Many people have asked me to show how to draw a lego minifigure and Laurence Maher, a long time youtube follower, asked me again recently when I met him at The Great British Fayre. You can see all about it here.
I thought about which lego person I should draw and then I realised I could draw one that looks like me! Wouldn’t it be great to have a lego figure of yourself? What would you dress yours up as?
My head is full of dragons as I’ve just finished writing my next book, which is about dragons, and now I have to design the cover and think about the inside illustrations. So “!m afraid you are going to have to put up with a few dragon drawings!
This is quite a long video for a change – a lot of pencil technique involved!
I’ve just finished writing a story for my new publishers, Firefly Press. The story has a dragon at the heart of it, so now I have to draw the cover of the book and I’ve had to start thinking about the illustrations inside too.
I started doodling dragons to get in the mood, and soon realised what it is I find difficult about drawing them. It’s the wings!
If dragons are of this world, they must have evolved from a common ancestor to lizards or Komodo dragons of today. But their wings will not work the same way as a bird or a bat, whose wings are their arms or front legs. In the case of the bat the skin is stretched between it’s very long fingers.
So how do the wings work on a four legged dragon? They already have front legs so the wings must have evolved from something different entirely, or they are from a different world altogether?
I heard on the news this morning that more and more families are hiring home tutors. While that may be a good thing if your children need particular specialist help, there are things that you can do that will have a much deeper effect on your children’s education and also on the happiness of your family. They are not only cheaper, they are free!
The press and politicians love to bash schools. They do it to sell more papers and gain more votes. The care and education of the children comes a long way down their list of concerns.
Schools actually do an amazing job. Each year they are asked to achieve more and more, and are given a hard time if they can’t squeeze more into the same sized brains that enter their doors each year. The world is changing just as fast for teachers as it is for you I. Schools and teachers are doing an amazing job keeping up while meeting unhelpful political targets. Teachers want to teach, not win votes for politicians.
Teachers only have so much time in the day and rarely have time for a one to one sit down with your child. If they do, they are probably, subconsciously making sure there is no physical contact and that no part of the conversation can be misconstrued.
Children come home from school tired. They’ve been working hard all day. The last thing they want is to see the smiling face of a home tutor when they get through the door! They’ll put up with it and may even, reluctantly, learn something because, generally, children do what they are told.
You, as a parent are the best home tutor a child can have and you come free! Every thing you do is a potential learning situation. Separating colours for the wash, weighing and measuring, counting, adding and taking away. So many irritating moments can be made simpler and more fun but remembering to turn it into a game. I know it’s hard to remember when you are exhausted too, but it does make it so much easier than fighting and arguing.
But there is one simple thing you can do that no teacher or home tutor can do that will change the lives and educational prospects of your children more than anything else.
Snuggle up together at bedtime and share a book.
You don’t have to be the greatest reader in the world or be able to do all the whacky voices. You are your child’s hero, so whatever you do will be great. If you can make the time to spend twenty minutes or half an hour reading to your child every night, you will be increasing their educational prospects more than any other intervention could ever hope to.
However sophisticated we think we are, we are still apes and we still need moments of physical closeness to bond. It is that closeness that children crave that modern life does its best to exclude. If children learn to relate reading with the best, cosiest time of their day, they will want to learn to do that magic trick themselves.
Following along as you read, is the best way to learn those long words and see them being decoded before their eyes. Learning to read is the hardest job any of us encounter in our lives. It requires thousands of hours of practice to become fluent. And fluency in reading is the key to pretty much every subject in education. Even sport has become an academic subject! Without fluency, don’t waste money on home tutors. They will force learning in one ear for it to pop out of the other. A tutor should enhance a hunger for knowledge, not be there to force it in.
The stories you read at bedtime will stay with your children for ever.
And, if you remove TVs and computers and any other electronic distractions from the bedroom, you’ll find that children who’ve had that special, bedtime story and a quiet review of the good bits of the day or prayers, if you are that way inclined, will go to sleep happy in the knowledge they are loved and that someone has the time to care about them.
This can be your quiet-time and relaxing end of the day too – every day.
Learn how to draw a a scallop type seashell using Derwent Academy Watercolour Pencils and a Derwent water brush. When drawing with coloured pencils it’s best to start off with the lightwer colours and build up the density and hues as you go.
Start with a lighter colour to give you a guide to work to and don’t press too hard. You could use a very light pencil and erase any construction lines afterwards.
I was with Derwent Pencils at the British Family Fayre in Westerham, Kent on Saturday. I had a great time showing how to use watercolour pencils and aquatone sticks with Derwent waterbrushes great fun was had by all! great to meet everyone – very tiring but great fun :)
I will be at the Great British Family Fayre on the 31st August 2013. Why not come along?
I’ll be with Derwent Pencils, showing off their great products and showing how to draw all sorts of things.
To get you in the British mood, I thought I’d show you how to draw a British Pillar Box. There’s one of these on the corner of almost every street. It’s what you put your letters or mail in for the Post Office to come an collect and send to your frinds. You might call it a mail box. They are painted in “Pillar Box Red” except for one or two gold ones which are in the towns where Olympic Gold Medal winners live!
You can tell how high they are by the amount of black showing at the bottom. The more black, the higher they are. I learned this when I was younger and could not go past a pillar box without leap-frogging over it!
In this video I used my nice new set of Derwent coloursoft pencils.
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Because I will be at the Great British Family Fayre on the 31st August, I thought I should draw that quintessential English object – a Nice Cup of Tea. Actually, I think we are turning into a nation of coffee drinkers. I blame Starbucks!
Why not come along next week on Saturday the 31st August? I’ll be with Derwent Pencils – showing off their great products and showing how to draw all sorts of things.
I’m trying to tidy up my how to draw video and get them sorted out with proper thumbnail images and tags. I’m also trying to clean up the links to my website, many of which have been lost as tags and systems change. Along the way I’m discovering that some old videos aren’t connected to my website at all, so I’ll be trying to put that right. So here is a video I made a couple of years ago for you to watch, enjoy and copy.