art of instruction + contest

by Amy Azzarito

I’m 100% certain that if the education charts in my junior high science class looked like those found in this book, I would have gotten a much better grade. A few years ago, I hunted down a chart of sea plants in Paris found at the most magical of natural history stores, Deyrolle. It is still one of my favorite pieces of art. Katrien Van der Schueren, owner of voila! Gallery in Los Angeles, has been collecting educational charts for over a decade. In this volume, Katrien compiled over 100 of these vintage educational posters for the Art of Instruction. The book’s charts cover subjects ranging from the anatomy of a tulip or apple tree to that of a hedgehog or starfish. The book is just now available for pre-order.

To celebrate the book’s launch, Katrien is gifting one lucky reader the chart depicted on the book’s cover! To enter, just leave a comment below describing your favorite poster from childhood; it doesn’t have to be an instructional poster. — Amy A.

Suggested For You


  • A poster I remember very well is an impromptu poster from the first grade. We were doing something related to dinosaurs, and the teacher wanted a poster-size picture. She had one of us call over a boy from a class one year up. He could draw really well. So he draw us a kickass T-Rex.

  • I had poster all about elephants: how much they eat, how long they live, their evolution. I was obsessed with it.

  • I had a poster of a page from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. It featured tons of tasty food. From what I can remember, there was a lollipop, pie, and sausage. Though I didn’t know why I liked it back then, now I realize that I was responding to the vivid color, texture and the charm of the simplified shapes. Kids always affirm good art through simple intuition.

  • Strangely, my favorite poster as a kid was my uncle’s orignal ‘A ClockWork Orange’ poster with Alex leaning out with a knife. However, from my tinier vantage point, I thought the letter ‘A’ surrounding him was a wimple, and wondered for years why this nun wanted to kill people.

  • The poster I remember most from my childhood was one my sister had of Led Zepplin. My friend loved Robert Plant and kept begging me to steal it for her. As if my sister would NEVER notice, lol.

  • My favorite educational poster was one of the greek gods on mount olympus, you could make up stories about what they were saying to each other. Also, i loved the national geographic poster maps from the magazines, there seemed to always be a new place to find and wonder about.

  • Throughout my childhood, I remember loving one certain print my parents had framed and hung up in our house. It was this painting of a little country neighborhood nestled in a bright green hill of gardens and trees. The style reminded me of an illustration I might see in a children’s book, and it was never hard for me to imagine “living” inside the painting in the same way that I would pretend to be a character in a story. I would try to decide which house I would most like to call my own, but it was a choice I often changed because of how different and special each home and yard seemed. In front of them all, at the bottom of the hill, there was a weeping willow tree overlooking a stream, with a little cat staring thoughtfully at its reflection in the water. The fact that the cat looked exactly like my own made it even more magical to me. It doesn’t sound very special describing it now, but I will never forgot how it felt to be a child and look at the things around me–like that painting–in the way that I did.

  • My favorite poster as a child was the invisible man flip chart that revealed superficial anatomy and went deep to the skeletal view. we were never allowed to touched it but it definitely demystified my body. I remember imagining little people running around performing bodily functions before I saw that poster. It was 5th or 6th grade at Willow Point School in Vestal, NY.

  • I loved a small poster that came with an illustrated paperback book I bought with birthday money at age ten. The poster survived longer than the book which was passed along to friends and disappeared. The images were just little vignettes from the mystery story but it made me feel like I was in the story!

  • the largest collection of those vintage charts I ever saw was on http://www.irenaeuskraus.com/ . not only botanical ones but all kinds, stunning. I met those guys at a fleamarket when I was travelling to Vienna and that’s their online-store. apparently it’s not quite finished yet and so far only in German but you get the idea. now I found this book. love that stuff!!

  • wow, thinking back…my favorite childhood poster was the Partridge family-all wearing velvet pants and vests…i wanted to be laurie-aka susan dey..and we shared thesame birthday..i loved david cassidy and thought their rainbow bus was amaing..i would like to think my tastes have changed drastically..love the botanicals shown…but in the right situation could bellow out all the lyrics to “I think I love you”…

  • My dad gave me an original Peter Max “Life Is Beautiful. Don’t Smoke Cigarettes.” psychedelic poster in the late 60s-early 70s. I loved it because it made me feel part of a very hip culture even though I was young. It also was an unusual type of gift from my dad which made it extra special. That poster hung on my bedroom door until it basically disintegrated. Kills me now that I didn’t preserve in acid-free paper. : (

  • …a silent summer pond with frogs and salamanders in wonderful greens, and browns crowned with reed and buttercups….

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