Eeek! Today I got to meet Anthony Browne and Nick Sharratt, both now illustration heroes of mine. And not only this, but I also got to help encourage children from Leeds primary schools to explore their creativity through drawing.
As a Student Ambassador for Leeds College of Art I had the opportunity to support Leeds City Museum in delivering a day of drawing fun for around 180 Leeds’ children aged 9 to 11 from six different primary schools.
The day started with talks from both the illustrators. They showed us picture that they drew when they were in primary school and talk about what they liked to draw and how they come up with ideas from stories or drawing games. They also showed us how their work progressed and told us about how they came up with the ideas for the books they are writing and/or illustrating as grown ups.
The city’s librarians then read stories to small groups of children, which I enjoyed listening to far to much for a person of my years, before a lunch time re-fuel.
Once hyped up sandwiches and juice, the children headed our way. We had split into two groups to deliver separate 30-minute workshops with different schools. We had had a one-day training session where we had tried out lots of different ideas and created a lesson plan, so we were well prepared for our session. We had decided that the children would stand up in a circle, we’d go around and say our names then play a freeze frame game in four teams. We then gave the children felt tip pens and a sheet of newsprint paper with a whole cut out of the middle and asked them to create Willy’s vest with their favourite fairy tale, but they were not to tell anyone what they were drawing. Once finished we all stood in a circle and took turns guessing what was on the vest. If there was time left we played the different use game where an object was sent around the circle and each person mimes out a different and weird use for the object.
The time flew and by the final session we had really perfected our team work and delivery. The children seemed to have a great time and their behaviour was brilliant considering how exciting the day was and that they had had no playground breaks all day to let off steam.
I really valued the day for getting to know Student Ambassadors from other courses and year groups, getting to work with experienced people – from the teachers to the art college’s outreach team to freelance creative practitioners – and most of all for meeting the children and their amazing imaginations and willingness to give everything a go.