Cutting, colouring and creating layered landscapes

posted in: Anouck Boisrobert | 7


Colouring books are slowly taking over the world, and with their ubiquity it’s interesting to find ones which take an innovative, unusual approach to the pastime. Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons by Anouck Boisrobert is just such an eye-opener.

In fact, this book turns people into little magicians, for with just a few pencils or crayons and a pair of scissors, it allows you and your kids to conjure into being 3-D landscapes across the seasons. The process is simple but hugely effective – as this short video shows:

The explanation and design is very clear and the illustrations are clean and uncluttered with just a sprinkling of detail and pre-printed colour. Young children may need some support with the cutting, not least because the pages are all bound tightly into the book, rather than with perforated edged for easy removal.

Boisrobert’s pop-up books are among the most treasured books-as-objects in our home, with their crisp lines and clever paper engineering never failing to delight. It’s such fun that with Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons a little of their beauty has been packaged up in such a way as to enable children to create something a little similar.



Whilst colouring and cutting out the scenes in this activity book it occurred to me that we could adapt the basic idea of Boisrobert’s book to create our own layered landscapes. First I gathered together examples of paintings where layering, in terms of shades and colours, plays a big role. You can see what I found (with much appreciated help from blog/twitter followers Anamaria Andersen and Fiona Barker amongst others) on this Pinterest board.


With these beautiful pieces of art in mind, M put watercolour washes in several shades of blue on separate sheets of paper, basically making each sheet lighter than the last by using more water on her brush.

When dry, she draw mountain ranges on the reverse of each sheet…


…before cutting them out and layering them up.


We noted how when hills or mountains are “layered” in a picture, they tend to “fade” the further they are away. M also noticed how in many of the pieces of art we looked at the sky’s colouring typically went from darker up above, to lighter near the horizon. She decided her “mountains” were beneath a stormy sky and so painted a final sheet with a graded black-grey watercolour wash.


Finally everything came together and I framed it:


For such a simple art project, I think it is remarkably effective, and M is definitely delighted with the results.


Whilst making our cut-out layered landscapes and colouring in Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons we listened to:

  • The Colored Pencil Factory by Astrograss (which comes with its own colouring in page!)
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Dean Jones
  • Colour In by Kenny Miller. Oooh listen to that “cockney” accent!

  • Other activities which might work well alongside getting crafty with Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons include:

  • Using your scissor skills to create decorations out of old books. If your kids are comfortable with the cutting out in Boisrobert’s book, they’ll definitely be able to make the baubles described here
  • Enjoying these book sculptures, many of which make use of a layering technique in their creation
  • Reading Why I like Colouring In Books by Sarah McIntyre

  • If you liked this post, you might like these other posts by me:

  • Tree by Britta Teckentrup, which explores the life of a tree across the span of a single year, along with a tree collage
  • Nature’s Day written by Kay Maguire, illustrated by Danielle Kroll, along with a spinning Mother’s Day card
  • Lots of free activity sheets from a wide variety of authors and illustrators – including many colouring in pages
  • cutcolourextra

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    7 Responses

      • Zoe

        Thank you Jax. The painting/layering gave everyone a big sense of satisfaction – and just looking at the one detail ie the shading, gave a focus to looking at “famous paintings” which made it not overwhelming.

    1. Sudeshna Moitra

      This is great. Your idea is awsome. 8 ways to Draw an Elephant is also very nice. Sudeshna moitra.

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