Saturday, 15 June 2013

Inspiration from children's writing and illustrating at our CWISL Shoutsouth Festival

A spark to set us off from storyteller Margaret Bateson-Hill at the start of  Shoutsouth  
"There are some events you do that blow you away. Shoutsouth Festival was one of those."

So tweeted Margaret Bateson-Hill today after 3 days of writing and illustrating workshops with over ninety 8-13 year olds from a range of South London schools.
We're all part of a group called CWISL - published writers and illustrators promoting the love of reading, writing and illustration with children from all backgrounds. The children's stories and pictures will be published on CWISL's  Shoutsouth website when they are all scanned and typed.
Until then, here are some photos I took to keep me inspired!
I found this lost-looking man among the cuttings...
Designing book covers with my Leopard team
Mo directing  tableaus of emotions
as a prelude to our workshops
Writers Beverley Birch smiling
and Mo O'Hara inspiring kids

Helen (H L Dennis) centre showing off some covers that our 23 'Leopards' in my workshop
with two Leopards of different ages from different schools.

Author J L Buxton and ME  (ahem Bridget!)  with our Leopard display...pity our other Leopard leader
author Sara Grant couldn't be there today - some great stories to read online later! 
"Cold Joker" a great cover with a story behind it

Tissue paper helped  make this cover suitably mysterious
A cover by a WW2 expert aged around 8
Cover to a sad and gripping story
by another Leopard aged around 12
A collaborative cover and story with a political twist
  by two Primary schoolmates - 

The Panther team's display with "sharpie" focused drawings inspired by author -illustrator Gillian McClure's workshop.

The Lions' display with some covers inspired by author-illustrator Jane Porter's workshop
This cover from Jane's Lion workshop caught my eye! 
SCBWI illustrator Anne-Marie Perks got the Tiger team sculpting characters
Author Andrew Weale Master of Ceremonies entertaining at the grande finale
London South Bank University offered us workrooms and an auditorium, other sponsors like Rymans donated materials, but the hoped-for public grant didn't come through because of cuts.  So all the work that Carnegie shortlisted author, editor and CWISL founder Beverley Birch, and chair Sarah Mussi, and all of us others put into preparations, school visits and workshops, was entirely voluntary.

The week before many of us prepared for the Festival by visiting libraries and schools.
I loved Battersea Park Library and meeting fellow CWISL authors HL Dennis and Lydia Syson at Bessemer Grange School.  (Coincidentally I had just enjoyed reading Lydia's book "A World Between Us"  which starts with the battle at Cable Street which her grandfather had seen and ends with the Spanish Civil War battle of the Ebro which my Catalan uncle fought in aged 17.)

It was a commitment which meant a lot of time away my own writing and illustrating. However never have I felt more rewarded.  And humbled.  It was heartening to see kids of varying ages, backgrounds and schools work together - all thanks to books!
It's all here - what books can do for kids.
And to witness the energy the kids put into their work, the thought and dedication over 3 days was truly inspiring.  
What it's all about, really!

Feedback from one child : "I think Shoutsouth is a very eye-opening experience which reveals the work and success of illustrators and authors. You feel like a real author illustrator!"


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Creativity is letting your mind go wild, on the way to work. From Dallington School to Courtyard Studio

On my way to work last Thursday in Courtyard Studio in Clerkenwell, a window in Dallington Street caught my eye.
A builder nearby told me I was the third person that morning to stop and photograph it.  Despite the problem with the glass reflections I had to record the stunning variety of children's paintings and collages under a panel
"We asked 130  3-10 year olds What is Creativity?" 
The watercolours that first caught my eye in morning son (plus a reflection of the  builder...)
"A creative person is someone who creates things,
for example a guy who does plastic surgery is a creative person."

LEFT "A creative person has a rule you would most probably not have."
RIGHT " If someone is creative they make new things that have never existed before."

Collages by younger kids

Close up of above with reports of comments by younger kids - bottom left "A superhero with special powers.  It is going to be a three-eyed surperhero from the factory."

LEFT The Roman Empire was creative.  It created sandwiches, sewers and books!
RIGHT Creativity is letting your mind go wild.

I get to Panther House which is a warren of film, animation, design and illustration studios like our Courtyard Studio far left of Reception.
Surprised to see these metal stencils of intriguing texts lying near the entrance - cast offs?
In our studio  there was Viv Schwarz with her patchwork monster  - I asked her to sit on it,  like a flying carpet.
She says she often adds to it when moving house as she is at the moment...  

Some smaller metal stencils rescued from the bin  - and a parrot etc - near illustrator Jane Smith's desk.

Karen Littlewood's corner with  a life size Immi from her book.

Our old and friendly Grant Enlarger which helps us redraw at greater or lesser size,
That way, unlike with scanning, we can keep lines at the same pencil width.
On top of Grant sits a couple of mannequins near fabric designer Nicola Gregory 's corner.

Some inspiration on shelves behind my desk...
Adrian Taylor's art corner is behind my 'wall' on the right.

View from my desk over my wall to the kitchen corner  and the window
You can see  the skip where we find the odd treasure to recycle...