A wave in the tea was facing him.

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He got to carry the little sailing ship and apparently he began to take part in the local church.

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I find her makeup colorful and her summer suit soiled

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On December 13th you would have seen the open eyed grandfather.

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We had to stay so closely with locked together noses.

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Many beautiful fish in the tropical seas would think of the large hook!

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The cheering brothers were a puppet.

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Sea Monsters carried whiskey and good spirits

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New born babies

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Every day the squat old dog would destroy 1200 men

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Creatures tumbled onto the floor with yells....

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and curses and cries of pain.


ManishP42 (author)2016-04-12

ManishP42 (author)2016-04-12

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rachel pallis (author)2012-04-25

I remember the first Short Story project of yours I ever saw..... LOVE THIS PROJECT! So much we might even try it at our next girls weekend.....
Good luck!

poofrabbit (author)2012-04-24

You my dear are a wealth of great ideas for the classroom! My librarian just asked me if I wanted to check out some of the books she was getting rid of and if I could use them in anyway in my art room, I LOVE this idea and now know I'm going to work tomorrow to say yes I will take them all! Yet another wonderful 'able!!

Thank you very much I'm pleased you like my projects. They are fun and i think your students will enjoy!

So much so I'm now stalking I mean following you ;-) You clearly have very lucky students!

Thank you

Ryan Diehl (author)2012-04-02

Wow Weeee Whooooooaaa Weeee!! I love it. Very creative!! The 1st one is my favorite. We should take an over head picture of your hand drawing it. And into the rabbit hole we go!!!


Margi Rountree (author)2012-04-01

I love the way your mind works. You have my vote always.

Thanks Margi!!!!

Lauren Huffman (author)2012-04-01

I love the way this art project incorporates writing and reading in the classroom! I voted! Thanks for sharing this great idea!!!

Thank you very much!!!

Barbara Stromberg (author)2012-04-01

It's wonderful to see your unique creativity on-line!!!
You have my vote....your students are so lucky to have you as an inspiration.

Thank You very much!!!!!

blossom9283 (author)2012-03-26

Love this idea! Voted for and Added to my Guide.


Just thought you'd like to see how I did:

build52 (author)2012-03-24

Awe-some!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I like it and I voted. Totally a Inspiration.

wilgubeast (author)2012-03-23

Awesome. Those look like awesome inspiration for a short story.

mistyp (author)2012-03-22

What fun! Definitely great ideas! Thanks for posting!

Susan Cirigliano (author)mistyp2012-03-22

Thanks, yes it is one of my favorite activities I do with my kids. I teach a group of 8-12 year olds in an art school and this is a perfect project for all ages!
Try it, it always produces very varied results!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to ... More »
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