The Cork Gatherers

story by Jane Jolly , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify and experiment with the effects of different visual techniques so that I can develop my skills as an illustrator.


Success criteria:

  • I can discuss how drawing techniques and different uses of colour contribute to the mood of an illustration
  • I can identify differences between the artistic styles used by illustrators
  • I can create my own illustration in a particular style


Before reading the story, show the illustrations by Michel Streich to the students. Ask them what mood or feeling they get from the pictures. Students are likely to give answers such as tired, sad or hot. Ask them to give reasons for their answers. These may include:

  • Characters have their heads down (including the donkeys)
  • They seem to be carrying heavy items
  • One man is leaning against a tree, probably for a rest
  • The background colouring and sun suggests it has been a hot day

After reading the story, ask students to take the time to study the two accompanying illustrations, then scan through the other texts in the magazine to compare these with the rest of the illustrations in this issue. Point out to students that each text is illustrated by a different artist.

Have students rule a line down the middle of a page in their book. On one side ask them to write their observations about the illustrations for The Cork Gatherers. These may include:

  • Only yellow and black are used, along with white to depict the sun
  • The black is used to create silhouettes of the characters and scenery
  • The yellow shown through the gaps in the black creates texture and depth
  • The difference in size of the characters and bark show the difference in distance of the two shots
  • The tone of the yellow captures the warmth of the air in the story
  • Shapes are used to show detail, rather than different colours.


In the other column, ask students to write about other illustrations in the magazine.  Encourage them to be specific. Answers may include:

  • The illustration in ‘Surfs Up, Way Up!’ Looks three dimensional because of the colours and tones used
  • The illustrator for Clouds has used colours and painting techniques to layer the tree over the top of the house, sky and mountains
  • The colours used in the illustration for Treasure Box Tin help create the mood and setting
  • The artist for Blue Banded Brothers uses fine detail in their illustration, including the branched hairs on the bees and the lines on the leaves.

If Issue 2 of Touchdown is available in the classroom, you may also wish to have students include the illustration from Michel Streich on page 25 in their comparisons so that two illustrations from the same artist are being compared.

Ask students if they have a preferred style of illustration in the ones they have analysed, and if so, discuss their opinions and reasoning. Have students choose one of the texts from the magazine and create their own illustration in the style of Michel Streich from this story by rereading their observations from their books.