Parking Lot Project: Book Making with Cityscapes

ColorWheels’ Parking Lot Projects are designed to bring creative experiences to you when can’t visit ColorWheels at its favorite spots around Philadelphia. The projects are designed for families and artists of all ages and can be completed with minimal art supplies and easily obtained objects. This project was designed by ColorWheels teaching artist Katie Kaplan. When you’re done, don’t forget to take a picture of your work and share your work online with #colorwheelsparkinglot! ColorWheels is presented by PNC Arts Alive.

While spending lots of time inside, I found myself looking out the window into the city and admiring the buildings. After reading Making Books with Kids by Esther K. Smith, I was inspired to share this exciting bookmaking process. We will be exploring how to make an accordion fold book with drawings from your imagination or real reflections of your city. This book is made by folding and cutting the silhouettes of buildings to make your own book cityscape.


    One sheet of paper (8.5 X 11 works great)


    Glue Stick

    Pencil/pen/markers (whatever drawing material you feel compelled to use)

Getting Started
As you dive into this project, take a few moments to explore Lorna’s work and ask yourself the following questions. We’ve included Amira’s thoughts to help get you started.

What buildings are important to you?
Look around your neighbor and reflect on the places you go most. For me, as I look down the street I see the place I go for pizza and the one I go for donuts. Take a moment to do the same.

What did you notice about the buildings?
Are they tall? Short? Colorful?

Take a look at the work of artists such as Edward Hopper or Frank Gehry to spark some creativity.

Building Your Artistic Vocabulary
Accordion book: a book folded to look like an accordion or fan shape

Silhouette: the dark shapes you see when an object is backlit

Cityscape: in the visual arts a cityscape is an artistic representation, such as a painting, drawing, print or photograph, of the physical aspects of a city or urban area. It is the urban equivalent of a landscape.


Step one: We will fold our paper into fourths on the longest length of your paper. Now open the paper and fold the final panel in half the opposite direction. The visual above shows where your folds should be.


Step two: you will be cutting out the shapes of your roof top, cityscape, or your building silhouette. Get inspired by looking out your window or cut out shapes that feel appropriate with your scissors. Be sure NOT to cut the last folded panel.


Step three: you will fold the two panels that were not cut into each other and then glue them together. It is time to fold your book into the accordion by making sure each panel stacks on top of another. You may have to reverse the previous folds.


Step four: Draw or decorate it to make it look like a city. When finished fold it back into an accordion book and stack some books on top of it to help the pages stay put.

About the teaching artist:
Megan Larson is an educator, artist, and world traveler. She served in Peace Corps Jamaica from 2016 to 2018, where she taught both art and literacy classes. Prior to Peace Corps, she worked as an elementary art instructor in Thailand. When she is not teaching, she continues to learn new techniques and attends workshops across the United States in notable locations such as Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Tennessee, Sitka Center for the Art and Ecology in Oregon, and Manhattan Graphics Center in New York City. While Megan’s artistic background is in printmaking and papermaking, currently she is exploring natural dyeing and ink making. She resides in Philadelphia and teaches in Fleisher’s Saturday program for young artists.