I love to Visit Schools
When I am not illustrating and writing stories in my little studio in the North East of England, I can usually be found travelling all over the country visiting primary schools, libraries and museums. I have been involved in children's events for over four years and I always receive a fantastic response every time!
I am willing to travel anywhere in the world! I had a fantastic trip to Lausanne in Switzerland in 2006 where I visited two beautiful schools. Why not ask a school nearby if they want me to visit them too? Then you can go halves my travel costs!
(Remember, you don't have to book me for just a one day visit- I have previously been asked for 5 days, 2 days, a series of after school sessions, and even half a day.)
I have been an Artist in Residence for Creative Partnerships which lasted up to 6 weeks which was great fun. I am actively involved in local museums where I do craft workshops with children with a given theme such as making Christmas card and designing Easter pop-up cards.I can also paint murals onto interior walls if you are a local school but I obviously charge a lot more! I have recently designed and painted a large wildlife mural for a local park with another artist which took us six weeks to complete!
What Happens On The Day
Obviously I don't want to give too much away on my website! I work with children of all ages, from tiny nursery tots through to grumpy teens! My talks are fun informative and very motivating with lots of audience participation!
I usually do 3 sessions in the morning, each 'talk' last up to 40 minutes and I like to do these in the main hall. I can talk to large groups of children but I prefer to keep it to 90 maximum! Remember, if your school is particularly large I can always visit for two days as this allows me to concentrate on a particular key stage.
I alter my talks to suit the age group. When I address children from reception/year 1 for example, I do a lot more fun storytelling and draw colourful characters from my books onto my flipchart. When talking to the juniors l do plenty of quick animal drawings and I talk them through the publishing process - from rough ideas and sketches to a finished book in the shops .It makes them realise how difficult my job is! I show them what my job entails by teaching them all about character development, movement and facial expressions. The children are always in awe at my ability to draw so quickly and so accurately!
After lunch, I work with selected year groups in two illustration workshops- maximum numbers up to 100 children each workshop (as long as there are plenty of teachers on hand!)
The theme of these workshops is up to you! (I have many to choose from but if you'd prefer to set a theme around the curriculum then you are more than welcome i.e. - mythical beasts, seaside theme, etc.) The workshops are held in the main hall and its just one big draw fest! They normally last up to 45 minutes and the children can do follow on work in their classrooms - there's normally no stopping them! It gives the children the opportunity of working with a 'real life' illustrator and allows them use their imagination to create wonderful art work.
Alternatively, I can concentrate on story writing in smaller groups if you prefer. I work differently to normal authors-I tend to create the characters first and then write the story around them. It's a good way to get reluctant children to produce work!
Remember how many workshops and who takes part, etc , is totally up to you and your school. A lot of schools want to concentrate on literacy with selected classes/year groups which is fine. Some schools ask me to spend a whole day with just two year groups for example, working with year 5 in the morning and year 6 in the afternoon which is more intimate.
Example of typical primary timetable with 150 pupils, 50 in each talk
1st talk: 9am to 9.45am - rec, yr1 and yr 2
2nd talk: 9.45am to 10.30am - yr 3 and 4
3rd talk:10.50am to 11.30am - yr 5 and yr 6
1st workshop: 1.15pm to 2pm
2nd workshop: 2.15pm - 3pm
I am often asked to visit two local libraries in a day and I am prepared for a mixed age range, some adults join in too!
In half term/holidays, here is a typical example of my sessions:
10.30-12pm first session
1.30-3pm second session in another library close by
During term time, libraries like to invite local schools into their library:
9.30 to 10.30 - first session with year 1 and 2
10.45 to 11.30 - second session with year 3 and 4
1.30 to 2.30 - third session with year 5 and 6
In library events, I do a 'draw-along-with-liz' for part of the session which shows kids how to draw animals and humans.
My fee depends on how long you want me for,travel costs, if it is an overnight stop, etc. I am based in Darlington, Co. Durham and with plenty of notice I can usually find cheap rail tickets.
My diary is usually flexible however please allow plenty of notice when making a booking (at least 2 months). I get particularly busy around World Book Day in March and October as well as working to deadlines when illustrating books! If you are not a local school I will need time to travel down to your area the night before. I can stay with a female member of staff overnight but I do prefer to stay in a hotel if the visit is for more than one night.
I will need a flipchart providing and plenty of paper for it - please borrow one from another school if you haven't got one at your school - I often arrive on the day to find a mini nursery board that nearly breaks my back when drawing!! I need a school dinner providing also.
After you have made a booking, I will send an information pack to your school. It will detail the session times, number of kids, workshops, etc. Along with confirmation of your booking.
The workshop sheets can be photocopied at break time on the day. If you want me to bring some books to sell to the children then just ask me!
I hope to hear from you soon! Please contact me.
I write and illustrate books for children, it's my dream job! You can see examples of my work.Books
If you want to have some fun you can print out some of my illustrations and you can colour them in at home.Colouring