Elise Hurst is a Melbourne illustrator and author of Imagine a City, a beautiful book filled with intricate line drawings which is a favourite in our household, as featured in July’s First Tuesday Book Club and which we read as part of the program for my joint project Build & Rebuild).
Lady AB and I were fortunate to attend her drawing workshop ‘Dramatic Lines’ at ArtPlay where we got to learn some basic drawing techniques.
The workshop had about 12 children and the parents either actively participated or sat back and watched depending on the age and ability of the child. I worked alongside Lady AB throughout the session as the 1.5 hour workshop was pitched to 5-8 year olds. I was concerned whether Lady AB would be able to concentrate for that long but I still decided to try taking her as she’s recently become very interested in drawing and art.
The workshop began with a reading of Imagine a City, which helped set the scene and for Lady AB gave her a sense of familiarity with the surroundings, the teacher and the work we were about to do.
Then Elise taught the kids some drawing techniques and styles, such as using a ‘flip flop’ wrist to create efficiency of movement when drawing and showing them the effect that different lines can have on shapes, shading and the creation of 3D effects. I learnt something too, which made the $15 fee good value!
Being a mother of young twins Elise was very adept at talking to the kids at the right level while still passing on some pretty sophisticated concepts. Lady AB didn’t understand how to visualise light sources and casting shadows but she still retained quite a bit of information – cross-hatching is an oft-used term in our house now! She was thrilled to be able to create a fish bus, just like the picture in Imagine the City.
You can admire more of Elise’s work in the mural that she’s produced inside walls of Artplay. It was drawn freehand, using only a sharpie permanent marker! Once you’ve done the workshop you can appreciate just how impressive her skills are.
Elise Hurst will be running Dramatic Lines at ArtPlay again on Saturday 22 August as part of Melbourne Writer’s Festival children and teens program so get in quick for your tickets. Here are some of my other picks.