This weekend one of the things going on around town is a Writers Festival, hosted by our local library.
Today the kids and myself went to one session each (very wisely scheduled all at the same time).
The workshop I went to was with Alison Lester an Australian Childrens author. . She is an illustrator as well as the author for her many picture books. (She has also written novels and chapter books). Alison shared her writers journey how her stories come together, how they are changed and influenced. She talked on the design factors that go into a book, the artwork etc
She then showed us how to make a very simple book and how to do a proper book cover with end pages the works.
Then came the workshop part the hands on part. We were to make a book to take home. Of course we didnt get it finished not sure many even started but the seeds were sown. She encouraged us to draw up Story Boards so that we knew where our story was heading and that is about where most of us got up to.
Some tips I came away with .
For the Art side of things:
Draw what you see (not what you think you see)
Practice drawing with the picture upside down this helps break down what you think you are seeing (from memory of the subject) to what you are really seeing.
Photocopy your drawing onto the art paper (water colour paper for example) your pencil lines become black outlines and you still have your original if you go wrong with the colour / medium etc.
If not confident with drawing use different medium to a pencil a pencil shows all whereas other mediums such as paint, chalk, etc gives feeling to your drawings without them having to be perfect.
For the Writing side of things:
Write what you know about
Take an experience or memory and stretch it to a story with the imagination
Really get to know your characters (through drawing them, even naming them in your mind) so that they remain the same throughout your book.
Work on the words especially if you are writing a childrens book as words are kept to a minimal and therefore must make their impact.
You dont have to be published to enjoy writing / making books. Personalised books make great gifts for loved ones.
Write as you talk. We should be able to stand up and tell our story. If it comes out of our mouth wishywashy with lots of ums and ahs then that is how it will be written! (Stilted)
Brainstorm collect thoughts on your idea/theme
Find a connecting storyline (organise and weed out ideas)
Find an ending a story has got to have an ending
What to do now:
I am going to potter around with the idea that came to me while we were in the workshop. Im not going to rush it but Id like to mull around a bit.
I am going to spend more time taking the kids through the process of making a book. They write the stories well – but Id like them to break their story down into pages, think of the illustrations and the cover page. Id like to make a few books from their writing Id like them to see this as something they could put in our gift box.
Id like to see our artist of the family take the challenge and illustrate the writers stories. I can even see a place for the organiser in the whole publishing process! Not sure about the technologies bloke – have to think on this one a bit!