from producing illustration work the most enjoyable aspect of children's
book illustration is to work with your audience - a day's visit to a school,
be it a primary, middle, secondary or high school is always great fun. Steve
began visiting schools in earnest some three years ago and has been a guest
in several hundred schools & libraries to date.
When asked to work in schools Steve puts the emphasis on drawing 'live' rather than dwelling on showing children printed books, which he puts to the end of his session. So Instead, he draws for them, usually on a flip chart - large enough for everyone to see - and so the drawing can be kept as a keepsake in the class.
the illustrator's job is to take written stories and turn them into vibrant
pictures, Steve makes it clear to the pupils that he will only draw what
they tell him to draw, kicking off with letting the pupils decide who
or what the character in the picture should be followed by what they will
be doing and perhaps wearing. Frantically scribbling down the notes dictated
by the pupils after a couple of minutes we have a final 'brief' to work
to: all of it conjured by the minds of the children. Of course the final
jumble of notes makes a real challenge to draw but there in lies the fun
for the audience as they witness their words being translated to a picture
before their eyes.
||Bears on roller skates jumping over shark infested waters in ballet dresses, bow-tie wearing trolls in baths juggling plates of jelly while playing the flute - no two pictures are ever alike. And all of this takes about 15-20 minutes. It gives the pupils a feel for what it's like to commission an illustrator and see words being turned to pictures before their very eyes!|
Then after all that's over, Steve (who needs a rest!) asks the children to draw something for him following a few simple instructions and armed only with a pencil & paper. What that something is depends upon the age group and whether or not the class teacher wants Steve to touch upon some current topic or theme the class has been studying. As the children begin to work Steve is on hand to offer help and let the children see his work portfolio close up and ask any questions they have.
fee for a full day's visit to a school is £175 plus whatever travel
expenses might be incurred. How the school wants to divide Steve's time
amongst the children is up to their discretion, he's very flexible and
if the school might have split break times for different age groups
he would rather work through the break than sit idle! Likewise, if given
enough notice Steve will also help out at any art clubs that might be
run through lunch time or for an extra fee will work at after school
art clubs/schools out sessions where they exist.
you so much for the sessions you did for us over the Easter holidays. The
children obviously enjoyed themselves immensely - giving "brilliant"
as a 100% response. We thought you might be interested in a couple of the
comments on the evaluation sheets:
........... "Steve is amazing: he's very nice. And a cool drawer. And is very fast at drawing "
..........."Thank you Steve - you have learnt me a lot about drawing"
It was lovely for us to be able to host a workshop that was both fun and educational, so thank you once again."
Helen Cerroti; Principal Librarian: Children's Library Services Halifax
Pre BA foundation course. Jacob Kramer College Leeds, 1988 - 1989
BA Hons degree course, Illustration/ Graphics. Newcastle Polytechnic, 1989 - 1992
Communication Design/Illustration Manchester Metropolitan University
1997 - 1998