Aug 3, 2016

The Red Tree

Image from Shaun Tan's 'The Red Tree'.
Australian Book Week is coming up with the theme this year being 'Australian Stories'. 

These grade three artworks are inspired by the children's book 'The Red Tree', written and illustrated by West Australian author and artist Shaun Tan.

The story is inspired by the experience of depression. The main character is a lonely little girl. Almost unnoticed in each illustration, a red leaf follows the girl throughout her day. On the book's last page, the girl stands smiling at a beautiful red tree, growing in her bedroom. 
 The students and I discussed the symbolism in the book before they created their own artwork showing the contrast between despair and hope.

Students were asked to create a dark background inspired by the book's images of confusing cityscapes. They used pieces of card and found objects such as plastic lids dipped into paint. I then asked students to add a red tree of any size somewhere in their picture. They were given their choice of medium, choosing collage, pastels, paint, glitter, markers and more. 

I have included so many images of the children's work as I find each one inspiring in its originality. 


  1. I love this project! I've never read the book, but now I'm interested! Beautiful artwork :)

  2. Oh my goodness! These are fantastic! I love the idea of using found objects to print a city...also am floored by the abstract red trees. I jave stumbled upon your blog via pinterest and am happy I have! Thank you for sharing.


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