Visual Arts Planning: Literacy

You can see all current topics in our visual arts planning series here.

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The links between art and literature are profound and expansive and there is no doubt that historically and culturally they have lived side by side since the dawn of civilization and breathe life into each other.

As well as an avenue to explore text and meaning through illustrative practice, Art can be used as part of the creative process to aid in the building and inventing of stories. 

Here we have collected some AccessArt resources which we feel might help illustrate the relationship between Literacy and Art and how they thrive together!


Drawing Stories

Children work with Paula Briggs to create drawings which tell stories: young children use toys, poetry and their own text to create richly illustrated narratives.

Make a 'Dummy book'

Book illustrator, Emma Malfroy, shares her creative journey through the preliminary stages of developing ideas and visual language for an illustrated book.

Illustrating the Jabberwocky

Artist Eleanor Somerset, shares how she worked with children and young people on a series of workshops to illustrate Lewis Caroll’s ‘The Jabberwocky’.

Inventing Mythical creatures

Children invent their own mythical creatures through drawing with artist Eleanor Somerset

bad cat: an illustration journey

Tracy McGuinness-Kelly describes how she inspired and enabled children to respond creatively to her own writing and illustration work, through the Bad Cat art week project.

drawing storyboards

Children explore how to draw storyboards as a way of developing both drawing skills and visual story telling skills with Paula Briggs.

poetry and printmaking

Printmaker Ann Bridges shares her love of poetry and printmaking in this illustrated resource, which enables children to make imagery inspired by poetry.

ink collage inspired by the wolf wilder

In this post artist Vicki Ostersen uses a well loved children’s book as a starter for creating a beautiful and varied collage using different inking techniques.

murals in schools

Designer and illustrator Tracy McGuinness-Kelly describes her creative process behind the co-creation of an indoor and an outdoor mural at two schools in England.

Making Broadway Market

Japanese Illustrator Natsko shares the inspirations and creative process behind this collaboration between her and publisher Design for Today’s folding book and card game.

Storytelling through etching

In this interview, multidisciplinary Artist Gabby Savage shares her love for story telling through etching, and tells us about her traditional printmaking process. This post may be of interest to those at secondary school.

Exploring Text and Creating Stories

Drawing by torchlight

Paula Briggs leads children on an exploration of charcoal to draw a still life of toys lit by torches, creating atmospheric drawings with a strong narrative content.

Found poetry

This inspirational resource describes how to use found words and imagery to create found poetry. Using paint and collage techniques, including sewing, the results are individual and highly transferable.

Aesmic or 'secret' writing

Artist Sue Gough describes her approach to drawing with layers of marks and scribbles; asemic text or “secret writing”, as well as actual words and sometimes, collage.

Printing repeat patterns of letters

Artist Andy McKenzie shows how to create repeat patterns of letters using print blocks. Each student is encouraged to create a simple block with their initial letter and then create patterns with it.

Using printing to explore gsce poetry

A session for teenagers exploring how a hands on creative activities might engage students in their revision, and how monoprinting and sketchbook processes might aid a personal connection to the poetry text.

silent conversation through graffiti

A group of teenagers use the floor to have a visual conversation with each other – to say what they needed to say in marks; rhythms and drawing.

drawing with indian ink

Illustrator Aurora Cacciapuoti shows her work to teenagers from AccessArt’s Experimental Drawing Class and showed them how to use ink and nib.

drawing with wire

Artist Julie de Bastion shares a wonderful workshop on drawing with wire and monoprinting, to enable participants to create a “story within a drawer”.

Shakespearean sock puppets

A project created with a Year 6 cohort who were studying Macbeth in Literacy and working towards a performance for a school Shakespeare Week.

large scale campaign posters!

Working together to create large scale, Suffragette inspired posters to support AccessArt’s campaign to highlight the importance of making.

Creating a poetry comic

As part of the DrawAble series of resources for learning at home or school, this resource will show children how to adapt poems into their own poetry comics.

responding to words through drawing

Thinking about the meaning of words and phrases, the imagery and themes they evoke and to express interpretations through drawing.

Inspired by Authors

Where The Wild Things Are

This page presents a series of resources which share drawing and making sessions inspired by Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”

Quentin Blake

Inspired by Quentin Blake’s drawings, this resource shares three simple exercises to help children draw from life, and explore how we might use exaggeration as a tool to help us convey the intention of our drawing.

Roald Dahl

Making a ‘James and the Giant Peach’ garden with artist Cordelia Spalding.

Outside The Classroom

An Interactive Post Office

Artist Rosalie Schweiker describes how she created an interactive community art project in a secondary school, where the pupils took on the roles of designer/makers and writers for the project.

Exploring Macbeth Through Art

A series of 6 sessions inspired by the themes and imagery of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Exploring A Midsummer night's dream through ART

A series of 6 sessions that explore the themes and imagery of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
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