Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Drawn to school


M Gardner


The author is a freelance illustrator who spends most of her days days at the drawing board, working on commissions from publishers. Working alone, though, it is great for her to escape to visit a school or library to talk about what she does. To make it easier, many professional authors and illustrators are registered with a booking agency; she is with Show and Tell. Bookings are sought and scheduled, payment is negotiated and the authors and illustrators turn up to school on the day. They may do three to four sessions, each lasting 45 minutes to an hour, and are usually either a talk only, with multiple questions from the children, or a workshop format with hands-on activities. What are the benefits for teachers and students? Well, there are many, and not just learning about the process of book-making. The author talks, for example, about how many times she draws and redraws her roughs before she sends them to the commissioning editor for approval. Children who become frustrated when their drawings do not look 'perfect' at first try identify with this, and hopefully next time are encouraged to persevere a little longer, or try it a different way. There's also the matter of meeting deadlines; it is a good way for even young children to see how the real world works. A visiting illustrator or author who loves going out to schools will leave the classroom zinging with inspired children. When one of the author's sessions has been successful, she floats back to her studio on cloud nine, and the children race back to class to draw, write, or both! [Author abstract, ed]

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