Charlie Harper Cardinals

A twist on traditional cardinals, students viewed Charley Harper’s highly stylized animal illustrations for inspiration.

Charlie Harper Cardinals

Charlie Harper Cardinals

  1. INTRO: Use the document camera to show students pages from Charlie Harper ABC’s and 123’s books. Focus on the pages with birds.

  2. After viewing several works by Charley Harper ask students  to describe his style (bold, simple, colorful, and whimsical.)

  3. Tell students he uses the art style REALISTIC MINIMALISM (write on board) Ask students what they think that means. After calling on a few students clarify that it means realistic: things from real life and minimalism: using the most simple basic shapes

  4. Explain that they are going to make their own Realistic Minimalist picture of Charlie Harper’s Cardinal. They are going to use cut paper to create their project as a COLLAGE: “made by sticking together pieces of paper or photographs to form an artistic image”

  5. ask students to describe some simple shapes that they recognise in the cardinal shape

  6. have students move to assigned seats and pass out grey and white paper



Step 1: Draw a Horizontal Wavy Line across a white 12×18″ sheet of paper.

Step 2: Cut on the line and glue the bottom half to the bottom of 12×18″sheet of gray construction paper.

Step 3: Use newspapers (or old book pages) to create simple trees by cutting out long skinny rectangles for the trunks and smaller rectangles for branches. Tell students we want tall trees that reach all the way from the snow horizon line (line where the sky meets the ground) up to the top of the paper

**Stress to the students to only cut from parts of the newspaper that has words, don’t use pictures or advertisements

Charlie Harper Cardinals

-Glue the trees to the horizon line.  

Step 4: Create birds using red painted paper (already painted in a previous class) and  various colored construction paper and shapes.

-To create the bird shape have students draw on back of red painted paper either a large teardrop shape or if they have trouble with that have students draw a circle with a triangle on top. Cut and glue to background and then use colored paper scraps to add details.

Create a whimsical effect by adding berries, snow falling, birds nests, sticks on the ground, etc.

Students can find various colored paper in scrap bin (orginized by color)At the end of class make sure students return unused scraps (except teeny tiny ones) to correct drawer.

Charlie Harper CardinalsCharlie Harper CardinalsCharlie Harper CardinalsCharlie Harper Cardinals

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