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Mary Jane Muir

Discipline: Visual Arts, Writing
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English

A graphic designer and illustrator for over 30 years, Mary Jane Muir brings her love of picture books and art to the classroom. Her background in drawing inspires children to want to paint and draw. Mary Jane is a member of CWILL BC (BC Children's Writers and Illustrators). She has illustrated two picture books with Scholastic, was the illustrator for the Vancouver School Board for 14 years, is an artist with the VSB Artist in Residence Program and has worked with classes of elementary students creating collage art, paper banners, pastels, self portraits and finger puppets.


Mary Jane was an excellent artist in residence in our Kindergarten class. Mary Jane always came prepared with ideas and materials and created lessons that were creative and engaging for all students. My students looked forward to working with her on art projects that were fun and imaginative. I hope to work with her one day again. Eva McIntyre
My Kindergarten and Grade 1 students had a wonderful time with Mary Jane making Eric Carle-style collage. Painting seahorses, fish, and other marine life, they learned to experiment with colour, brushstrokes, line, and shape. They were truly enchanted by the experience of cutting out flowers, plants, insects, and birds to make a magical garden mural. The rest of the school was amazed by their creations! I would definitely recommend Mary Jane as an artist in residence. David Johnson, Teacher
I am recommending Mary Jane because I know that she would enhance any fine arts curriculum and move children to bring out their own creativity. Peggy Bochun, Coordinator, District Fine Arts Vancouver Board of Education

Project Examples

Big to Small - Pastel Character Drawings to Puppet

Creative Pastels Inspired by a selected picture book chosen by the teacher we will interpret in our own ways, the main characters using soft pastels on big paper. I will take photos of the art. Session Four: I will bring in small graphic digitalized versions of the children's pastel characters art in sheets for cutting out as finger puppets. The children can then draw again with pastels to make backgrounds for their own imagined plays for their finger puppets. Session Five: Perhaps another picture book based project or perhaps something the children might want to do as follow up. Or something completely different like painting on silk or making paper puppets... Open to discussion with the teacher.

Creative Collage Creatures

After an introduction to picture books illustrated with collage we will paint up a storm with tempera on sheets of paper. We may also create salt effects with inks and watercolors. Session Two: From our painted papers we will cut out shapes and add eyes, feathers, buttons and other bits to our creations.

Let's Be Inspired by Picture Books

Inspired by selected picture book illustrators we can create a display for the classroom or art to take home. Examples of possible themes - Sea Life, Forest Life, Vancouver, Community Life, Birds, Aquarium, Castles, Paper Portraits, Magical Gardens, Butterflies & Bugs, Friends, Families, Seasons, Celebrations, Space, etc.

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