Category Archives: drawing

The trees happened to turn yellow…

This afternoon I’ve been at Sacred Heart Primary School in Battersea making books with Year 4 – and a very enjoyable afternoon it was too. I gave each child a little surprise lucky bag with a mixture of collage scraps and random words, and the challenge was to invent a story and make the spreads into different scenarios for a character to discover. They were a terrific class, full of exciting ideas and bold in their vision, and they created some remarkable work in the two hour session.

I specially like the title ‘The Trees happened to turn Yellow’ – it sounds like a chilling sci-fi novel from the 1950s. And I would love to read ‘Ruby and Sunshine Swoop Through Town’, with its boundary-busting 3-d design, it looks full of fun. The stark simplicity of ‘Dog’ rather appeals too, and the 3-d ladybird emerging from behind a leaf is genius!

The project was part of an arts week at the school organised by Pinksie the Whale, and the school had been beautifully decorated for the occasion, with fabric-wrapped trees and plastic bag blooms creating a wonderful welcome.



Shells, pinecones and a mini-Eiffel Tower


I took my bags of mystery objects over to Bayswater this week, for three days of drawing workshops at Hallfield Primary School – an Arts Council funded project organised by LONSAS (London Schools Arts Service). I was working with Year 2 and Year 4, teaching different drawing techniques. I was there on World Book Day and had a room full of Snow Whites and Spidermen! This also gave me the chance to try out the book I’ve illustrated, Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth (out in May) – and they loved it and laughed on every page…and then asked for my autograph! Great fun.

The objects in bags were popular – it was lovely to see the children listening for the sea with the shells and really looking at the detail. Some of the drawings they produced while looking at the object not the paper were fabulous, and so well observed.

It was a great school to work in and I am hoping to do more with them in the future. It’s also a fabulous listed building by Denys Lasdun – you can find out more about the buildings here – apparently the whole site is based on flower petals, and all the corridors are marvellously curved.

Don’t take your hand OFF!

I’ve been at Grand Avenue Primary School in Surbiton working with year 5 teaching them drawing skills. Each child had a bag with an object in, and they then had to draw it four ways, then swap and draw another object four different ways. There were wails of dismay at the idea of using the ‘wrong’ hand and not taking hands off the paper, but some excellent results. This was followed by a mixture of drawing and collage based on reference pics of old buildings, and a session drawing portraits.rivercontinuousline

Whitechapel presentation


In July I spent some time at Bainbridge Studios screen printing a limited edition poster of all the beautiful drawings done by Year 6 at Cannon Barnett Primary School, Whitechapel. The drawings were done during workshops I did with the class in May exploring their local built environment for the English Heritage pilot project, Special Places. The class also chose a building they wanted to list and presented their ideas to a team from Tower Hamlets planning department, and visited a live conservation project at Altab Ali park with Ben Pearce from High Street 2012. The project came to a conclusion on July 14th with a visit to the school from Baroness Andrew, the chair of English Heritage, who presented all the children in the class with their screen printed posters, and in return, they presented her with one of the posters which she has promised to frame and display in her office,

Year 6 were a fantastic class to work with, as were teachers Peter and Laurens,  and I thoroughly enjoyed the project. Both English Heritage and Tower Hamlets are hoping to repeat the project in other schools in the future.

Special Places poster

This is the artwork for the giant poster I have been screenprinting for the English Heritage project ‘Special Places’, which I worked on during May with Canon Barnett Primary School in Whitechapel. The Year 6 class did some really wonderful drawings of the built environment around the school following some exploratory walks with cameras, and I have put all their work together into one image. I pushed them to add lots of detail with different weights of pen and I think the results are impressive. I particularly like the chimney on the Truman Brewery, the lovely patchwork of the gherkin and the way the school itself (second from the bottom on the left hand side) looks like a fairytale castle.

They were a fabulous class to work with – each child will now get their own poster to take home.

Special Places 2011

gherkin2I’ve just finished a two week project in Whitechapel for English Heritage, with Year 6 at Canon Barnett Primary School.

Equipped with sketchbooks, the class have been walking and drawing the built heritage of the area, as well as making collages, seeing behind the scenes at the renovations at Altab Ali park, and making a presentation to professionals from English Heritage and Tower Hamlets council about which local features they would like to see listed. We also visited the Ian Berry photography exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery, which is practically next door to the school.

It’s been a very enjoyable project and the next step is for me to design then screen print a poster with the children’s drawings, which we will present to the chair of English Heritage in July. Looking forward to going back already.

‘Walk of Art’ in Orpington

This week I’ve been at Crofton Infants’ School in Orpington working with Year Two on a project called ‘Walk of Art’. It’s part of Walk to School Month, and is going to result in a textile banner examining why walking to school can be interesting.

The children started off with a walk outside the school exploring and looking for inspiration…

Then explored the idea more through drawing and making a Journey Journal…

and finally planned some shoes and legs on a giant roll of paper before making some fabric versions using sewing for the final piece. I specially like the next drawing which features four types of conker, including the cheese grater which I had never heard of before…

The Longest Little Book

A Big Draw event I organised with The Old Sweet Shop art gallery and Saint Cecilia’s, Wandsworth. Over 240 people came along to the school refectory one Saturday. They received a ‘secret’ envelope containing a brief for part of a story about a little red hat, and an A5 ‘spread’. They then stamped the hat onto the page with a self-inking rubber stamp, and used drawing and collage materials provided to create their own original section of the story. All the work wallpapered the gallery for the show afterwards.

the little red hat