In last two weeks I did a couple of workshops based on my book Elephant. One of these workshops was with Pop Up Projects CIC. The event was part of INSET and I worked with eighteen primary school teachers. I liked working with adults for a change and it was fun to see them slowly changing into a child again. It’s nice to see grownups loosing themselves in a game, cutting and gluing paper, drawing and making up stories.
Later on I did the same workshop with children age 6 and 7. In the workshop itself I wanted everybody to make up a story from the idea ”what can happen if you get an elephant in the house?”I want also everybody to illustrate it. Together we make a little concertina book.The interesting thing was to see was that there was no difference between the way how the children dealt with the task and how the adults did it. Very similar ideas. We had an elephant in the bath, on the sofa, on a slide, dancing or singing, even playing tennis. The only different was, that children were not afraid to draw elephants pink, blue, or in the colours of rainbow. Adults went for the more traditional grey colour.
I love the pictures which some of the very little children did. The simplicity of it, the colours. It’s so easy to motivate children and make them exited about art.
But there was something I still think about. In one school I was running two workshops in two different classes. In the first class, the children got on with the book, using different coloured papers, pastels, wax crayons, coming out with elephants which can jump, are pink or multicoloured.
In he second class the children were struggling and they didn’t know what to do. They were copying from each other. Then I realised, when I wasn’t there, the teacher started saying things like “your elephant is too big and the house too small, it will never fit in. Do it again”. She started telling the children about perspective and messing with their ideas. It all stopped being fun and the idea of doing a picture book turned into some kind of boring home work. It made me so cross and I tried to put it right, but the damage was done. I felt sorry for the children who were so unfortunate to end up with a teacher like this.
In the last Edinburgh Festival I was asked by the lovely Vivian French, if I would come to do a talk for the students of illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, so I went last week. I had a great time. I did a bit of tutoring in the morning and talk in the afternoon. It was quite inspiring for me to see and talk to talented students (and teachers). As I was talking to students it happened that we mention a few times Red Riding Hood and in connection with it also amazing drawings of girls and wolves by Kiki Smith. Then it was time for me to do my talk and in the end I showed some of the pictures from my sketchbooks and this one popped out.
If I remember it correctly I did this drawing some time ago thinking of both – Kiki Smith and Red Riding hood.
The last thing I would like to mention again is this.
I hope you can make it!
In celebration of our 10th anniversary we
have invited the illustrators to exhibit and sell some of their most exciting and sought-after original artwork.
Please come – all our welcome, children too – and it’s free!
The Gallery, 3rd Floor, Foyles Bookshop,
113 – 119 Charing Cross Road,
London WC2H 0EB
from Tuesday 3rd – Saturday 7th December 2013
. 9.30am – 5.30pm daily
Contact Linda Owen-Lloyd
during the exhibition on