melbourne writers festival

Book Week is rocking schools and kinders this week and in Melbourne there’s even more bookish events with the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Last weekend was the start of some amazing children’s workshops at Artplay and we attended two different, but equally enjoyable art classes with local illustrators.

In Shake, Stir, Mix and Paint, illustrator Ann James ran a workshop showing kids how she illustrated two of her picture books.

First she read from I’m a Dirty Dinosaur then got the kids to guess how she made the pictures. No, not brown paint – mud! Mud from the dam in her home near Castlemaine, to be precise. She showed a little short clip of her working ‘en plein air’ with her brushes in the mud.

melbourne writers festival

Then she showed us the magical multi coloured lead pencils she used to draw her characters so that their outlines were  rainbow of colours. Depending on how you hold and use the pencil you can draw with just one or two colours or mix all the colours.

melbourne writers festival

Kids were then encouraged to make their own drawing with the rainbow pencils and then to get painting. Lady AB loved seeing the surprise of colours spill out onto the page and then of course getting messy with the brown mud.

In the second half Ann read from I’m a Hungry Dinosaur, the sister book to I’m a Dirty Dinosaur (featured in First Tuesday Book Club in May). This time, we found out that she made the pictures using chocolate icing and sprinkles!

melbourne writers festival

Hmmm – delicious work.

melbourne writers festival

Our second workshop was with Elizabeth Honey who taught us how to use pencils and watercolour techniques to create Australian animals, as seen in her new book Hop Up! Wriggle Over!

melbourne writers festival

In all my years of ArtPlay classes I think this was the most silent one I’ve ever been too! Everyone was busy concentrating on drawing their kangaroos (a combination of teardrop shapes surprisingly) and then experimenting with watercolour paints, mixing and diluting and streaking.

melbourne writers festival

Melbourne Writers Festival continues until this Sunday 30 August with more children’s workshops on this weekend. It’s a great opportunity to families to meet and learn from fantastic writers and illustrators. For my recommendations click here.

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