I introduced my students to Illuminated Letters and the concept of sticking to a theme. We talked about the art history aspect of Illumination with a PowerPoint (my go-to means of presentation) and discussed how we would be picking a font, a theme and drawing our own versions.
I started by giving the kids a piece of paper for them to fill out. I asked that they start with choosing their theme and then had to list at least fifteen things that they could draw that would make sense with that theme. Once they had their list, they got a large sheet of drawing paper and started out by drawing a bubble/block version of their chosen letter (most chose one of their initials). They were able to choose if they wanted to decorate the inside of the letter and create a border or decorate around the letter. Some students mixed the options and decorated their entire paper, which I was also fine with. Generally, if they are demonstrating understanding of my lesson and hitting all of the objectives, I'm not concerned if they stray from my directions a bit. The kids drew in pencil first and colored them in using colored pencil. With the colored pencil, I encouraged and requested, that they use some color blending/layering. We talked about which colors would blend best (analogous colors tend to work best) and I set them to their work again! They turned out beautifully! Next year, I might invest in some gold paint and let their letter illuminate in a more literal sense!