Thursday, 5 May 2011

Kate Greenaway Award: Rediscovering a Friend

Yesterday I spent the day working out of the studio.

It was all because of a surprise phone call I got a couple of months back, from someone I've not seen in quite a few years...

Tom Barber is the librarian at Ellis Guilford secondary school, in Nottingham, but he is also an author. These days he is working on a novel but, several years ago, we published a picture book together, called Open Wide!. It was all about a little boy who is scared of going to the dentist.
We did a sequel too, Playground Prairie. Sadly that one never got as far as the bookshops: it stumbled and fell at the last post. 

I got all the artwork finished and approved. Publication day was looming invitingly, when suddenly the publisher, Chrysalis, got into financial difficulties. They eventually got bought out, but our project (along with various others I'm sure) was shelved, as sometimes happens in these circumstances. Very sad (and not a little frustrating). But I digress...

Anyway, as part of his role at Ellis Guilford, Tom has organised for their feeder primary schools to shadow this year's Kate Greenaway award: a medal given for the most outstanding children's book, in terms of illustration. So, Tom asked me to be part of the project.

36 children from 6 primary schools were hand-picked to be 'ambassadors': to spend the day with Tom, his college Kathryn and I at Ellis Guilford, learning about the Greenaway Award and about book illustration, then feed everything back to their schools, and get as many children as possible to vote for their favourite.

There are 8 shortlisted books but, because we had only one day, we decided to focus on just 3: Ernest by Catherine Raynor, Jim by Mini Grey and Farther by Graham Barker-Smith

My job was to explain about how books are illustrated, then devise and run workshops based on our 3 shortlisted choices. Using all kinds of media, we created amazing flying machines, designed maps of the schools with lots of very silly rules and even invented strange, new creatures. 

Tom looked at how stories can be told through pictures, how to write reviews and reading aloud. He also introduced them all to the shadowing website where all the shortlisted illustrators talk about their work.

I was a totally full-on day: we scarcely had time to draw breath between sessions, but everything seemed to go pretty smoothly and all the children said they had great fun.

Thanks Tom, for inviting me to be a part of the project, and thank you to all the Y9 helpers from Ellis Guilford, without whom it simply wouldn't have been possible.


Gemma Luker said...

This sounds like an amazing day, I would loved to have taken part even though im not a child, would have been very helpful for illustrators trying to get into childrens illustration I think!

Caroline said...

What an super day and great that you were part of it! Sounds like everyone had a lot of fun! Thanks for the link to the shadowing site - I just watched Catherine Rayner reading Ernest - what a fun book!

Tom said...

All set for our session with the primaries this afternoon

Lynne the Pencil said...

I wish I was there to see the work they've come up with. I'd love to see photos if you take them.

rosslyn park said...

Hi lynne its rosslyn park here we are back at ellis guilford school doing our presentation we thought it would be nice to say thank you for your time,and enspiring us to do more art work.We liked how you tourt us how to do the work.When we went back to school we worked alot with year 1 and year 5 we also read ernest, jim and father to the year 1 s.And we would like to let you no what we have passed on to our school what you gave to us thank you so much.

Old Basford Primary School said...

Hi Lynne
We are the Ambassadors for Old Basford Primary School. We would like to thank you very much for giving us an amazing time, you really inspired us to produce our best.

We really appreciated your help, attention, advice and that spark of magic.

We found your story boards humours, detailed and imaginative. we had no idea how long it takes to illustrate a book. We did not realise how fussy the USA is about certain humour.

Because of the help and ideas you gave us during the art collage session.

Year 5 decided that Farther was our favourite story, because of the beautiful illustrations and the amazing photographs.

Therefore we decided to each produce our own flying machine, using all different materials.

In total it took several hours to produce our artwork.

Whitemoor Primary School said...

Dear Lynne
Thank you for coming to Ellis Guilford, we really appreciate it!
We really enjoyed working with you, and your illustrations were amazing.
We really enjoyed coming up and seeing the process of publishing a book.
We love your illustrations and we loved the funny story when the Americans didn't publish your book straight away.
We admire you for fighting to publish what you love!
Your textures in the books are unbelievable.
We really enjoyed working wit the year 2 children. We hop we can work with you one day in our school.
Love from the Ambassadors at Whitemoor School

Rosslyn Primary School said...

Hi Lynne
It's Rosslyn Park here. We are back at Ellis Guilford School doing our presentation.

We thought it would be nice to say thank you for your time and inspiring us to do more art work.

We like how you taught us how to do the work. When we went back to school we worked alot with year 1 and year 5. We also read Ernest Jim and Farther to the year 1's and we would like to let you know that we have passed on to our school what you gave to us.

Thank you so much

Heathfield Primary School said...

Dear Lynne
We are writing to you to say a very big thank you from the Ambassadors of Heathfield for coming to spend the day with us.

We enjoyed meeting you and learing new ways to do art especially learning how to be creative in the art gallery.

Since we last met we have done many great activities about the Kate Greenaway award. Involving KS1 and KS2 who have each read the book.

Our children in Heathfield have been on the website and been posting blogs.

Are you writing a new book at the moment and have you done any more publishing yet?

Hope to see you again
Yours sincerely
Heathfield Primary School

Hempshill Hall School said...

Dear Lynne

Thank you for your help and advice on drawing techniques like the rounder the cuter, the angular the angrier. Also we would like to thank you for your time, we appreciated it.

We have enjoyed being Kate Greenaway award Ambassadors. We showed your techniques with our school and it really helped them. We showed them your website and your work, we also told them the story about the Americans which the year 1's particularly appreciated because they laughed at the bit about the gorrilas nipples.

It taught us to be more responsible to enjoy reading, to read more, to be more confident with reading.

We did lots of artwork with everyone throughout the school, we did pop up animals, collages, painting, sketchers and modelling. We split into 2's/3's and went into Nursery right up to year 6.

Thank you Lynne you are talented, thank you for sharing the talent.

Yours sincerely
Hemphill Hall School

Lynne the Pencil said...

Well, my goodness - how wonderful to hear from you all! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the day so much and that you were able to share it so successfully with the other younger children back at your schools.

It was a pleasure to meet you all!

Yes, I am working on three new books at the moment and, if you are curious, you can see what I'm up to on this blog, as I share the new illustrations I'm creating as I go along (I even let you see the mistakes I make, before I get it right!).

Don't forget to keep practising your drawing, so you don't forget all the little tricks I showed you.

Lynne x