Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Emerging Indigenous Authors & Illustrators Workshop

Hi, Friends! I helped an Emerging Indigenous Authors & Illustrators Workshop (Overview) in Glebe, Sydney. The Little Big Book Club and Allen & Unwin(*publisher) ran the workshop, funded through The Australia Council. This initiative has a focus on developing picture books by Indigenous creators. What a wonderful project!! My mentor, Ann James was one of the presenters and ran a hands-on art workshop. Julie Vivas and I joined the event. (*Friends, think of it : "Ann James" and "Julie Vivas" are in our workshop = "The Rolling Stones" and "The Beatles" joint concert!! Got it?) On Sunday, the first workshop was on "process of publishing." The handouts were clear, concise and spot on. I fell in love with Allen & Unwin and The Little Big Book Club's ongoing project. Their goal is to promote the love of and importance of reading to children from a very early age, especially in families.

Friends, do ye know? An interesting linguistic research we studied at uni is "bed time story makes a middle class." The research revealed the influence and the importance of reading books for young children. It gives children lifelong literacy, success in formal schooling and improved life chances. Apart from socio-economic analyses, anyone loves listening to parents' reading at bed, don't we? It's nice and will be very sweet memories in our lives! So, I'd support The Little Big Book Club objectives.

Each presenter, Erica, Ann, Sarah talked on. Particularly, Ann's talk was practical and helpful to learn how to illustrate. She, originally dreamed of becoming a social worker, but the chose an Art teacher career. She started,
"Draw from memory." An enthusiastic illustrator Ann was born!
Although the making process has no difference in general, each illustrator has a unique methods to develop drawings. Ann's way is just fit to me.

"Draw from memory" is a very useful methods to illustrate a text. It purifies visual information. In our memory, visual information gets through our mind filters. Only impressed info is left that responds to emotions well.

Another memorable Ann's say is "Lines and colours are different languages."
Yes, I'd explore both more!

After the talk, participants enjoyed varied medias : watercolour, pastels, oil pastel and acrylics. Great fun to practise drawing and painting! We, mentors assisted students in person. I explained about "simplify info," "value study" for figurative drawings and a technique, "wash off & sedimentary pigments." One portrait demo for the student.

Ohhh, this is one of our students' hard work! She sketched me. Lovely!

Our great bonus was Julie Vivas, an Australian national icon for picture book industry. Julie, this humble superstar showed her fantastic work nearly at the end. Beautiful and so sensitive. All of us uttered, "Ohhhh!!! Waaaaa!!!!" Kind Julie explained another technique to use a pen for very detailed watercolour work. The lovely, lovely end for us.It was a great joy to meet youngish talents and see their wonderful work. I have no doubt about these talented artists' bright future. They will crack into market. Hope we will see again soon.May many "Indigenous picture book illustrators" will come up from this project and gain a public attention!

Friends, happy painting!!!