Thursday, November 24, 2011

Drawing Cats with the Bilingual

I spent the day in a couple of impressive French Schools in the fancier parts of London, along with Axel Scheffler - we got a class each for an hour at a time and entertained them with drawing and chats. He had a bit of a headstart, I noticed that when he walked into his classrooms the children all went "AIIIIEEE AXEL SCHEFFLEEEER", in my rooms they all just went "Bonjour".

Anyway, we had fun scribbling wool and drawing cats and gluing one to the other, and the children asked very good questions. I decided that they were probably future prime minister material because when I was drawing on the whiteboard they liked to get up and correct it. In the last session I got a little bit self-conscious about all that and they ended up shouting : "IT'S NOT A CAT! IT'S A HAMSTER! IT'S NOT A HAMSTER, IT'S A RABBIT!" and so on whatever I did. These were also the first children of any age who complained that my workshop was too easy. I told them they could draw all the hairs on the cats if they wanted a challenge. One girl said she wasn't drawing hairs because she was drawing aubergines, not cats. I agreed that it would be weird.

Of course I also had to draw a cat about to throw up, and a horse. I kid you not. If you ever tried drawing a horse on a whiteboard in front of a class of extremely bright children who laugh at you in French, you know what I'm talking about. Yeah. They did applaud me for that one because I had told them it was difficult.

Tomorrow I have four more workshops for classes of different ages, and some sort of a big talk on stage which I shall attempt to prepare right now.
The main thing I have concluded so far is that French schools have superior canteen food (eight different starters and a cheese course).

All considered, best workshops I did all year. I hope they'll send me some photos, not of me, but of the cat art that resulted. The children really could draw, they were all like: "Un Chat, phwah, trop facile, voila!" - One boy asked: "Do we have to draw like you?" I said: "Well evidently it would be a bad idea, everyone would be shouting at you "IT'S A HAMSTER!" - He nodded seriously and got on with drawing some excellent cats.

It's also the first school visit ever where a child asked me what percentage royalties I make. He was, what, seven years old? What do they feed them? Pure Awesome.

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