JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: workshop, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 108
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts tagged with the words: workshop in the JacketFlap blog reader. What is a tag? Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find posts on JacketFlap.com as well as provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify posts for later recall. Try adding a tag yourself by clicking "Add a tag" below a post's header. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
I am still working on my mural designfor the new Wakefield Library. I have scanned in all the most interesting creatures the children drew during the illustration workshop, like this badger and flamingo. I've kept everything at low resolution for now, so my computer doesn't grind to a halt:
I explained to the children that my plan was to create a crazy chase through the library, so some of them drew useful sundry objects in the background of their illustrations, things like shocked librarians, flying books and library signage:
These were all very helpful to add a sense of the location and to help create extra chaos. I had to find a way to incorporate this great staircase too:
As I expected, some simple graphics behind the creatures was needed, to tie the whole thing together. I decided to make the perspective really wonky, to add to the fun and to help the staircase fit. I pulled the colours from the colour scheme of the library furniture.
I had to flip and resize a lot of the animals in Photoshop. I spent ages moving them around to try and fit as many in as possible:
I wanted to add one or two bits of mine too. The dragon from Dragon's Dinner was an obvious choice. It was the book I used to kick-start the project, since the story is one big chase, and made a great counter-point to the massive dragon on the left:
There's a big sceen mounted in the middle of the wall in the children's library, which I had to bear in mind. I thought it would be fun to use that as a prop too (though there is a risk it will be so well camouflaged by the mural, punters may not realise it is there!).
This is just a rough by the way. I will boost the colour and strengthen up the outlines of some of the animals before I re-scan them, then get rid of fold lines and smudges in Photoshop.
I thought photo-montaged books spines would be a fun wat to fill the bookshelves, the same as I'm doing with the computer screens (spot my website!), so I've been scanning in the books from my shelves at home. Picture books are very skinny though and only hardbacks have enough spine - even stretched, they don't fill much space. I've now run out, so will have to borrow some to fill the bottom shelf. That's why I am going for ordinary adult non-fiction to fill the end bookcase. I'm still half way through:
I will use this low res version as a template when I up the resolution. I want to do the real scans at the actual size I need them, without messing around in Photoshop (otherwise you lose quality), so the plan is to scale up the template in manageable sections, then measure the size of each item, scan it to fit and simply drop it in. In practise, I doubt it will be possible to get them exact, but at least things should only need a single tweak.
A while ago I mentioned a mural project that I am doing, based on children's drawings created during an illustration workshop, focussing on characterisation and movement. The wall I have to cover, at Wakefield Library, is over 13 metres long, but only 2 metres high - very long and thin - so the idea is to create a chase scene along it, as if the children's animals are running through the library.
I let the teachers take the drawings back to school with them, for the kids to finish off. Unfortunately, instead of posting them a couple of days later, as promised, it took them 6 weeks and repeated hassling, so I am only now getting down to it.
I am currently spending my time on Photoshop, trying to work out how to lay things out. It's so massive, and such a weird shape, I'm working on a one-tenth, low res mock-up, into which I have placed scans of all the animals, so I can move things around and re-size them, until it looks OK. Then I'll re-scan everything at the right size, as the final artwork will be created digitally (in sections and at one quarter size, so my computer doesn't blow its brain). Although my initial chase idea sounded simple, I soon discovered that, if I don't want to end up with just a 'procession' of animals, in a long, uninteresting line, I will need to draw in incidental props, like bookshelves for animals to climb onto, or chairs for them to jump over. I might need to do some graphic things will colour in the background too (like I did with the cover of Swap!), to divide up the space. Not sure yet.
Wakefield's central library is a brand new building (I did some storytelling to help celebrate the opening in November). There is a very long, very empty wall running through the children's library. It's supposed to be decorated with a mural. The mural was part of the original building contract, but the various designs offered were apparently awful and the librarian's rejected them all. So, I got an email asking if I had any ideas. Everyone thought it would be a good idea to involve local children in some way, so I dedicated one of my long train journeys to giving it thought. Which is why I was in Wakefield again this week. I didn't really fancy painting onto the actual wall: that's very much out of my comfort zone, especially as it's over 12 metres long (!). Yikes. My idea was to bring a couple of school groups into the library for illustration workshops and get them to draw (on paper) various animals chasing one another through the library (books flying everywhere, horrified librarians...). I would then take these home, scan in my favourites, and use Photoshop to combine them into one long, digital illustration, which I could simply send to a printer, to have made into panels, to attach to the wall. Which all sounds kind of straightforward, doesn't it?. Hah! If only.
The workshops were the easy bit - they went really well and we had a lot of fun together. The children did some smashing illustrations, which they've taken back to school, to finish colouring in.
But, when the drawings come back next week, I have to play around, grouping them in different ways, designing the mural's layout. Which means I need to get the individual animals to a scale where I can move them around in a space the same shape as the actual wall. This is the tricky bit. Even scaled right down, the wall is too long and thin to look at on the computer as a whole, but I don't have a real-life space anything like big enough to lay out the actual children's drawings on the floor. Hmmmm..... Plus, even when I have somehow designed the mural and scanned in all the drawings, I'll need to create the final, digital artwork in several sections: even at one quarter size, the entire file will be so massive, it would crash the computer several times over!!
I'll let you know how things progress...
In the meantime, I hope you like these watercolour pencil sketches, which I did on my way to Wakefield on Wednesday morning.
I have been trying to do too many things at once (again). All a wee bit stressful, but I can't complain, because it's all fun stuff and I would so much rather be too busy than not busy enough.
One of the jobs I've had to get done was some high-res scanning of these drawings from my sketchbooks. They are needed as publicity images for 3 days of sketching workshops I am doing this summer in Barcelona. Yes, I know - I told you it was good stuff!
I was thrilled to bits when, a couple of weeks back, I got the fantastic news that I have been selected to be one of the instructors to deliver on-location sketching workshops at this year's Urban Sketching Symposium. The competition was fierce this year so I put in my application, but really didn't expect to be accepted.
Anyone can attend the symposium and take part in 5 different workshops, as well as lots more. As long as you enjoy live, on-location sketching, you can register for a place. Registration opens in March and will cost $395 but, if you fancy it, you will need to be quick - places are expected to go like hot-cakes.
I was sent a link to a little film last week, from a librarian all the way across the water, in Bighorn Library, in the USA.
I'll be honest, I hadn't realised that this year is Chinese Year of the Snake, but Rose Reid, the librarian in Bighorn, was on the ball. It was great that she selected Class Two at the Zoo as the perfect book to share with children, to celebrate (thank you Rose).
When I'm doing school visits or festivals, I always enjoy reading Class Two at the Zoo - Julia Jarman's rhyming texts are so playful to read aloud and the children always roar with laughter.It was definitely one of my favourites to illustrate too. I had a lot of fun thinking up different ways for the anaconda to gobble up the various children and drawing the reactions of the various other animals in the zoo!
In her film, Rose demonstrates a very simple, but very effective workshop activity too: how to create your own anaconda puppet to go with the story.
Take a look, especially if you are a librarian after a way to do some work around the Year of the Snake theme. There are other snake activities on my website too: a step-by-step guide to drawing the anaconda, a quiz to see how well you remember the story, an anaconda to colour in with your own pattern, plus a series of short films with lots of background information on how I create my books.
Last week (luckily, before the worst of the snow) I opened a library: I cut a ribbon and everything, just like a proper celeb! It was the sensational, new, sea-themed library at St Benedict's Catholic Primary Schoolin Garforth, near Leeds.
I was there all day, working with the children. The school was a really warm and friendly place. The atmosphere felt very optimistic (a hard thing to pull off in these tricky times) and every class displayed just the right level of interest - really enthusiastic and keen to learn, but not over-excited and silly.
The highlight of the day was the unveiling of the new library (they used to have just a few shelves in the thoroughfare by the main doors). None of the children had been allowed in, so they (like me) were knocked sideways when they finally got to see how wonderful it is. Yes, it really does have a palm tree in the middle for them to read under!
I particularly love the blue boat, which serves as a desk and computer station, but also has hidden talents: beneath the fabric sail is concealed the projection screen. When it's pulled down, it looks exactly like a full sail - how simple but clever is that? Designing the library was a very hands-on project, involving the staff and children at every stage. The children chose the theme and came up with the ideas for the various things featured in the space. They helped vet the professional designs and even wrote all the inspiration text around the walls. Leeds School Library Service gave advice (and paid for me to spend the day - thanks Pauline!), the PTA raised £4000 to help fund the project and parents in various trades were also heavily involved in the design, construction and printing. Truly a team effort.
At the end of the day I signed lots of books, including a set for the new library of course, then I braved the increasingly heavy snow at Garforth station (where they lock the waiting room, but leave the lights on, so people can see what they are missing, as they huddle against the closed doors in a blizzard!!).
Thanks so much to everyone I met during my visit, for making me feel so welcome and to Patrick Sice for letting me use his great photos. How lovely to have a good-news story to brighten the gloom and doom (especially in these depressing times for pubic libraries). Well done guys - enjoy your super new library!
I finished off a very busy year of author visitson Tuesday, with a really positive session at Farnborough secondary school in Nottingham (their art department is brilliant!). It was nothing to do with all the primary school visits I've been doing in Nottingham - just a coincidence.
This is a follow-up to a project I did in half a dozen Nottingham secondary schoolsa while ago, running illustration workshops with Y7 children. I was invited to go back to see a book the students had created as a result of the work we did together, and to give prizes to those involved.
While I was there, I did another illustration workshop. Trouble was, because it was a mixed group, some of whom had been part of the previous project, I had to do something completely new. I also had the added challenge that some children were with me all morning, whilst others had to come and go, because of other lesson commitments - tricky.
I decided to adapt a Giddy Goat idea that has worked well in primaries. We briefly recapped about how to use facial expressions and body-language, then they all created their own character balancing at the top of an A3 sheet, suitable terrified or show-offy. They were then challenged to balance as many different and interesting objects as possible beneath, creating a surreal tower spanning 2 or 3 sheets of paper. They really got the message and we had some lovely ideas, where different elements of the towers interacted with one another and with their environment.
I was chatting to the teacher afterwards and complimenting her on the inspirational environment she had created: wonderful artwork by the students everywhere. The current art rooms are in temporary buildings in the playground, because next year they move to their new build. BUT, it turns out they will not be allowed to attach anything to the walls in the new art room, no children's paintings pinned up, not even a staple to attach a line to peg work up. Formal display frames only, because the new-build funding involves private investment, so it won't belong to the school. How crazy is that?
I've been having a lot of fun just lately, but it's been a bit crazy over the last few days...
On Saturday we had another SketchCrawl, this time in Chesterfield. It couldn't have been more different to last week's in Buxton, where we had to keep scuttling indoors because of the freezing cold. This time we were scuttling into the shade, as it was so fabulously, brain-fryingly hot.
Here are a few sketches from the day that John scanned in for me. The top one is watercolour and black conte, the others are my Inktense watercolour pencils. I'll post more later, but things have been so busy lately and I still have more things to do than time to do it (I shouldn't be doing this now - I should be getting on withmy roughs!!).
On Sunday John and I went out walking, making the most of the sunshine, then on Monday and Tuesday I was up super-early to catch the 7.15 train to Selby, to visit the children at Longman's Hill Primary School.
I had the pleasure of teaching an absolutely terrific and awesome-to-work-with group of twelve students in the Advanced Writing Workshop. We read and critiqued thirty pages of manuscripts and synopses for each student, and did writing exercises in support of the particular manuscripts (based in part on the prompts Cyn and I used for Writefest back in '04 and '05).
The grounds of the facility
My assistant, Tiff, in full dino regalia, with Neil, Chris, and Beth s
Add a Comment
We'll be sketching outside in Santa Domingo, so I wanted to do the same for my dry-run. Our garden seemed perfect, with interesting shapes of chimneys, roofs and trees all round, but the weather was not that keen on my plan. It was one of those 'Yahoo, hot sun! / heavy shower: quick run inside... / Yahoo, hot sun! / heavy shower: quick run inside...' sort of afternoons.
We started off outside, and one or two brave souls kept on giving it a try, but mostly people contented themselves with drawing things in the house or looking through the windows.
The idea was to push people out of their comfort-zones. Over a series of four 30 minute exercises, I challenged them to try new materials and new techniques, designed to prevent them from getting bogged down in the detail that prevents you from mastering speed-sketching.
Just as I did with the recent dry run, I want to use lots of my own previous sketches as examples to help brief in my workshop exercises. But it's going to be really hot in Santo Domingo - in the 80 and 90s every day (gasp!) so I don't want to be lugging loads of sketchbooks around with me. I remember from Lisbon last year, that there already seems to be plenty to carry. So, I scanned in the most relevant sketches and made myself a little folder. Now all I have to do it carry that.
Of course, as you can see, I couldn't help getting carried away and making a nice title sheet, to act as the cover:
Two fighting/playing dogs. The little one reminds me of my in-laws' fox terrier Angie.
This is the final Taos post. As I mentioned earlier, I plan to go to the sketch journal workshop in Ireland next year. Until then, I will have to sketch here and on our trip to Boston and Vermont in August.
Some visiting art teachers suggested painting with wine. Maybe it has to sit our for a long time...
A mother and daughter with matching hats. So cute!
On our way to the Denver airport, we stopped in Colorado Springs to see the Garden of the Gods and ran into a lot of these Scrub Jays. Sadly, the fires got really bad right after we left in CO.
I am out and about again a lot at the moment, doing workshops for children. Luckily, it's all in Sheffield, so no horrible, early mornings - hurrah!
It's all part of the Summer Reading Challenge, which is about keeping children reading through the summer holidays, so they don't drop back by the time school begins again. the challenge is to read a certain amount of books over the break. They get little prizes along the way, like stickers etc then, if they read them all, they get presented with a certificate and a medal.
To help to get people inspired and to make it as much fun as possible, as well as attracting as many new people in, who might not know about the Summer Reading Challenge, there are often associated activities put on in the libraries over the holiday. Which is where I come in!
There is always a theme - this year it is 'The Story Lab' with a group of fun characters for children to spin stories around. I have been invited to visit 12 libraries in Sheffield, this week and next, delivering illustration workshops to show the children how to draw the Story Lab characters and start to spin some stories through the pictures.
Yesterday I was at Crystal Peaks Library in the morning and on the children's mobile at Hackenthorpe in the afternoon. This is a drawing that 6 year old Millie Briggs did for me as a thank you for my session. Today I am at Woodseats and Woodhouse Libraries. If you look on my availability listings, you can check out where I am going to be next wee
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
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.
On the first morning, I did Nina Johansson's workshop. For my other, I chose Jason Das, partly because I like his work, but also because I am very interested in colour and always keen to try doing new things with it.
Jason's workshop looked at the relationship between the colour of the line and its body colour, and the effect of using a coloured line, rather than just black. We each did two drawings of the same place, on either side of the pagein our sketchbooks. On one side we used a cold line (I used a blue gel pen) and the other warm (red pencil). Then we painted them both, in much the same way, and brought everybody's books together, to look at what worked best.
I definitely like my blue line best (but that's partly because the gel pen has more oomph), which was why I chose blue line for the next exercise. Jason asked us to do two similar drawings again, but this time with the same coloured line. We then painted them differently: one with naturalistic colour, one with colours as mad as we could manage. I decided to do one big drawing across the two pages but colour it in two halves:
It was quite hard choosing unnaturalistic colours, but for most people, the crazy colours were more interesting.
We were just getting into the next exercise when the sky went black (very strange, since it had been unremittingly scorching until then). Then the rain came - very sudden and very heavy. We fled for the tiny bit of cover there was under the arch in my top sketch.
Then, just as suddenly, it was over. I sat back down on the ground to continue with the next exercise. Though I was on a sitting pad, so thought I'd stay dry, the rain wicked up from the bottom edges of my shorts and I was soaked to my bum when I stood up again.
This time we each did a line drawing in black, but swapped our sketchbooks with a partner, so everyone coloured someone else's sketch. I drew the statue with the palms, while my partner drew me drawing the statue and palms!
It was really fun to colour someone else's work, liberated from any preconceptions or plans made during the line-work about how it should be done. I decided to have another go at the crazy colour idea, which is why I have green hair. The sketch in my book looks nothing like I imagined, which was so interesting.
The other interesting thing was that, though we each got our own line-drawing back at the end, we all agreed that is was the colouring that created 'ownership' of the sketches.
Thanks Jason - it was really good fun. I intend to get some coloured gel pens and to experiment more with contrary colours.
Carole Lindstrom sent in this article after taking great notes at KAMI KINARD’s Workshop TENSION IN REVISION.
Kami has a middle-grade novel, “The Boy Project (Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister)”, that was published by Scholastic in January 2012, and it’s a funny, fun read with some important, appropriately understated messages.
I love the way Kami’s first page, so I thought I would share it with you.
Here is what Carol has sent in about Kami Kinard’s TENSION IN REVISION Workshop
Dig deeper with both plot and dialogue
There should be conflict on every page
Every page or spread needs a decision
What is the number one goal of the protagonist?
What is the number one goal of the antagonist?
How are their goals relevant on an emotional level? How do they conflict?
THE PROTAGONIST AND THE ANTAGONIST
These two characters and their conflicting goals provide the tension central to every story.
Nothing should be easy for the protagonist. Your plot has to twist and turn and so does your character’s emotional journey.
Ways to Create More Tension:
1. Try adding additional characters t create tension
2. Create new conflicts between existing characters
3. Give your character a new skill or have an old skill suddenly fail him/her
4. Give the story an emotional twist – can something happen that makes him/her unexpectedly sad, elated, depressed, frustrated?
Plot – a series of scenes that lead to a climax
Scene – a unit of dramatic action with a beginning, middle and end
Every scene has to have tension. Draw a box around each scene so you can physically see where scenes are in your story to determine if there is tension.
What is your setting? Are there places available to you within that world where you can increase the drama/tension of the setting?
Can you add a place if there isn’t one?
SETTING TENSION – CLIMAX
Where will the climax occur?
Can you add tension to that location?
A high place – a roof top, bridge or cliff
A wild place – near a roaring river, a crashing ocean
A forbidden area – places your MC should not go
Weather can be a great source of tension because of its symbolism
Time of day – what time does climax occur? Could changing the time of day increase the tension?
An audience – will your scene have more tension in front of others?
Dialogue Tension – know what your character’s want BEFORE they enter into communication.
On Monday I was in libraries again, for the Summer Reading Challenge, doing events similar to the series of summer workshops I've been doing in Sheffield, but just a bit further up the road, in Derbyshire.
It was a very good thing I wasn't far afield, as I was a complete idiot that morning: I left my folder by the front door at home, the one with all the artwork I use to talk around. Not good. I realised my mistake as I was walking into Sheffield station, but there was no time to go back - my train was due in 15 minutes.
As usual, John came to the rescue. He drove my folder all the way to Brimington Library for me and hand-delivered it. He was so quick off the mark that he beat me there - what a hero!
This is me using some of the roughs that were in the folder, to explain the process of designing the big bear in Bears on the Stairs. I also showed them a piece of big, pastel artwork from Stinky!and read them Dragon's Dinner, deconstructing my illustrations as I went. Then it was time to get stuck into some drawing. The children first learnt how to choose faces and body language to communicate emotions...
...then we all created lots of angry, sad, frightened, shocked, sarcastic and grumpy cats, dogs, bears, owls, warthogs, monkeys, hamsters etc.
After lunch my minder and I nipped down the road to Staveley Library, where I did it all again.
Both the workshops were really well attended: we had to squeeze everyone in, so a big thank you to the guys at the library service for their help with publicity.
Friday's school visit to Ambleside Primary in Nottingham went really well - it was lovely to be able to take my time and get to know the children better over the course of a whole day. Plus, they've been working with their teacher on the theme of Heroes and Villains, which suited my workshops perfectly.
Teachers have told me they can get the class to come up with characters, but it's hard to find ways to get the children to weave them into a narrative. So that's what we concentrated on. I helped them all to think up an animal hero or villain, then each child create quite a detailed A3 drawing, placing their character in an incident, with a proper background and plenty of narrative content. Then I asked them to imagine their drawing was a still frame from a film. We drew a line representing the length of the film, then I asked them to consider whereabouts on the line their frame fell: nearer the beginning or the end?
Each child had to think through the back-story or consequences arising from their drawing and come up with a plot idea.
We didn't actually write until well into the afternoon: the children were only around 7 years old, so the thinking and planning was just as important. When we did start to write the stories down, I got them to think of the most exciting and dramatic bit of their plot, so each story started with a bang (quite literally in a lot of cases: we had a lot of explosions!) to get the listener hooked, just like they often do in films.
They were lovely kids and I had great fun, which is just as well, as I am going back twice this week, to repeat the same workshop for the other two Y3 classes at the school.
These watercolour pencil sketches were done on the train there and back of course. There were limited easy victims around me, so I also drew the clouds out of the window - tricky, as they kept being covered over by passing trees!
Afterwards, I got a tour of their new exhibition spaces. They have David Attenborough no less, coming to open the museum area, with its collection of weird and wonderful stuffed animals (including an actual crocodile imprisoned under the glass floor!).
It was quite a busy week, as the Wednesday was Bag-a-Book Day. I spent a totally crazy day with poet Paul Cookson, entertaining looked-after-children. It was even more bonkers than last year. I got the children creating funky, animal collages out of fake fur and Paul helped them make up funny poems. Then we cross-fertilised: I illustrated the poems on the flipchart, and Paul wrote poems about my drawings. Every now and then we would break into song. All good fun (though I was totally shattered at home time!).
This week, I did another of my 'creating stories through illustration' workshops in Nottingham. I've got nine more days to come, repeating the same event in different schools. There's a 2 week break first, although not really, since between now and then I am visiting a couple of primary schools in Leeds, then travelling up to the North East for 3 days at the Northern Children's Book Festival, including a joint Gala Day event with my friend and picture book collaborator, Julia Jarman.
Phew! Where on earth will I find the energy for Christmas?
These are the sketches from my last couple of days of Nottingham story-workshop trips. That's it now. Just as well, as I started to go down with a cold last night. I dosed myself up with Paracetamols this morning and managed to get through the day without too much trouble, though I'm beginning to feel a bit iffy now, so I should probably get off the computer and go and slump in front of the TV...
Since my various bouts of laryngitis, I'm always a bit nervous about straining my voice on school visits when I soldier on through a cold. Luckily the Y3 children at Whitemoor Academy were lovely and I didn't need to raise my voice at all. Both the teachers were fantastic too. I got some lovely feedback from them at the end of my 2 days there, and left feeling very loved. A perfect visit to end on.
These are some sketches from last week. I've filled half a sketchbook during this project (I was especially prolific on my wrong train adventure) and my favourite colours have been worn down to stumps.
It's been good fun (Y3 children are my favourite) and it's made a really nice change to work with the same group of children for a whole day at a time. Still, I can't say I'm not pleased to be back in the studio again after such a long stretch of nothing but school visits, interspersed with odd days of mad catch-up at the computer...
Which is what I have mostly been doing with the end of this week, though John has been great, holding the fort for me over the last few weeks, fielding enquiries, ordering books and writing all the invoices. I am really looking forward to getting back to doing some actual writing andillustration on Monday morning (but not too bright and early...)
Spring is a bit of a crazy time here. It's all to do with World Book Day. You might think that's only one day, but the events associated with it spread out over a whole month.
Any good primary school should be aware of World Book Day. Most celebrate it by having a day of dressing up as book characters, or doing special projects. Many schools and libraries also invite an author or illustrator to visit for a day, which is where I come in...
Like the other authors and illustrators who do visits, I can only be in one place at a time (though I do my best to be in at least three places at once, most days!), so World Book Day itself gets booked up months in advance. Which is why schools and libraries have to be flexible about the dates and the events spread out on both sides of March 1st.
This year I thought bookings might be thinner, because of all the cut-backs, but in the end it seems I'm busier than ever, so I'm really grateful to have John here in the studio this time round, holding the fort and dealing with emails while I'm out and about strutting my stuff. Display CommentsAdd a Comment
I don't do as many writing workshops as I do illustration ones, so it made a nice change to do a day of them on Monday, with the KS2 children at the lovely Darton Primary School just outside Barnsley.
I am trying out some new ideas, so I did things a little differently to previous occasions. I drew a different illustrated scene on the flipchart for each class, with them suggesting different elements, then used that as the starting point for their stories.
To decide on their hero, I made each child write an animal on a piece of paper. Then we mixed them up in a bag, and handed them back out randomly.
It was a two-day visit, so I spent Tuesday with KS1, doing storytellings. The children were all lovely and I was looked after really well (the Headmaster kept popping in with mugs of tea for me all day long!).
And I have to say, they had the best displays I have ever s
Add a Comment
I really enjoyed hearing Christian Trimmer speak at a recent SCBWI event at The Loft at Congress. Huge thanks to Christian, Linda Bernfeld, Laurie Taddonio, and Flora Doone for putting together such a wonderful event. And free, too! FL SCBWI rocks, and I’m so lucky to be a part of it.
Christian has been in the business for seven years, and absolutely raves about his authors, such as Mo Willems, Stacey Kade, and Robin Mellom. Right now, he said that Disney Hyperion isn’t actively looking for paranormal or much science fiction. He loves books with rich details that find the truth in relationships, like Ditched by Robin Mellom and Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford.
What do editors want? Christian said a great voice, authenticity, and honest emotions. Research helps make the world more believable. Pay attention to the details! This helps make sure that readers can see the scenes, too and adds a layer of credibility.
In almost all his editorial letters, he mentions character motivation. If you can’t see what drives a character, then neither will readers. When you create a character, you want readers to see themselves in that person. You need to have an emotional arc (which helps readers genuinely care about a character) and a narrative arc.
Here are some tips Christian shared with us:
* Build a network—it’s great for support (he could tell our local SCBWI is an extremely supportive group). Seek help with info if you need it.
* Make yourself stand out. Marketing and publicity love when a writer has an active blog and large online following.
* Seek out agents who rep books from authors you admire.
* If you receive several offers, make sure you chat with an editor on the phone before accepting to make sure he or she is the right one for you.
* You need to be prepared to sell books. You have to talk about your books, and try to get your face out in the community to teachers, librarians, and book sellers.
* Envision your entire career—not just selling one book.
* Set real deadlines and be disciplined enough to make them. Write daily!
Today I've been working in Rotherham (actually, in a little village just outside, called Swinton). Since Rotherham is just outside Sheffield, I got home at the very civilised time of 4.45: a good couple of hours earlier than is often the case at the moment.
Which is how come I have a few minutes to look in and say hello, both to you folks out in e-land, and to the children at Kilnhurst Primary School. I had a lovely day today, which is good because I'm back there again in the morning. This time though, John is coming with me, as the school's administrator is an old friend of his, one he's not seen in years: it's someone that goes way, way, way back (queue wiggly lines and dreamy music...).
They used to live a few doors down from one another, when John was just a wee, grubby lad (instead of a big, grubby lad). Apparently, he regularly used to eat breakfast at home, then run down the round and eat it all over again with the house-full of sisters, who all gave him way too much attention, as far as I can make out.
1 Comments on John is Coming Out to Play Tomorrow, last added: 3/19/2012