The Basics

drawing exercise.jpg

Today was the first time I presented as a writer and illustrator of picture books at a secondary school. My presentation included a short talk of how I make picture books and a follow-along activity demonstrating the techniques I use to create an illustration.

Here you can see how I built up an emu and a cassowary. Starting with some basic shapes (ovals, triangles, and lines) to form the outline of the birds, I added distinguishing features to differentiate between the two using reference images (e.g., the cassowary has a big casque on its head and extra neck skin similar to a turkey), applied shading or hatching to give the birds some greater definition, and finally, introduced a bit of colour to make them pop.

The highlight for me was to hear some of the students be so surprised that they could draw some pretty amazing birds by the end of the activity. It just shows that we can all draw.

Thanks so much to Ms. Yoon, her teaching colleagues, and their year 7 students for being so welcoming and enthusiastic. I wish them all the very best as they put together their own picture books.