Get Crafty With Kids and This Inspiring Book from Pixar

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On Formation School graduation day, Gale should have been practicing her cloud shapes. Instead, she was Earth-gazing again. How would she ever show the Guardians that she could make shapes like the other cloudlets? She had been practicing all year and still….nothing. 

Cloud Country, written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Noah Klocek, teaches children to follow their inner voices and believe in their unique talents; those who don’t conform are often met with great reward. The easy-to-follow story line is punctuated by some out-of-this world vocabulary, too. Cumulonimbus, stratus, and other terms will engage curious readers.

Above all (see what I did there?), this is an absolutely gorgeous book.  Noah Klocek is an art director at Pixar, and his talents are as enormous as the sky he populates. Who knew there were so many shades of blue and purple?!  Cloud Country is part of a series that features work by Pixar Animators, and I can’t wait to get the rest of the books. This one, called Over There, looks equally engaging.

The illustrations in this book inspired my kids to create some cloud-shape process art. Here’s what we did:

The Invitation

Use white crayons to create hidden cloud shapes—just like Gale’s daydreams in Cloud Country
  • Cloud Country by Noah Klocek and Bonny Becker
  • Paper—I wanted to go large scale for my small kids, so I cut a piece from our big roll of watercolor paper. I like how this paper absorbed the excess moisture from my enthusiastic children to create some puffy cloud-like textures.
  • A few pieces of tape—I used some washi tape to secure the paper to the table. Love that stuff!
  • White crayons—Any color will do, but white is the most fun for this because the images are only revealed when the watercolor is applied—just like Gale’s daydreams in Cloud Country
  • Liquid watercolors—The ones we have aren't on Amazon right now, but these are comparable. Liquid watercolors are great for large surfaces and last a long time. (Get the same effect and reduce the mess with a simple set of pan watercolors like these.)
  • Brushes—I set out these and these.
  • Pipettes —Again, these are not strictly necessary. Pipettes are often recommended for toddlers and preschoolers because they are great for developing hand strength and dexterity and are so much fun to use.

The Process

The kids started with the white crayons and drew some cloud shapes on the paper.

Then, I mixed up some watercolors (blue and violet) and the kids swished, swirled, and dropped the colors all over to make the clouds and reveal the hidden shapes. 

Violá! If you try this at home, be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook. We had a lot of fun with this book, and I can’t wait to see what you are inspired to create.