I have recently been up to London twice to do illustration and story workshops. One was at the National Portrait Gallery, and the other was in libraries in Brent. I really enjoy the process of talking to children, seeing how they react when I show them my work. Especially when I show them the many stages to creating a children's book, that it doesn't happen straight away, that I make many mistakes, and practise books before starting the final one. However the noise they make when I show them my artwork is so lovely, and always makes me pleased that I continue to shun the computer to make my images and spend the time slogging it out on proper paper!
At the NP Gallery I was asked to do a morning and afternoon session involving paintings within the gallery. I based the workshop around the surreal portrait of Charles Waterton, who not only was into taxidermy but also creating new creatures out of different animal body parts! I thought this idea would appeal to children's imagination, and to keep the workshop a little to my way of working I got them to all to produce their new creatures in little books. They first were told the story of Charles Waterton by a storyteller and then I took them up to the gallery so they could make little drawings of animals from the paintings as well as draw some different styles of frames, and frame shapes that were hanging in the gallery. We went back down to the most incredible basement workroom where I could show them my work, and then I helped them make a simple book out of a few folds, and one clever cut! Then they drew their animals, cut them up, and then stuck them back together to create their new creatures. The outcomes I thought were really good for just an hour workshop. I was so pleased, and they all seemed happy with their mini books.
footnote: sorry about the quality of the photos, I only had my phone with me to record the day.