Today I had my first class visit, ironically in the summer, when school isn’t in session! It was short, an hour. No Keynote presentation, no process slideshow. Just me, my stuff and 25 3rd and 4th graders at Art & Nature Camp : )
Yesterday, I was approached by a couple of the educators at the camp. They’d had an artist lined up, but she had to cancel at the last minute, and would I mind filling in? They knew I was an illustrator, because my son had told them when they explained to the campers what had happened to their speaker. Normally, I would need more notice because I am only just getting prepared for school visits. And there’s always the question of payment. However, I believe in volunteerism, these educators were also volunteering, and this could help me work out a few of my demons standing in front of a large group: of children.
Adults are easier to present to: They have an idea of what you’re going to do, they usually at least act like they’re interested, and most times, they’re easily impressed. Children are more difficult: You KNOW when they’re not interested, they ask the questions you weren’t expecting, they touch everything, and you’re competing with so many other things for their attention. When they get home, are they going to even remember to tell their parents they had a real live illustrator talking to them? I’ve been listening to Seth Godin’s Linchpin and finished Poke The Box. I’ve been coasting for years without visits, and of course, I haven’t gone much further in my career since the boys were born. I knew I’d have to talk to kids sometime. It’s time for me to “ship it.”
I took a few photos before the kids sat down. There’s an outdoor gathering area with graduated stone and grass seating. It’s beautiful there, I can only imagine what it’s like in Autumn. My son took a couple photos of me with his camera, but I forgot to show him the zoom…I’d set up all my work. It was the perfect day, perfect temp, no wind, no humidity, great kids with good questions. I hope I kept their interest, and I hope they got something out of it!
This is the walkway down to the gathering area, and where the kids were sitting.
My perspective, except imagine there were 25 kids and 3 educators sitting there!
I was tempted to bring all the books I’d worked on, but just narrowed it down to ones that were more nature oriented.
Me, jib-jabbering away with my books in front of me…And Highlights and prints…And even some of my traditional stuff…Because this is an Art and Nature camp, the books that I’d brought on the far right are books by different illustrators using different mediums, but also who use/have used nature as their inspiration: Charles Harper, Chris VanAllsburg, Susan Swan, Leslie Evans, Kurt Cyrus and Susan Branch. Had to add Old Bear by Kevin Henkes AND Ground Hog Weather School by Kristin Sorra too! : D