Story Time with Mills Brown: Beatrix Potter


Beatrix Potter, beloved children’s author and illustrator, began her life as an artist by drawing the world around her. She would collect specimens from nature, and fill up page after page with her illustrations.

For this project, we will create our own “specimen book” of our surroundings! We will start inside, documenting the shapes and textures of each room of our house. We’ll practice the method of frottage, creating prints of the textures in our homes.
Download Art Project
What you will need:

• White computer paper
• Pencil
• Colored pencils and/or crayons
• Scissors
• Glue
• Optional materials: stapler, or hole punch and string (for book binding); watercolors or markers (for adding more color to illustrations)

1. Take 4 or 5 pieces of paper and fold them in half to create your book.

2. Bind your book by 1) folding a tight crease or 2) stapling the edges or 3) punching holes down the side and weaving a string through.

3. Design the cover of your book.

4. Begin documenting textures in your house with the frottage technique. Take a loose sheet of paper and lay it on top of an interesting texture (some examples of textured objects are: tiles, woodgrain, legos, pennies, buttons, the bottom of your shoes, picture frames – and you can find many more!)

5. With a crayon or colored pencil, gently color on top of the paper, with the object underneath, to create a rubbing.

6. Cut out your texture rubbings to glue them down in your specimen book.

7. Think about how your book will be organized: will you make a different page for each room in your house? Will it be color coded? Will your frottage prints be labeled? Will your prints and drawings be on the same page, or separated?

8. Further decorate your book with illustrations, written descriptions, and if you’re able, drawings from a walk outside.
Additional Resources:

Peter Rabbit Collage Project
If you want to make more art with Beatrix Potter at home, check out this additional collage project! Download and print out the art project, cut out the individual figures found on pages 3 and 4, and then create a landscape of Mr. McGregor’s garden, with Peter hiding somewhere inside.

Here’s a great re-telling of Peter Rabbit online:

The last step is to share your art with us! We want to see your specimen books and your collages! Tag us @arlingtonartscenter with the hashtag #aacartonline.

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