by Catherine Nash

Teachers: Ideas for using handmade paper

“Illuminated” Letters: In very old, handwritten and handpainted books from the middle ages in Europe, but also found in books from the Oriental and Islamic cultures, the first letter of a sentence or paragraph was drawn much larger than the text, and very decorated often with real gold. The illustrations around and intertwined with the letter would give hints to the reader about the subject of the story to come.

It helps the student to begin by filling the handmade sheet with a capitol letter, drawing very lightly. (The first letter of their first name, for instance.) Teach them how to change a simple into a block letter (not 3D).

Continue to draw lightly. Using overlapping, (one object is in front of another), design a letter with an animal or character wrapped around it . Demonstrate how to draw with an object in front of and behind the letter. Create their design of choice, entwining it around the block letter. They will have to erase some areas of the letter where the design goes in front.

Color with markers and outline the image to make it pop out vibrantly.


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