Today I have been out of the studio all day, working in Derby. It's the other side of my job: doing storytellings and workshops with children. Sometimes I do talks for teenagers and adults too, but mostly it's primary age kids. It was a really enjoyable day although, to be honest, I almost always have a great time. It's such fun, and the children always get so excited. They do some great drawings too. I think it's got to be one of the best ways of working with kids, because I don't have any National Curriculum stuff to worry about, and no assessments; I can do whatever I think will work best.
I've got muscles, I've got muscles
Give them a squeeze, give them a squeeze
I can lift a house up, I can lift a house up,
1 2 3, look at me!
It worked rather well, especially with my new maracas for accompaniment. We did lots of actions and the children suggested different things we could lift up.
For the workshop, the children all drew little mice holding up towers of unlikely things balanced on top of one another (ship, elephant, fire-engine, the world...) and we stuck sheets of A3 paper together to make really long pictures. I showed them my Arabic edition of Big Bad Wolf is Good, which is really interesting as you not only read the words in the opposite direction, but you read the entire book in reverse (the cover opens the other way and all the illustrations are mirror images of the UK version!) I also took some of my artwork to show them, and the early sketches for various pages. I like to show them my sketchbook too, to back up my 'hot tip' that all aspiring illustrators should carry one! I had done a sketch of some passengers on the train to Derby. I often do that to pass the time. I try to keep it clandestine, but sometimes people guess. This morning the man opposite me (the largest person on the page) realised, so I showed him the drawing. He told me it was his 60th birthday today. I must say, he didn't look it at all. Happy Birthday to you, man on the train!