Friday, 3 August 2012

Illustration Workshops for the Summer Reading Challenge

As I mentioned recently, I have been doing lots of work for Sheffield Libraries lately, running illustration workshops. It's been quite a schedule: I've been out every other day, at 2 libraries per day, and I've done 10 libraries so far.

It's been fun doing something just slightly different. I start by analysing some of my books and showing artwork at different stages, pretty much us usual, then I share practical drawing tips on how to bring characters alive using facial expressions and body-language, which I act out. 

The finale is new though: the creation of a big Story Lab illustration. We build a visual narrative a bit at a time. I get the children to choose the characters and come up with all the ideas about what they might be doing, which I sketch on the flipchart as we go along. I show them how to do the drawing with me: I act out all the positions for us to use as reference (which is quite a laugh), then we build the characters to match, starting with simple shapes.

At the end, I think up quiz questions on the things I've talked about, and the winner gets to take the signed Story Lab illustration home.

We had the best session of all on Wednesday afternoon, at Ecclesall Library: we had 35 children turn up - so many we could barely cram them all in the room! They were all really up for it and came up with some great ideas. We created a surprise birthday party, being sabotaged by a cat diving into the big birthday cake using a trampoline, knife and fork in hand! Very silly.

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