Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A Day in Derby

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 started today with a couple of storytellings in 2 different libraries, then finished off with an illustration workshop at Peartree Library. It was part of the Summer Reading Challenge, which this year has a sporty theme, so I read Mr Strongmouse and the Baby, a book I did with Hiawyn Oram (Mr S. is a fitness fanatic who works out at a gym) and Giddy Goat by Jamie Rix (Giddy conquers a fear of heights and learns how to climb mountains). I did lots of big animal drawings on the flip chart for them to take home, and was able to hand out free bookmarks that the Lancashire Children's Festival had designed for me (they made a lovely job of them and had loads left over after the festival). I tried out a new song idea, to go with Mr Strongmouse: I wrote new words to the tune of the French round, Frere Jacques:

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!


weechuff said...

This is going to be such an interesting blog. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your day, and will visit regularly. What an enjoyable working life you must lead:0)

Croom said...

What a wonderful blog, I had almost as much fun reading it as you did writing it :O) Perhaps the man on the train was hinting that you should give him your drawing for his birthday lol.

Enjoyed your blog and will come back often

Tina Spain

Anonymous said...

That seemed like a very enjoyable day for you, but I know how much you love the work you do.
Looks like your blog site is gathering fans already! Good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

I was at Peartree Libary and it was an absolute fab day. But sadly she refused to give me or anyone her autograph!Ahhh

Lynne Chapman said...

Glad you are all enjoying it - I am having fun writing it all down!

Sorry to the person who came to my session at Peartree Library - the problem I have with signatures is that I cannot give do it for one person, without given one to everyone and that can sometimes take a very long time! I had to leave Peartree at the end of the session, to catch my train back home to Sheffield in time for my tea!