Illustrator, Mr. Jose visits Wells Thong Lo
By: Mr. John Gramling – K3B Homeroom Teacher
Our six-year-old (K3) students are beginning to learn about the ‘teamwork’ that is necessary when it comes to publishing a book, (the author, illustrator, publisher etc.) and that is why they were highly excited last month when they were told that they were going to get a chance to hear from an actual “illustrator”. Jose Ortega, the illustrator of the published book entitled, “Leo’s Pet Bug” visited our school in the last week of March and discussed with our students all that goes into creating the artwork for a children’s book.
He began by providing proof to the children that he had actually illustrated “Leo’s Pet Bug” by himself. He brought in an actual published copy of “Leo’s Pet Bug” along with all of his rough-draft sketches that went along with the book. He opened the book to a given page, and he pulled out the identical penciled-in sketch. “See, this is the book, and this is the first sketch,” he explained to them. Then he would open a new page, and again show the corresponding sketch.
Our students sat there puzzled for a moment. Although they understood the concept of ‘author’ and ‘illustrator’, this was the first time they had actually been shown the process of how first-draft sketches can become actual colored pages inside children’s books. Their bewilderment slowly changed to excitement as they began realizing; “If this person can draw pictures that get shown inside of a book, then maybe I can too!”
Just at that moment, Mr. Ortega passed out to our students exactly what they had been waiting for: blank story planners of their own so that they could sketch (and write) their own books. And for the next 20 minutes to follow, they did just that. They wrote down their own first sketches (and writings) of a book they hoped to create. You could hear chatter coming from all over the room from the kids talking about the spellings of certain words, or the drawings they were creating. The room was buzzing with creativity, and of course it goes without saying that there were many exciting stories to come out of this activity. There were stories of dancing robots, lions walking on the ceiling, and even jellyfish catching people in the sea. All-in-all this was a highly educational and rewarding experience for our students and teachers (and illustrator) alike.