Home » Blog » Children’s Illustrators #4: David Shannon

Children’s Illustrators #4: David Shannon

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, children are introduced to the basic elements of David Shannon’s artistic style.  They will complete a “No David” mask to show their understanding and to make a classroom display.  The “No David” mask can also be used as a writing prompt.

Lesson Plan:


Identify and describe the artistic style of illustrator David Shannon.

Suggested Time:

45 min – 1 hour

Success Criteria:

Students will be able to recognize a David Shannon picture or book and describe basic elements of his style.  Students will also complete a “David Mask) using the style of illustrator David Shannon.


Review elements of the last illustrator you taught or lead a short discussion around the following key questions:

  1. What do we mean when we say “the arts”?
  2. Can you name some different kinds of art?
  3. Why do artists create?
  4. What can we learn from looking at a piece of art?


Today we’ll look at the work of author/illustrator, David Shannon.  We’ll do the following things together:

  1. Look at some illustrations.
  2. Read a book together.
  3. Watch a short interview with David Shannon
  4. Create a piece of art in the style of David Shannon.

1.     Show David Shannon book covers and selected illustrations.  I like to use Too Many Toys for the use of color, detail, and facial expressions.  Be sure to use Good Boy, Fergus! because Mr. Shannon talks about Fergus in the video interview.  Use A Bad Case of the Stripes for the elements of fantasy and imagination.  Finally, be sure to show one of the David books so that the children can see that some of Mr. Shannon’s artwork looks as if it were drawn by a child.

Key Question:  How can you characterize David Shannon’s style?

The children should come up with elements such as:

  • Colorful
  • Detailed
  • Faces show great expression or emotion
  • Imaginative
  • Childlike (or perhaps done from a child’s perspective)

Try to avoid judgmental comments such as “weird.”

2.     Read No, David! together.  I usually let the class do a choral reading because there are so few words and the text is so simple.

Be sure to point out that David’s mother’s head is not showing on the title page.  Ask why an illustrator would leave off a character’s head!

(Answer:  She is not the main character, so this focuses attention on David.  Also, by leaving off the mother’s head, Mr. Shannon insists that the reader get involved by imagining the rest of the picture.  It’s a very clever way to engage and involve the readers!)

Also, be sure to have the children find the second character on the page showing David running down the street naked.  (Answer:  Fergus)

3.     Show the David Shannon interview with Scholastic.  It’s only 3-4 minutes long and gives the kids a great feel for who Mr. Shannon is and how he works.  Ask follow-up questions to check for understanding such as:

a.     How long does it take Mr. Shannon to make a book? (Answer:  About a year.)

b.     Does Mr. Shannon get his paintings correct on the first try? (Answer: Never.)

c.     What is Mr. Shannon’s advice to kids?  (Answer:  Write and draw about what you know.)

d.     Who does Mr. Shannon paint in each of his books? (Answer: Fergus!)]

4.     Allow children to make their own “David Masks” in the style of David Shannon.  Children should work in this order:

a.     Color

b.     Cut

c.     Assemble

Remind the kids to use elements like Mr. Shannon.  Maybe David will be covered in mud, have food in his mouth, have a pot on his head, be wearing a mask and cape.  Kids can modify the printout to include some of the artistic elements they have seen in the books.

As an extension, you can draw use a CD to draw a circle.  The kids can then draw their own faces in David Shannon style and glue these to the back of the David masks.  So, the mask would be two sided:  David in the style of David Shannon and the child’s own face rendered in the style of David Shannon on the other side.


Wrap up by encouraging the kids to read all of Mr. Shannon’s books try to find Fergus in each of them, and enjoy the fabulous art!  Thank them for their attention and hard work.

  1. David Shannon Official Website:  http://nodavidshannon.com/
  2. David Shannon Interview:  http://nodavidshannon.com/2015/09/meet-david-shannon/
  3. David Masks:  http://tinyurl.com/h83pnrk
  4. David Shannon books (see book list below)
  5. Art supplies, including scissors, glue, popsicle sticks, colored pencils or crayons.

Kids absolutely love this lesson!  They get excited about making David as messy as possible in the masks.  They can’t wait to find Fergus in all of the stories.  They usually have a lot of questions about Mr. Shannon and are motivated to learn more.

I find that after this lesson, David Shannon books fly off the library shelves.


Recommended Books for This Lesson:
  1. Too Many Toys
  2. A Bad Case of the Stripes
  3. Alice the Fairy
  4. No, David!
  5. David Goes to School
  6. David Gets in Trouble
  7. Oh, David!
  8. Good Boy, Fergus!
  9. Duck on a Bike
  10. The Rain Came Down
  11. Bugs in my Hair
  12. Robot
Key Terms:

David Shannon, Illustrators, Illustration, Art






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *