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Beautiful Oops -- Perfect Picture Book Friday

Cover art for Beautiful Oops.

(As I typed the book title I actually typed Opps.) Oops!

Author/Illustrator: Barney Saltzberg

Publisher: Workman Publishing, New York, 2010

A novelty book with fold-outs, cut-outs and flaps, and loads of inspiration.

Opening Page:

First page, Big letters Oops! and then a tear in the right page with the words, A torn piece of paper . . .

The next page says, "is just the beginning!"

When you make a mistake, or goof, what do you do? Do you tear it up, hide it, crinkle it up and shove it to the bottom of the garbage can?

I sure have been there. I had a stack of crummy, average, and OK watercolor paintings. They used to drive me crazy, and I wondered if I would ever get the hang of painting. There are days I still wonder, but I love the way the colors blend, and the cool things you can make happen with watercolor. It's also filled with its own surprises and you have to enjoy the parts of it that you have no control over.

In October, I made a collage as part of my personal Creatober challenge. At the time, I thought it would be a one off collage and I would do different things all month. By the next day, I wanted to keep going.

collage of child catching heart shaped leaves falling from a tree
Day 1: Put a Little Love in Your Heart

To work on some skills in consistency of character and to see if a story would evolve out of playing with the same character. I traced the first rectangle which had been a scrap of a failed painting flipped to the clean side, onto a clean sheet of watercolor paper.

part of a painting that I cut apart.
The back of the first collage. An Oops with a new life.

And I made a second collage.

child laying on the ground playing with leaves under a blue sky floaty cloud say.
Day 2: Clouds

I had just learned how to make clouds with watercolor using a damp paper towel from Isabella Kung in an Illustration class.

More days, more collages. On the day of my prompt word glowing, I decided to make a sunset collage. I painted the background.

watercolor muddied colors and a mess.

I tried again.

Collage of a bright yellow sunset with water and rocky shore and child and dog watching the sun go down.

But what about the oops? I found a way to use that too.

Collage of a tortoise eating a cactus flower and a hare leaping over the tortoise.
Tuttle and Bit: A Retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare

See the cactus on the left? That was part of my oops. Other parts of the oops were used in another collage to make more cacti. The rocks are all made from other watercolors I have made, the prickly pear cactus is made from a brochure, wrapping paper, and more oopses.

You just never know what can be made from an oops until you experiment. Barney Saltzberg says, "When you think you have made a mistake (and what kid or grown-up hasn't), Think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful."

The magic of mistakes and experimentation is that you are always learning, you can see where things went wrong and try something new. Or maybe that mistake is just waiting for you to see what it was really meant to be.

It is when we stop making mistakes, stop trying, or we hide and bury our oppses (yes, I left that spelled wrong on purpose) that we stop growing, we feel shame, or believe we are incapable or bad at something. The reality is that we will always make mistakes. We will need to start again. Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes progress. It makes it easier to fix a mistake, easier to try again, and makes life much more fun in my opinion.

You can support the authors and illustrators by borrowing their books from your local library, purchasing them from your favorite local books store, or shop online from or Amazon. All links are affiliate links. If you purchase through my links, I may get a little kickback. I use the money to buy more books to read and share through blog posts and by donating the books to local organizations.

You may also want to pick up the second book, My Book of Beautiful Oops! There is a list of all the books that I have shared, picture books, and graphic novels, as well as some middle grade, and adult reading on my Bookshop page.

Last thing: You can see all of the collages I made in October on Instagram or Twitter. Use #sarahtobiascreatober to pull them all together.

1 comment

1 commentaire

I love your work, Sarah! And I love that you've given yourself a challenge to make art without striving for perfection. So key to making progress during the creative process. Thanks for posting this.

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