08 February, 2012

Paper, scissors ... picture

Acres of swishy swashy grass, tons of squelchy, squerchy mud and an assortment of particularly ferocious bears were much in evidence when SCBWI member Hazel Cuthbertson and drama student Mark Tatham presented a one-hour illustration workshop at the Alliance Française in Johannesburg in February.

Hazel gave the kids the basics about how to translate the movement, emotion and energy of a story using shapes, colours, edges, and space, and then Mark launched into the classic children’s story “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen.
With only coloured paper, scissors and glue at their disposal, the kids, aged from 4 to 10 years old, set about creating their own pictures to illustrate the story. The results were amazing – bears complete with sharp snouts, fearsome teeth and deadly claws emerged from the dark murky depths of caves and vast expanses of mud. Some budding illustrators rejected the purely representational route and still managed to fully capture the essence of the story – like the 6-year-old who just used two crunched up wads of paper on a dark background to signify the bear’s eyes peering out of the dark cave…enough said. Intricately snipped swathes of grass and rolling rivers seemed to be favourite images, but some kids were totally mesmerised by the array of colours and never got beyond sticking this bit to that bit, 4-year-old cutting skills being rudimentary for the most part.

But lots of fun was had by all, and some amazing art resulted – kids, as always, are full of surprises.

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