Friday, October 12, 2012

Picture Book Pictures


THE TEN BASIC PRINCIPLES OF PICTURE IN PICTURE BOOKS
    

Adapted from: Picture This: Perception is Composition by Molly Bang
    

1    1.  "Smooth, flat, horizontal shapes give us a sense of stability and calm... Humans are most stable when we are horizontal, because we can't fall down." Other examples: horizon line, triangle base.
   

 2. "Vertical shapes are more exciting and more active...." Objects like trees, churches and skyscrapers "require a great deal of energy to build... release a great energy when they fall." Example: a person going from sitting to standing. Note: a horizontal plane atop verticals, e.g., table, house, temple, convey both stability and pride.
    

3. "Diagonal shapes are dynamic because they imply motion and tension." Examples: branches, mountain slopes. They also can supply perspective, e.g., a road leading us into or away from picture; and add support and connection, e.g., buttress or strut. Note: "A triangle placed on a flat base gives a feeling of stability." A tipped triangle can convey motion, instability, direction.
    

4. "The upper half of a picture is a place of freedom, happiness, and triumph.... The bottom half of a picture feels more threatened, heavier, sadder, or more constrained; objects placed in the bottom half also feel more grounded. '... An object placed higher up on the page has greater pictorial weight.'"
   

  5. "The center of the page is the most effective 'center of attention.' It is the point of greatest attraction." Note: Much delight can be found outside the center in images that are ironic, undermining, humorous, threatening, etc.
    

  6. "White or light backgrounds feel safer to us than dark backgrounds because we can see well during the day and only poorly at night." Exceptions might include finding safety in the dark; feeling exposed and vulnerable in the spotlight or alone on an ice mass.
    

7. "We feel more scared looking at pointed shapes; we feel more secure or comforted looking at round shapes or curves."
    

8. "The larger an object is in a picture, the stronger it feels.... We associate size with strength -- strength of any sort." E.g., mental, spiritual, etc.
   

 9. "We associate the same or similar colors much more strongly than we associate the same or similar shapes."
    

10. We notice contrasts, ... contrast enables us to see.


Shea, Pegi D. (2010).  Eliciting picture book responses up and down the grade level ladder, and back and forth across the curriculum.  New England Reading Association Journal.  December Issue. 

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