Below are some examples of the great work produced by the kids at my workshop at the Verulamium Museum, St Albans yesterday.
The workshop was linked to a bigger project, All In It Together, run St Albans Arts Team, with the aim of exploring ideas of propaganda versus reality with particular reference to World War 1 – a lot of the posters were produced at the time by St Albans based printers Dangerfields at the time.
The children created swing cards with pop-up elements which showed transformation from slogan-based designs to depictions of destroyed landscapes inspired by the work of Paul Nash. Some wanted to depict other wars – WW2, the Blitz, evacuation – creating narratives around stories they heard from grandparents, parents or school.
Back from Budapest where I spent time working with the kids and staff at the British International School. I was helped by the school’s wonderful librarian who acted as my wing-woman for the entire 3 days and made sure everything ran to schedule.
After my initial school talk, I ran a series of workshops with all classes where I showed the children how to make their own pop-up books.
A pattern for the sessions emerged fairly early on when I matched each class to a mechanism, guiding them through the process so they all had a completed pop-up framework ready to go. Following a discussion about their storyboard ideas – the blank storyboards were sent ahead of my arrival – I used some of their material to demonstrate how to convert mechanism into fully illustrated 3D scene. Some of the images show these, others show the children’s work-in-progress.
The school places huge importance on reading and runs several initiatives to encourage the love of books. At a certain point each day, everyone drops everything to read for five minutes. The doors were also being decorated as book covers while I was there – check out the Detective Paws ‘door cover’.
For those who couldn’t make it to my recent workshop at Imagine Festival of the Arts in Sutton, here’s a video tutorial for the pop-up time machine. It comes in two parts: how to draw the time machine and how to make the pop-up.
The theme of the festival was HG Wells – he lived in Sutton at one stage – and I based the time machine on the one in the 1960 film. I did take a few liberties: the time machine in the film doesn’t actually move location but instead the surroundings change as the date changes. I designed the pop-up to make the time machine look like it’s moving through time and space to give a more dramatic effect.
The basic abstract design is nice in itself and can be used to create all sorts of designs.
Happy Hallloween! Here’s a video of Spooky Ride, my first ever pop-up book, published by Tango Books way back in 2001. Spooky ride was the start of a long and fruitful relationship with Tango Books that still continues. The paper engineer for the project was the very patient Matt Johnstone whom I bombarded with questions at the time. It wasn’t until pop-up book 2 that I took on that role myself, picking it up as I went along.
I’d seen a funfair ghost train in Finsbury Park and wondered how that could translate into 3D book. The final book has one continuous train track running through holes in the pages, out the back of the book, round to the front and back in again – so you can read it over and over and over and over… My brief was to base the illustration style a little on ‘Funnybones’, keep the colours pure and make it scary! – well, sort of, it’s a children’s book.
I’m very pleased that Sutton Council was prepared to book individual practitioners and not just groups and organizations for their ‘Imagine Festival of the Arts’ this month. Yesterday, we ran two 2 full family workshops and an evening session with a smaller, but perfectly-formed, group of adults.
As always, one of the exciting aspects of the workshops was the mix of people who attended. I like to think that the activities I offer work regardless of background and highlight the similar ways we all approach visual 3D problem solving. The workshops also work well for those who speak very little English, offering a means of communicating through the making and designing process.
First school of the year tomorrow at Stopsley Primary in Luton for a 2 and a half day project in pop-up book design.
Day 1 will consist of learning the basics. Each of the 3 Year 4 classes will learn techniques which they will then share between them before my next visit. Images show the ‘manual’ I’ll be leaving to guide them and to show the starting point for day 2 when we develop the books further.
What I like about Illustration Friday is that it gives me the chance to revisit some of my past work. This week’s word is ‘Treasure’. The picture shows, what else, artwork from pop-up picture book no.2, Pirate Treasure Hunt, published by Tango Books.
I was back at Britannia Village Primary School last Monday for Day 2 of our paper (cardboard) engineering project. As Year 6 set off for France with their giant pop-up constructions, Year 5s (3 classes) stepped up to the plate to start work on a pop-up reinterpretation of Alice in Wonderland set in London.
I was impressed by the way they took inspiration from Boxpark in Shoreditch, the surrounding streets and graffiti they photographed. I gave them guidance with the construction of the main framework and worked with a small team to get it in place and glued, while the rest of the children got to work on the other smaller components. They were given broad instructions for the painting of the structures but apart than that they were completely free to bring their own ideas to the final surface decoration.
Also very gratifying to see how all the teachers had used what they learnt in the initial inset session to help their pupils create small-scale pop-up pieces before my arrival.
Back-to-back schools last week for the week of World Book Day. A lot of advance planning is always required for these but the enthusiasm of the kids and their eagerness to dive in and get creative always make it all worthwhile. This year’s schools were St. Pauls in Friern Barnet, All Saints in Fulham, Coppermill Primary in Walthamstow and St. Pauls and All Hallows in Tottenham. Here’s the montage: