Primary school drawing workshop
I am a natural history illustrator and botanical artist. But I’m also a parent. Sometimes I get asked to go into our local Hay-on-Wye Primary School and draw with the children. Recently I visited year 1 to draw “mini-beasts”. This was a similar workshop to one I did at Hay school a year ago.
I’ve got a whole lot of insect specimens that I’ve gathered over the years, including loads encased in Perspex. These are brilliant for kids as they can examine them closely, but do no damage. The children were aged 5 to 6, and keen.
I’m happy for them to use other specimens too – there’s nothing like drawing from life to ignite a child’s imagination and make them work really hard.
I like to encourage them to use graphite and coloured pencil, as lots of the observed details gets lost once you introduce paint or felt tip.
Some children chose to use oil pastels. I think these worked well. I do understand that asking someone to illustrate an iridescent green beetle in grey pencil can be frustrating!
Attention to detail
I was really impressed by these children. Their concentration spans were excellent. Some of them got thoroughly lost in the details of the insect legs and markings, which was marvellous.
I very much hope that me going in with bugs and drawing materials helps then not only develop a passion for all things entomological, but also a love of drawing from life, and for looking carefully at the amazing natural world around them.