Make your own storybook

Story writing and illustration workshop for children!


Last Friday I was invited by Silver Oaks, Bangalore to facilitate a storybook illustration workshop of 1 hour for children in grade-3 aged 8–9 years. I had their English teacher and drawing teacher to help me.

The children were super excited when told that they would be making their own storybooks. I asked them about their most favourite storybooks and almost all of them seemed to like Geronimo Stilton . They like it because it is funny and there is a lot of adventure.

The kids were given 15 mins to write an interesting story of their own around the theme of rain. Once they finished their story, they could draw a rough sketch of the frames of their story. Then they make the final booklet by drawing each frame in a separate page of the 10 page booklet given to them.

Stage 1 Writing a story and planning the visuals

They got really creative and the stories that emerged were amazing.

  1. Journey of Captain Nick — travails of the captain of a ship who survives the rough sea during a storm and manages to see the sun on an island.
Journey of Captain Nick

2. The thunder rain — the dilemma of a boy who loves riding his cycle but cannot do so once the rains arrives. The smart boy chooses to make paper boats instead and enjoy the rains.

The thunder rain

3. One sailing ship — A ship with 1000 people on board starts to sink owing to continuous rain. An intelligent boy tells the people on board to hold their breath and swim to the shore and they all manage to survive.

One sailing ship

4. The greedy rain — about a village where the rain dominates over the sun until the villagers persuade it to see the damage caused by it. The rain realises its folly and makes way for the sun.

The greedy rain

5. I love rain — a little girl whose mother encourages her to go out and play in the rain. She loves the colourful umbrellas and flowers. She calls over her friends and all of them sing and dance in their garden.

One of the most remarkable things that emerged was the representation of rain by every child was different in each drawing.

Stage 2 Creating the cover page

They were later asked to provide a title to their story and draw a prominent cover image which they would then colour. This turned out to be the highlight of the morning with them churning out some awesome covers full of life. The typographic treatment too was very unique for each story.

Journey of Captain Nick
The thunder rain
One sailing ship
The greedy rain
I love Rain

Learnings

One of the learning from the workshop for teachers is to never try and influence the children but rather prod them with cues.

One of the students drew the turbulent waters of the sea (see below left)in his own way but his drawing teacher chose to correct him mid way by showing him how to draw a sinusoidal wave. This stole away the natural expression of the turbulent sea (see right) which the child had initially drawn.

The child who drew turbulent waves (left) . But he changed it to sinusoidal waves (right) after his teacher corrected him. This caused a loss of expression and a lame drawing on the right.

Some of the story titles were vague. One of the titles was ‘Journey of rain’ but after a little prodding by his teacher, the child changed it to ‘Journey of Captain Nick’.

Encourage originality always.

Some stories were copies of the lazy grasshopper not collecting food during winter. But the kids were told to go back and write an original story. They came back within 5 mins with much better stories. Some of them very discerning about their own stories. They chose to rewrite their story because they didn't like it as much in the first attempt.

Overall it was a very fulfilling experience for me since I got to see some very expressive and lively drawings. Check out these final sketches.

Rahul loves to ride his bicycle outside but is scared of the thundering rains. He doesn't lose heart and instead decides to make paper boats and float them in the rain.

Below is the certificate of merit that I received ☺

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