de Youngsters Studio: Make an Art Book in the Style of Fernand Léger
By Raphael Noz, senior teaching artist
September 17, 2021
Although Fernand Léger is better known for his Cubist paintings (also called “Tubist,” as his figures tend to rely on tube shapes), he also made beautiful illustrated books. This one illustrates La fin du monde filmée par l’ange N.-D. (1919), by the writer Blaise Cendrars. Let’s follow his stencil technique to make a booklet of our own.
- 3-5 sheets of blank copy or drawing paper (8 1/2 x 11 in. works well)
- Pencil or other tool for drawing
- Paintbrushes (ideally one wide, flat one for stencils plus one small one for details)
- 2 or 3 colors of tempera or acrylic paint (primary colors or others)
- Stencil material: flat, thin pieces of plastic or cardboard (for example, a berry basket or cereal box)
- Masking tape
- Text / letters: letter stencil kit or letter stamp kit (optional)
- CD case or small book to line up letters (optional)
Questions / Ideas to Consider
- Will your booklet have a story or just images?
- Will your booklet show a collection of similar things or different things?
- For generating booklet ideas, simplest is best. Do you have a small collection of objects, for instance? What shapes can you find in your objects? Look for the simplest shapes to highlight in your booklet.
1. Fold and staple 3 or 4 sheets of paper to make a booklet.
2. Draw a picture on one side of each booklet page with your pencil and eraser.
3. Choose a simple shape in each drawing. With a paintbrush and paint, paint only the chosen shapes.
4. Make a stencil for each colored shape with cardboard and scissors. For choosing a stencil shape, again, simplest is best, so that you can easily cut it out.
5. Mask off the stencil area with masking tape and paint around your stencil.
6. Once dry, add text to your booklet using your stencil kit, stamp kit, or pencil. If using stamps, align your stamps to a CD case or small book to make them straight.
After creating your booklet, consider the following questions:
- How was making a booklet different than making a few drawings?
- What stencil shapes would you like to have or make?
- If you made another booklet, would you make a story or just a collection of images?
A booklet is a lovely gift for a loved one—especially if it includes them in it! If you leave the inside front page blank, you can write a dedication to the future recipient.
We would love to see what you create! Email pictures of your artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on any social platform with #deyoungsters.