Here’s how I created shape animals starting with rough sketches, and how I use them in children’s workshops as step-by-step drawing tutorials.
When I run illustration workshops there are sometimes children who simply don’t know where to start with creating their own characters. To help, I briefly go through things we’ve already covered in the workshop, such as choosing a character that’s simple to draw like a ‘super slug’, or thinking about the kinds of characters they like to read about or watch. If that doesn’t work I suggest creating a fox purely from triangles – this gives the child something they can draw without any pressure or fear of failure. I’ll often come back later and they’ve started confidently drawing characters.
This gave me the idea to create my own triangle fox to use as a step-by-step drawing exercise for younger classes. I started with a lot of experimental sketches which became a series of shape animals, then coloured versions for my portfolio. I’m pleased with the way they turned out – using a different approach is a liberating way to create something fresh. I think the animals would be great in a board book. I also created a GIF showing the stages of drawing the fox to add something fun to my portfolio.
In addition to the fox, I’ve also taught reception and year 1 pupils to draw the grumpy bear cub, which turned out great. Whenever I do a step-by-step drawing tutorial I encourage children to individualise their drawings once we’ve mapped out the basic structure. They change the eyebrows, the fur, add in extra elements such as a mask and cloak to create a ‘super’ version. I love seeing all the different versions at the end.
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