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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

Inkblot Creatures

Every Art Studio intern at The Carle designs a special one-day art activity for Museum guests with the guidance and assistance of the Art Studio Educators. Laurie, one of our summer interns, hosted a special Studio activity exploring symmetry and color. Here is her report on the day.

This month's Special Sunday was my opportunity to design a project for all ages. I realized how tricky it was to come up with an idea that not only allowed as much freedom as possible, but also encouraged our guests to be imaginative. After discussing a few ideas, we agreed upon an acitivity and called it Inkblot Creatures. It is inspired by the famous Rorschach Tests, which are symmetrical inkblots used to study peoples personality characteristics when they report the images they see in the forms.

The paint we used for this project was liquid watercolors, which worked well for a few reasons: they dry relatively quickly (when used moderately), they can be drawn on with watercolor crayons, and the colors bleed together quite beautifully.

To create an inkblot creature, guests were invited to use a pipette dropper to put a few drops of each color on their paper, fold it in half along a center crease, then press and rub all around the folded paper. When they opened the paper back up, the paint had squished and spread into an interesting and colorful form!

After thinking for a few moments and turning their paper to get different views, guests used their imagination to draw in the rest of the creature with a black watercolor crayon. Some guests were inspired to see things besides creatures, like tree bark, a sunset, or a princess in their work too. I prepared watercolor paper by pre-folding it so there would be a crease down the middle. I also mounted it on larger black paper, which gave it a frame but also allowed room for the paint to bleed onto if it went off the sides of the white.

At first I put the paints in a shallow dish, but I noticed that sometimes a guest was tempted to use ALL of it at once, so I tried using a smaller cap to encourage using an amount of paint that made sense for the size of the paper. The project works best when starting with a just little paint, then adding more as you go. I only put out red, yellow, and blue so beautiful secondary colors would appear when the paint bled together.

This project is not only a lesson on symmetry, it is also surprising and inspires the imagination. We hope you try it for yourself!



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 



by Meghan Burch

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 at 12:47 pm and is filed under Internship Program, Elementary School, Every Day Art Program, Mixed Media, Nature, Painting, Preschool, Printmaking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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