Sunday, 14 February 2016

A week in Aberdeen

I had a bit of an adventure recently...

It began with me getting a plane to Scotland on a Sunday afternoon. Things got off to a dodgy start though - I nearly missed my flight. I had bags of time, right up to the point where, approaching the departure gate, I realised I'd left my watch in the tray at the security bit, so had to try and get back through. It's not so easy in the other direction. 'Last call for Lynne Chapman...' Luckily someone had handed my watch in. Thank goodness I noticed before I got on the plane.

I had been invited to spend 4 days at the International School of Aberdeen: the longest school visit I think I've ever done. I was put up in a rather nice hotel and had a big, if VERY taupe room: not a whisper of colour anywhere!

Bizarrely, on that Sunday night, I was the only person staying in the entire hotel. I could have run naked through the corridors at midnight. Instead I was very boring and went to bed. Well, I needed to be up bright and early for my first day at school. 

The excitement was at a pretty high level before I even got there but, as the days went by, it got better and better. I moved around the school to a constant soundtrack of 'There she is!' and 'Look, it's Lynne Chapman!' with children waving and calling hello. I was nipping to the loo one lunchtime when I overheard an excited whisper: 'Look, she's going to the toilet!', as if it was a shock that I actually needed to.

I kicked off that first Monday morning with a lecture about how picture books are created. They had a totally gorgeous theatre. It was packed tight with all the kids and quite a few parents. I immediately felt very welcome. Everyone was obviously really keen and the talk went down extremely well. Good start!

I read stories and larked about with the younger ones as usual. I read Rocky and the Lamb for the first time in ages and we designed monsters. These are some of the children's monster drawings. Very inventive - I love how they often come up with elaborate stories about their invented creature:

At the end of the session, I got them all to hold them up and make a monster noise:

With the slightly older ones, I had time for 2 different workshops for each group, which is very unusual - normally it's a squeeze to see everyone once. This meant I could try a couple of new things. After passing on all my hot tips for creating characters (basically the 'best of' my Craftsy class), I tried demo sessions, showing them how to colour artwork. Some classes experimented with the Inktense watercolour pencils I love so much and others used pastels.

I did a big demo-drawing of Giddy Goat in pastels to show them specific techniques. I added to it over the days until it was finished and left it with the school as a present. These are a few of the pastel drawings the children created:

It was a bit scary doing something I've not tried before, but the children were great and absolutely loved the Inktense watercolour pencils. Both children and teachers were all so enthusiastic about everything I shared, I walked around in a warm glow all week.

I was looked after really well too. I was taken out a couple of times for meals in the evenings with the school librarian who had booked me (Thai and Lebanese - yum). I even got to try my hand at an after-school yoga class (oh dear: lots of creaky bits). Come Thursday afternoon, I was almost sad to be going home. 

Luckily, the flight back home went without incident or recourse to stupidity.


I need orange said...

Lynne, you are a stitch. :-) (This means "you make me laugh" in American, just in case it has no meaning -- or some other meaning! -- in English.)

The very idea of running naked through the halls.... Though I could see how all that beige might drive you to it. Were you tempted to take your Inktensity to the walls? They could make people pay extra to stay in the Lynne Chapman Roome.....

It sounds like you had a perfectly wonderful trip. So glad it didn't cost you your watch!

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lewerentz S said...

You're a star ! I guess it's very interesting to visit a school and have contact with children who are at the age to read books you've drawn the pictures (sorry for this maybe strange grammar construction, I'm not sure but I think you'll understand what I mean).

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you! Glad to make you smile :-)

Anonymous said...

That was a very plain room indeed - leaving room for your thoughts to flourish?? Seeing all those class pix and their work makes me a little sad - though delighted for you! I loved doing school visits and without a new book, I guess I'm not as relevant now, although I had to turn down one for World Book day this year. I hope they realise what a worthwhile visitor you are!

Lynne the Pencil said...

I don't think it matters too much whether you have a recent book or not Eleanor. It's not about book promotion (although it does help to keep the back-list in print), it's about inspiring young people to be creative. If you can do that and everyone has a good time, I think having books that are 5 or 6, even 10 years old, is neither here nor there. As long as you have something in print that the school can get hold of. :-)

colinwest said...

What a wonderful inspiration you were for the children (bet they're still talking about your visit!)
P.S. When I was a little boy, I thought the teachers never went to the toilet! ;0)

Sue Pownall said...

Sounds exhausting but totally inspiring (apart from the taupe room). Only you would think, and write, about running naked around a hotel lol

HD Wallpapers said...

All pictures are beautiful and all perfectly photographed

pam thorburn said...

I'm really enjoying your blog-I'm new to sketching and just found your blog tonight-and the funny thing is...I used to teach at this school!!