Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Super Hero School Visits!!!

Imagine going back to elementary school - not as a kid or a teacher and not as the Principle or as a parent (been there done that) but as a SUPER HERO!!!! That's what it's like when you go as an illustrator. Think about it: the teachers hype you for weeks prior to your visit and the kids get the idea that you're a mythical creature coming to save the school - and you DO! because you get them out of class!!! So there you are (a normal putz like me) but the kids think you're awesome - so you start believing them...then you remember you're still going to have to do dishes when you get home -but while you're there you get to play super hero - able to draw tall buildings in a single swipe!...I need a cape.

Here I am a few weeks ago in Ogden Utah at Wasatch Elementary throwin down for the kids on my iPad. I had such a blast drawing for them and talking about what it's like to be an illustrator of children's books, ebooks, and apps.

What I include in my school visits:
1) Belly slide across cafeteria floor to get the kids amped! (remember to grease belly next time)
2) Talk about how hard it was for me to learn to read.
3) Explanation of illustrator responsibilities with funky pictures.
4) Read along with kids.
5) Short lesson on turning words into pictures.
6) Wow factor illustration demo on iPad.

My favorite part is how the kids go silent when I start drawing on the iPad hooked to the LCD projector - it's fun because I remember watching drawing shows and being mesmerized.

Suzane Bolar, the principle was awesome to work with - Thanks Suzane! She even called the press and got a write up in the local paper - here's the link: https://www.standard.net/stories/2011/11/17/book-illustrator-motivates-students


  1. I too am amazed at how you do what you do. I go once a month and read stories I've written to my son's 2nd grade class. You're right they think it's great. Just a word of caution though, some parents could take issue to their kids picture displayed publicly. I'd hate to see you get in hot water. Thank you for all the great posts. I've learned so much since I've been following you.

  2. Thanks! That kind of involvement is awesome - you're shaping lives every time you go in and you feel so good when you come out. The above photograph was printed in the Standard Examiner and posted on their website so I think it's ok to re-post.

  3. I remember having authors visit our school. It would have been that much more exciting to have an illustrator draw live!

  4. Here a link for your next visit.

  5. Thanks Adam! Patti - you're funny - now I have no excuse for future visits :)

  6. “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
    - Forest E. Witcraft

    Will, you ARE a superhero. :)

  7. The next time you do a school visit, close your legs more, those poor kids don't need to be seeing that!

    I take full credit for the first belly slide at a school visit.

  8. Thank you Teresa for those kind words...will you teach some of them to Stacy :) Love you man :)

  9. This is totally awesome. I presented my dummy book to a kindergarden class, so I know the feeling. You sir, are clearly very professional at being a super hero. (Belly sliding!)


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