Tips From a Visiting Author

March 10, 2016 at 3:06 PM

Today, as part of the Year 8 English extension programme, the students welcomed New Zealand author and illustrator, Zee Southcombe to their class to learn a little more about the best practice for creating a successful children’s picture book.

The extension programme draws the highest achieving Year 8 boys and girls into a joint class that focuses on the exploration of ideas, the study of challenging texts and project-based work that allows the students to explore their own creativity. This term, the class is focusing on the genre of children's literature. The students have been looking in detail at the craft of writing for young children, and are now at the stage of writing and producing their own illustrated children's stories.

The visit from Ms Southcombe was very timely as it allowed the students to hear her advice, tips and strategies for producing a book that will engage the reader. The students were also able to seek her help on specific areas they were struggling with, especially regarding the technical aspects of illustration.

Ms Southcombe prefers hand-drawn illustrations to digital ones, explaining that personalised drawings will give uniqueness to a book that is not always achieved digitally. She prefers to draw with pen, then colouring the work with ink, crayon or acrylic - but she is not adverse to making use of software programmes to ‘tweak’ her illustrations and made some recommendations on useful programmes.

The students are grateful to Ms Southcombe for the time she spent in consultation with them. They can now progress to the next stage of their project with a better understanding of how best to balance text and illustration on a spread, and how this can be key to the success of the book.

The hope is once their book is finished, they can test their creations on a critical audience – our very own Saint Kentigern preschoolers!


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