Get into visual art with a pet-friendly post featuring our top five woofy, waggily dog-inspired activities for At the Dog Park by Moira Court

At the Dog Park is a picture book about dogs and opposites. It is for younger readers who love dogs and rhyming words. Moira Court got the idea after adopting her beautiful kelpie mix Lucy from SAFE Perth – an animal rescue organisation. (Lucy is on the front cover!)

Moira handcrafted every illustration using printmaking techniques, such as woodcuts, lino block prints, screen-prints and card cuts, which are collaged for a textured, layered effect. To get your kids into visual art, we thought we’d share our top classroom activities for At the Dog Park.

Puppet show

Create popstick puppets of the various dogs in the book. Materials could include geometric cardboard shapes, felt, cellophane and recycled materials.

Animal sculpture

Create a sculpture of your favourite dog using plasticine, clay or recycled materials. Create a shoebox diorama of the dog park for your pooch to play in.

Pet portrait

Create a portrait of your pet (or dream pet) in the style of Moira Court. Experiment with paper collage; styrofoam block printing; simple repetitive shapes; ink and stencils; and recycled paper offcuts (different colours/patterns/textures). Customise a bowl, collar or leash for your dog.

Styrofoam printing

Etch a picture of your favourite dog in the book on an A4 piece of foam using a sharp pencil. Next, cover this etching with ink using a roller. Finally, flip the etching over and, with the wet side facing downward, press firmly onto paper to create your very own print. You may wish to repeat this process using different coloured inks to create multiple layers.

Collagraph printing

Cut an A4 base from cardboard food packing such as a cereal box to design the background for an illustration. Stick on different textured materials to create your background scene at the dog park (e.g. sand, leaves, tissue paper, crepe paper,masking tape, sticky tape, layered paper collage, PVA glue,string, ribbon). Seal with shellac. Next, cover sealed side with block ink using a roller. Finally, flip this cardboard textured stamp over and, with the wet side facing downward, press firmly onto paper and apply pressure with a clean roller or printing press. Leave to dry. Finally, create your dog by cutting up, collaging and layering different colours/textures/patterns of recycled paper on a separate piece of A4 paper. When satisfied, cut out dog and glue onto your textured background.

For more teaching activities, download the free teaching notes here.

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