Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Love Being an Illustrator...

I LOVE what I do...

Today was a wonderful reminder of why I love being a creative soul who makes pictures for her job.  It was an early morning and somewhat dicey weather as I left Moncton just after 6:30 to drive up to Chipman, New Brunswick for two days of school visits through our Provincial Writers In The Schools Program.  It  had begun to snow just as I got on the highway and roads got slippery about halfway there, but I took my time.  The scenery into rural New Brunswick was amazing as I drove past farm fields or forests of trees draped in snow.  Logging trucks coming the other way made me keep my eyes on the road.

I arrived at the school safely just after O Canada and had time before the scheduled class visits to do an enrichment session with a dozen of the children at the school who love to draw. What a treat to get them to practice using their imaginations with 8 different exercises.  I also swore them to secrecy about how tall I was...

When the first class came in, I was sitting down in front of the Smartboard on a chair and they arranged themselves on the carpet in the middle of the room.  I welcomed them, told them who I was and what I did for my job.  I explained that illustrators often have to draw things that don’t exist... like purple cows wearing roller skates... or a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a tutu.. or a hippo making a snow angel.  At that point, I explain how an illustrator needs to use their imagination and think about how things look.  I choose the smallest child in the class and ask them to come to the front of the world.

“Suppose a squirrel makes a snow angel...” I explain and I ask the child how they make snow angels.  I get them to stand with their arms out wide, ready to make a snow angel.  I explain that the squirrel’s tail would also make another part of the snow angel that humans don’t have in theirs.  Then I smile.  “I would be more of a GIRAFFE making a snow angel!” I say as I stand up from my chair....way up!  I am 6’5” without the heels and 6’8” with them.  I wave my long arms and legs about with a smile as the children gasp and the little victim.. er... volunteer stares up at me in amazement.  I send my “squirrel” back to their place and begin to ask them about hippos.  I explain that I can’t borrow a real hippo from the zoo, so I need to think about what makes hippos different as an animal.  Basically, they have tiny arms and legs, big noses and big bums.... so they make DEEP snow angels.  Then I show them the painting I did for my grandmother who loved hippos (I’ll add it to this blog once I get home).

The rest of the session is spend talking about how illustrators and authors come up with ideas by asking “What If?” and then, after the power point talk, I use my tablet to draw a quick, interactive doodle with each class where I give the kids crazy choices and they vote by raising their hands to guide what our picture turns out to be.

I save each class file as a .jpg and once I get home, I will redraw each class picture then resend it to the school to play with.

I really, really. REALLY love my job!

Tomorrow, I get to go speak to Middle and High school students about what is it like having a “nontraditional” career.... I can’t wait!

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, I love your enthusiasm :) Do you know of anyone who does free to cheaper personalized art? Ok so probably not free lol but maybe someone who has spare time and loves to draw as much as you? I'm looking for a piece that has a dragon and incorporates a memorial to my son I lost 3 years ago due to suicide. Thanks for any help you can give.