Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meeting the Audience

Some really cool kids' drawings for the assignment that we gave: "Snap, crackle and pop".

I have heard many times, mostly from adults, that my portfolio lends itself to children’s book illustration. I had never had an opportunity to show my illustrations to a bunch of children and ask their opinion, though. This week I finally met my audience. I visited an elementary school where my mother-in –law, Betsy Wish, works as an art teacher. We had 5 classes that day, 4th grade, two 3rd grades and two 1st grades.

Honestly, I was a little nervous to meet the children, because it’s quite intimidating to be standing in front of so many kids that look at you with respect and need to hear something smart and funny from you. Luckily, I wasn’t alone and Betsy showed me a way to engage the kids in a discussion.

I showed them my illustrations, and then Betsy and I asked different questions such as: What do you see in the picture? Why is she/he doing that? Can you tell me what happened before/after of what you see in the picture? The kids absolutely loved it. They raised their hands even before I finished putting the artwork up and were already ready to answer questions before they even had a good look at the picture. That was really funny. Most of the time they guessed pretty soon what was happening in the pictures. They also came up with a lot of other explanations/scenarios that I didn’t have in mind when I was creating the illustrations. It was really enjoyable to see that my illustrations can generate that much enthusiasm and creative thinking. One little boy even told me in all seriousness that he will write a children’s book and hire me as an illustrator. I said, “I will be waiting.”

It was also very curious to see that all the kids, without exception, wanted to draw and didn’t care about the results too much. They simply enjoyed the activity. So at what point do they stop drawing and start being afraid of drawing? At what point does it become engrained in their minds that their drawing is not good enough and they might as well drop it? That makes me so sad. I too had that fear and didn’t do much drawing from the age of 10 until about 20.

At the end of each class I handed out my postcards and they asked me to autograph the back of the cards. For them I’m famous!