On November 17, preschool through 4th-grade students were visited by local author and illustrator of A Home Under the Stars, Andy Chou Musser. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, A Home Under the Stars shares the difficulty of change and the range of emotions that can come with it.
The story is told through the eyes of Toby, a young boy who moves from his rural house to an urban apartment. We watch as he searches for comfort and belonging in his new home, and finds it with a little help from some magical friends.
Andy began by sharing his journey to becoming an author and illustrator.
Through photos of his family, stories, and drawings from his childhood, students learned that Andy’s love of drawing and books began at a very young age. “I have always loved picture books. I went to the library a lot when I was a kid. I loved drawing and painting and went to school to study it. Now through writing my book, I’ve become a better writer and I love writing too.”
After a read-aloud of A Home Under the Stars, Andy shared his process of writing the story and creating the illustrations for the book. Gaining inspiration from local architecture and landscapes, Andy incorporated many Seattle landmarks into his illustrations; including the Space Needle, the Fremont Bridge, downtown street art, Harbour Island cranes, and Washington State Ferries.
Through a time-lapse video, Westside Students watched the creation of an illustration from beginning to end. They watched in awe as Andy painted shapes, colors, and layers to create the picture before it was edited and adjusted digitally to create the final product. While the time-lapse illustration was completed in 60 seconds, Andy shared that the actual illustration took over 6 weeks to complete.
Andy worked with Westside students to create two incredible pieces of collaborative artwork. Classes took turns sharing different animals and watching as Andy took their suggestions and incorporated parts of each animal together to create a Miximal. Can you spot the frog, dragon, rattlesnake, unicorn, turtle, cat, flamingo cyclops, elephant, eagle, wolf, rabbit, mermaid, and koala?
Students asked thoughtful questions to gain a deeper understanding of the writing and illustration process:
- Do you draw first or write first?
- What is your favorite animal to draw?
- Why picture books?
- What gave you the idea for constellations?
- How long did it take to make the whole book?
- What do you do when you make a mistake?
We are so thankful to Andy for providing this incredible opportunity for our Westside students. You can learn more about Andy and his work here.