Writing Process

July 5th, 2018

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Writing process starts with reading. Reading stories to little babies ignites imagination within them. Reading is a pre-requisite to writing well.

When my boys were at an age where they can speak but can’t write, I used to ask them to dictate a story. I’ll be their transcriber. I’ll ask questions such as why is this happening or how did this work, etc. so that the story makes sense and is complete. All these stories were bound in a folder, which is kept in our living room and whenever they want they can read it. They are amused and feel a sense of pride whenever they revisit these stories even at this age.

When they were older and were ready to write their own stories, the quality of the story deteriorated because they had to do their own writing. So, the solution for us was using computer. I let them make notes on paper and then I will type their story on word processor while they dictate. Gradually, they could type their own story on word processor. Using word processor took away the laziness of editing and rewriting the story. So, the stories were complete and sensible. The other element that really helped them was introducing a third person – an English teacher. So, they will sit with this teacher and edit all the stories when completed. The key is to take most of their compositions to a stage where it is complete and has been edited at least 2-3 times.

Again, all good stories that they have written so far are bound in a folder and it stays in our living room so that they can read them whenever they want. It serves as a source of inspiration and self-esteem.

Dry Cleaning and Framing Shops

June 29th, 2018

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In March, we visited Martinizing Dry Cleaning shop and Village Frame Shop. Both of these shops were such a huge hit with all the homeschoolers. I strongly recommend visiting a dry cleaning and a frame shop.

Here’s the dry cleaning shop:

Here’s the frame shop:

Pig Heart Dissection

June 28th, 2018

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Amit and the boys dissected pig’s heart and also sutured it as per instructions from Amit. I was absolutely not involved. Boys made it very obvious to me that they thoroughly enjoyed this activity. 

 

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 Lulu.com (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.