Original Image-Making Story Process

The original Image-Making Process developed by Beth Olshansky in 1990 invited students to create their individual portfolios of hand-painted textured papers without any story idea in mind. Once students completed their exploration of a variety of simple art techniques, they were told that there was a story hidden within each portfolio and it was their job to become detectives to uncover that story.

Students moved through five distinct phases: image-finding, image-weaving, image-making, image-reading, and image-writing. The end result was a carefully crafted story that grew out of their free associations with each of their hand-painted papers. The professionally published student samples below provide wonderfully diverse examples of that process. 

Original Image-Making Story Process Instructional Materials


Children as Authors, Children as Illustrators: The Whole Story is a 48-minute video that brings viewers into the classroom to observe the original Image-Making story process as it was facilitated at its inception in 1990. After creating a portfolio of hand-painted papers, students are directed to find the story hidden within their portfolios of hand-painted papers. This video provides a historical overview of this dynamic process of discovery and meaning-making in pictures and words as it was first facilitated in its early stages of development.

Teachers Manual

Image-Making Within The Writing Process®: Crafting Collage Stories provides an overview of the original Image-Making Process developed by Beth Olshansky in 1990. Unlike more recent Image-Making units of study that are integrated into the science or social studies curriculum, this original version of the process is more open-ended and less structured. The manual includes an explanation of Olshansky’s theoretical framework, instructions on how to create a portfolio of hand-painted papers, craft collage images, and write to each collage. The manual is included in an instructional package that comes with a set of mentor texts and the video overview of the original Image-Making process.

Price of instructional package: $100.00

Mentor Texts

Someone Special by first grader Jamie Cragnoline offers a truly poetic inquiry into the nature of the spirit world. Jamie’s extraordinary use of descriptive language and imagery captivates audiences of all ages and makes clear the magical nature of the Image-Making process.  


The Lost Boy by second grader Eddie Reyes offers an example of a bilingual book (written in English and Chamorro, a native language of the island of Saipan). Eddie’s delightful story contains a universal theme that will touch the hearts of children and adults.  


The Best Winter of All by third grader Noami Brautigam offers a heart-warming tale about how an orphaned Inuit girl finds friendship and family in a unique way.


Sunset Dream by fourth grader Kelsea Larson details an intriguing dream/journey of a young girl. Kelsea’s vibrant collage images and dramatic changes in perspective carry you from deep beneath a lake to the glistening stars above.


Sarena and the Beautiful Skies by fifth grader Amanda Clark offers an enchanting tale that explains why the sky is so beautiful at sunrise and sunset each day.


Not So Long Ago by seventh grader Nicole de Pontbriand offers a thought-provoking tale which addresses issues of prejudice and discrimination in a delightfully straight-forward manner.


Special Offers

  • Buy 1 set of the 5 original collage books for $25.00
  • Buy 5 sets for $20.00/set
  • Buy 10 sets for $18.00/set
  • Buy 20 sets for $15.00/set

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