Video 38: Thumbprint Art

Do you remember drawing mustache marks on someone’s picture? How about finding a smudge on a piece of paper and turning that into a masterpiece of sorts? And how about being bored in class, producing beautiful doodles on paper?

Nowadays, this is possible in a number of ways that range from computer software to smart phone apps to good old ink and paper – my favorite! When children are learning to read and write, we offer them “word rings” with familiar words they can use in their notes to each other, or their loved ones. They copy those words and often start branching off to bigger words from those “base words” they got when they first started this process.

Well, drawing uses much the same idea and Ed Emberley’s work offers a wonderful foundation for children to use in the development of their drawing skills – yet one more way to express their ideas, imagination, feelings and messages! After the initial stage, children benefit much from problem solving on their own. “How will I draw a cape to show that I am flying on my back?,” one of the children asked. And, just like that, without models, or examples, he figured it out with the help of time spent with the books, practicing solving problems to draw arms, legs and hats on thumbprints!

Some time ago, Ed Emberley published a series of books that taught children – and adults as well – how to draw using our very own thumbprint, markers and stamp pads. He added stick-figure-style lines to bring those prints to life! He is quite an accomplished illustrator and you can watch this inspiring and beautiful short documentary about him here: Ed Emberley’s Documentary

Finally, adding comic book structure, if this is what your child is into, adds so much to the story telling and the excitement that children develop about writing. Maybe you can join in that fun, too!

Set-Up for Episode #39:

  • Stamp pads, or paint on sponges. Markers on fingers work quite well.
  • Paper, paper plates, or anything that holds print
Any stamp pad will work with this project. If you don’t have it at home, you can drop some paint on a paper towel.
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The children used click-on permanent markers for this episode but just about any writing tool will do!
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Portion from one of the comics.
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A thumbprint was not enough for these boys : )
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And Luc did not limit himself to one color either!
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Ed Emberley does a wonderful job explaining to children how to draw by adding lines to the thumbprints. This was drawn by André but was inspired by Emberley’s art.
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Sometimes, there are no lines at all!
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A “thumbprint alien!”
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More ideas.
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 Another final sample of their comic art with thumbprints only : )
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Have fun and Go Beyond The Classroom!

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