How to Make Your Own Illustration from Children of the Sun

April 20th, 2018

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Have you ever used salt in an art project? I have, and it was very fun. Read on, and you can make your own!

After I wrote Children of the Sun, my family and I thought it would be even better if we could get bold, colorful, vivid illustrations made for the book. We wanted these to be good illustrations, not just amateur drawings, but we also hoped it could be drawn by the hand of a child. Then, we were able to find the solution—our art teacher, Mrs. Vicki Farmer, would help us—that is, my younger brother Arjun and myself—make the illustrations. Thanks to her, this book has become enriched with these illustrations.

I had a lot fun making these illustrations. It was hard work sometimes, but the end results were very rewarding. Here, I’m going to describe how I made two of the illustrations in our book. You can easily make them, too, with common household items (except for the SpinArt machine, which you would have to find at a store).

My favorite illustrations were the Angry Sun and the Calm Sun. These were both made in a very similar manner. We had to make the sun and its background separately. I made the Angry Sun and my brother made its background, while he made the Calm Sun and I made its background. That way, both illustrations were a combined effort of both of us.

Here’s how:

1) In order to make the suns themselves, we each took a piece of 8.5x11 cardstock and placed it onto a SpinArt machine. When you turn on this machine, it spins in a circle around and around. You can adjust the speed, too. Once the paper was on the machine and it was spinning, we could take a paint bottle and just squeeze it onto the paper. Because the paper was spinning and our paint bottle squeezing paint down on top of it was stationary, the paint would end up on the paper in a circle. The design or color pattern that comes out cannot be predetermined, but since I used warm colors—oranges, reds, and yellows—in my spin art, the result is a blend that portrays a feeling of the hot sun.

2) Then, we waited for all the paint to dry before using scissors to cut the spin art into a sun shape, with pointed edges.

3) Next, we had to paint a face onto the spin art sun shape. First we sketched (with a pencil) a round face with eyebrows, eyes, a nose, and a mouth onto the sun, and then we went over it with metallic bronze paint. For the Angry Sun, we also colored in the iris (that is, all of the eye except the pupil, which was colored bronze already), nose, and wrinkles with silver paint.

4) Now that our suns were ready and the paint was drying, we set to work making the backgrounds. We each took an 8.5x11 sheet of watercolor paper and some shades of blue, black, and purple watercolor paints. We painted most of the edges of the sheets with these colors. We used much more of the black for the Angry Sun, and more light blues and purples for the Calm Sun. We didn’t have to paint in the center of the sheet, because we knew the suns would cover anything that was there once we glued them on. After we had finished painting the papers, we each took a pinch of salt and sprinkled it all over the freshly painted papers. Then we waited for the papers to dry.

The salt caused all the watercolor to spread and form a very pretty design that you may notice on the finished artwork, especially that of the Calm Sun. After everything had dried, we brushed all the remaining salt off so that only the design made by the watercolor paint stayed.

5) Finally, when both the suns and their backgrounds had dried, we used glue to paste each sun onto its background. Also, when we had cut our spin arts into sun shapes, we had saved the scraps that were left behind. We now glued those scraps onto the background papers, as well, to add to the effect of the suns.

I really hope you enjoy this illustration and everything else in our book. Maybe you could even try making a spin art with the salt effect yourself. And if you do, have fun!

— Kabir Blake Gupta, Author/Co-Illustrator

Have you ever used shaving cream for an art project?

April 5th, 2018

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When my brother wrote the poem “Children of The Sun,” we loved it so much that we wanted to get it illustrated. I really wanted to do the illustrations. So, my mother spoke to our art teacher, Ms. Vicki Farmer. She agreed and guided my brother and me in illustrating this poem. I was very excited when we started doing them. Here I’ll describe the steps of one of the illustrations done by me.

1. First I took a can of Barbasol shaving cream and sprayed it on a foil-covered tray.
2. Then I put dots of brown, gold, and blue acrylic paint all over the shaving cream.
3. Next I took a pencil and made swirls in the shaving cream.
4. Then I put a piece of paper on the shaving cream and pressed down lightly.
5. Next I took the paper off of the shaving cream and scraped the extra shaving cream off with a squeegee.
6. Finally I let it dry for one hour.

In all, this took half an hour for the creation and one hour for the drying. I hope you like my illustration, and feel free to try it out.

– Arjun Gupta (co-illustrator of Children of The Sun)

Please buy this book at (you should be able to find coupons).  It’s a 50-page full color book.  Here’s the Facebook page for Children of The Sun.

Science Fair 2018

March 23rd, 2018

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Boys participated in MSEF Region VII Lower Science Fair at Ole Miss.  Arjun won 2nd place in the category of Physics and Astronomy and Kabir won 1st place in the category of Engineering.  Also, Kabir’s project has been nominated for Broadcom Masters.

Arjun’s project was “Morse Code: Is it Still Useful in the Modern World?

The abstract of his project was:
Morse code is a form of communication made up of dots and dashes that grew popular in the 1800s. I wanted to know if Morse code was still useful in the modern world. I hypothesized that Morse code could still be used as a tool of communication. I created a telegraph and sent the same message to seven different people. I observed the time taken to send and understand the messages, and the accuracy of the sent and recieved messages. The original message was the word “AMERICA.” After performing this experiment and analyzing the results, I concluded that Morse code can still be used as an effective tool of communication, although text messaging is much faster and more accurate. However, Morse code can still be used by hobbyists and for fun (like sending secret messages to friends). Also, if people find themselves in an emergency situation and they don’t have modern means of communication, they will still be able to communicate using Morse code.


Kabir’s project was “Which Air Foil Creates the most Lift?

The abstract of his project was:
I asked a question: Which airfoil, or wing design, creates the most lift? I experimented with the shape of the airfoil, changing the upper and lower cambers, or curves, for six different wing designs. This was the only variable I tested. I hypothesized that the Thin Deep Camber airfoil would create the most lift. The Thick Deep Camber would be second, and the Low Camber would be third. The GA(W)-1 airfoil would be fourth, and the Symmetrical airfoil would be fifth. The Low Lift would be next. The plain block would create no or very little lift, putting it as the least. I researched and learnt about the forces of flight (lift, weight, thrust, and drag), the Bernoulli Principle and the Coand? effect, wing shapes and airfoil designs, and more. Then, I gathered my materials and conducted my experiment, which involved making airfoil templates, tracing airfoil designs onto styrofoam blocks, and using an electric foam cutting pen to cut out the airfoil. I repeated this for the other five designs on the remaining blocks. I used a fixed wind source and a weighing scale to find the lift (in grams) created by each airfoil design. My results showed that the Symmetrical airfoil created the most lift, followed by the Thin Deep Camber. Therefore, I concluded that my hypothesis was incorrect. However, there were several technical limitations to my experiment that may have affected the final results.


Oil Exploration with Arjun

March 10th, 2018

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After having read about oil exploration, we repeated the experiment that we had done with Kabir in 2014.  We filled a shoebox with sand and small stones and somewhere in between, I hid a small plastic box with green and blue colored dishwashing liquid to represent oil.  We taped a graph paper on top of the shoebox.  We marked the directions for North, South, East and West.  Then Arjun started exploring for oil by digging into our pretend earth with skewers.  When he hit the spot, we used a pipette to suck out the oil.  He had fun doing this.

Pied Piper Players

March 9th, 2018

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Pied Piper Players is the local children’s theater.  My boys feel at home with this group.  So far, Arjun has participated in 5 plays produced by Pied Piper Players and Kabir has participated in 6 plays.  Both of them are currently practicing for the play “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”  Both of them have participated in 1 Tupelo Community Theater – off-Broadway show.

In Fall 2017, Arjun took part as Alex in the play: “The Magic Wishing Ring.”  His performance was outstanding!

In Fall 2017, Kabir took part in the following play: “It’s an Okie Dokie Life!”  He was the main character, Joe.  He really enjoyed being a cowboy and we were very impressed with his performance.  One of the scenes required Kabir to be on stage and looking at himself in the past.  Arjun played the role of Joe in the past.  As part of Pied Piper Players, boys took part in the annual Christmas Parade in Tupelo.