Activity: Explore Rachel Rose’s Lake Valley

We have a series of fun, family-friendly activities inspired by Rachel Rose’s Lake Valley, which was on view from May 20 to August 16, 2020.

Activity #1: Create An Imaginary Pet Creature

In making Lake Valley, her first animated film, Rose scanned thousands of illustrations from hundreds of children’s books to storyboard a simple tale. Once upon a time in suburbia, there lived a father, daughter, and their snuggly pet creature. One night, the creature ventures into the woods, where it encounters a host of animal strangers, falls asleep under a mushroom and—in a colorful slumber—is delivered back to the carpeted living room floor.

The Guide, 2018 Carnegie International
A hand-drawn creature with long rabbit-like ears and a small body and long dog-like tail faces away from us, looking ahead at a natural scene made out of a collage of images.
Rachel Rose, Still from Lake Valley, 2016, Carnegie Museum of Art. © Rachel Rose.

See And Think

This is a fictional animal with fantastic characteristics from Rose’s imagination.

  • What do you notice about Rachel Rose’s pet creature?
  • What features of the creature are familiar to you?

Do: Draw Your Own Pet Creature!

Materials Needed: paper and something to draw with (pencil, pen, crayons, etc.)

  1. Brainstorm a variety of favorite animals (at least six) and write them down on a piece of paper.
  2. Alphabetize your list.
  3. Sketch an imaginary creature by combining one feature from each of the first three animals on your list. What do you like about this creature? What is strange? What is familiar? Is your creature snuggly?
  4. Now re-imagine your creature by selecting and combining different features from the same three animals.
  5. Draw this creature next to your first one.
  6. Repeat this exercise with the last three animals on your list!
  7. Which is your favorite imaginary creature and why?

Activity #2: Drawing A Story

In her animated film Lake Valley, Rachel Rose maps out a story about a lonely creature seeking a fantastic escape from its existence. Here are just a few of the scenes that emerge:

See And Think:

  • What is happening in the story in each of these scenes?
  • What might the creature be seeing? Smelling?
  • What do you see that makes you say that? Who does the creature meet?

Do: Draw Your Own Story!

Materials Needed: paper and something to draw with (pencil, pen, crayons, etc.)

  1. Draw four equal rectangles on a sheet of paper. This will be your storyboard, a way to organize the sequence of the adventure!
  2. In rectangle #2, draw your favorite imaginary pet creature from Activity #1 or Rachel Rose’s hybrid creature.
  3. Fill in the other rectangles with images of fantastic adventures for your creature!
  4. Imagine and sketch what happens before and after.
  5. Where did your creature come from? Where does it want to go?
  6. Who does it meet along the way?

Share your storyboard with friends and family and invite them to imagine other adventures for your creature. You could add many more rectangles to your storyboard.

Activity #3: Collage A Fantastical Setting

Rachel Rose is known for her inventive video works that she makes, layering film, collage, found footage, with cuts at intervals that build texture into the process of seeing it. Lake Valley is this, with a twist: the images are taken from 19th century children’s books layered with cel animation, done by hand, and requiring 12 hand-drawn frames per second.

Artnews, 2017

See And Think:

Pay close attention to Rose’s assemblages of images from the history of children’s literature that create new settings in Lake Valley. She uses many different bits and portions of pictures to create new forms. Notice how she layers the pieces on top of each other to create interesting textures. Look for repeating forms and patterns. What else do you notice? Watch this clip several times to find new details!

Do: Now Make Your Own Collage Setting!

Materials Needed: scissors, old magazines or anything that you can cut or tear, glue, paper, and something to write or draw with (pen, pencil, etc.)

  1. You can make a part of your storyboard from Activity #2 come to life with color and texture, or you can create a new setting for Rachel Rose’s creature.
  2. Find old magazines, old wallpaper, etc. from which you can cut or tear pieces.
  3. Cut out and collect many interesting colors, shapes, and textures.
  4. Find a sturdy piece of paper (any size) for the base of your collage.
  5. Begin composing your clippings to create a setting. What is in the foreground, middle ground, and background? Think about repeating forms and patterns like Rachel Rose does!
  6. Experiment and play with your composition—without gluing it yet!—and cut or collect more pieces if need be.
  7. After exploring a few versions of your composition, find your favorite and begin layering and gluing the pieces.
  8. Optional: If you like, cut out one of your favorite creature drawings from Activity #1 and place it in your setting. Where would it be in your new environment, and why?

Share your creature, storyboard, or collage with us on social media and we might feature your creation!