Learn how to draw a Box Real Easy. Yes, I’m starting to make videos on the DrawStuffRealEasy channel again, but they will be a bit different from now on. Much simpler overall. I hope you will enjoy them.
I may go over old ground again, but repetition is the same as Practice, Practice, Practice!
I will also be making downloadable pdf step-by-step sheets of each new drawing.
Click on the download link for your free copy!
If you saw Monday’s video – How to draw a Viking Dragon – then you may have wondered about the runic lettering I drew on the dragon. If you would like to do something similar yourself, here is the whole alphabet. It’s not proper Viking runes it’s an alphabet that you can use to make your message look Viking.
I’m really pleased with Map Pad. Writing stories for early stage phonics books is a bit like playing a game of Sudoku. You let the letters you are allowed to use swim about in front of you,until they coalesce into groups of words that can be connected in some way. With luck, and a bit of perspicacity, in an interesting and entertaining way too.
Map Pad is written with only the letters S-A-T-P-I-N-M-D. I was only allowed to use three-lettered words plus four-lettered words with an S on the end.
I recently had an email complaining that I’d used slang in a phonics book – I’d used the word till instead of until. Apart from the fact that till is the older, and original word, which means that until could be thought of as the slang version. Anyway, I didn’t have the letter U available to me when writing. I thought I’d been really clever!
I love my simple books for the Big Cat series. When I write them I remember what it was like, all those years ago, being bored to death with Janet and John and then LOOK!- as my children began learning to read. I really try hard to entertain and make these little stories fun. Learning to read is hard enough without having to read boring stories too!
You can get you copy from Amazon here:
Yesterday I visited Lydbrook Primary School, here in the Forest of Dean. It was once a village school that took children up to school leaving age – Lydbrook was a mining village and many of the children went to work underground or in other manual trades.
One of the teaching blocks has this fabulous sign carved from the local forest stone, announcing that Manual Instruction was taught inside. That would be carpentry and metalwork as well as cooking and other skills.
How many children yearn for a building like that at school, these days? Somewhere to make something, create something and learn a real skill. A classroom where there are no written explanations or reflections, no written exams, coursework or measurable outcomes, other than the the finished object speaking for itself – just manual instruction – the passing on of skills and craft attitudes that matter in the real world those children will grow up to live in.
A little bit of DT mixed into the curriculum doesn’t satisfy practically-minded children. All those essays and written coursework that the art, drama and sports department now require, only serve to put those, who are naturally suited to the subject, off pursuing them.
Haven’t we had enough of political correctness forcing children to be square pegs in round holes for the sake of neat accounting? Will education ever come again to accept that one academic size does not fit all? Will we ever be grown-up enough to accept that we are not all wired-up the same way? We knew it once and built classrooms for Manual Instruction.
Now that a bit of history has passed under the bridge, I can see what happened. The grammar schools gave extraordinary chances to working-class children. Those who got to Oxford and Cambridge soon came to run the country as leaders of the Labour Party, lording it over the Swinging Sixties, when almost anyone could do anything and and almost anything seemed possible.
So how did those ungrateful, mean-minded politicians repay the help and belief they were given by previous generations, that worked so hard to give them a bright, new future? They closed down the grammar schools, that got them where they were, and pulled up all the ladders to advancement behind them, protecting their new-found wealth and position from any new upstarts who might come up from below and take away what had been given them in a spirit of hope and generosity. Then they invented political correctness to put fear into those who might criticise them.
Rather than generally reducing children’s prospects, by creating the comprehensive schools that sought to promote the mean, wouldn’t it have been wonderful if they had followed in their public-spirited forefathers’ steps and addressed the abysmal state of secondary modern schools instead, turning them into first class academies of technology, creativity and craft, that stood on a level with the grammar schools, the two cultures working side by side?
Wait a minute – that still sounds like a good idea to me!
Yesterday I visited Redbrook School, close to where I live in the Forest of Dean. I was telling them tales about Vikings in my Viking Vik series of Books. So I thought I’d continue my Dragon series with a Viking knot type drawing of a dragon with Runes all down the inside.
If you would like to do something similar, I’ll be posting the Runic Alphabet design on Friday so come back then.
I saw this video and thought I’d share it with you as it’s such fun!
Official music video for “Crayola Doesn’t Make A Color For Your Eyes” by Kristin Andreassen, from her album “Kiss Me Hello”. Written by Kristin Andreassen and Megan Downes / Yellowcar Music / ASCAP. (c) 2009 Kristin Andreassen
Winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Award for Best Children’s Song (2007), and featured on A Prairie Home Companion.
Directed by Ballard C. Boyd
Director of Photography Will Beckley
Animation by Weston Malgren
Produced by Kristin Andreassen & Ballard C. Boyd in participation with the Conservatory Lab Charter School, Brighton, MA.
Featuring Alliyah, Brandon, Carlos, Chavez, Daborah, Emmanuel, Gabriana, Isaiah, Jarel, Jason, Jordyn, José, Joshua, Kelis, Miguel, Morgan, Nicolas, Rayne, Samantha, Tambre, Thyrah, Trevor, Yantaya, Sofya, Stella, Nora
Thanks to Megan Howe, Courtney Mulvilhill, Pampa Rotolo, Diana Lam, Anne Whittredge, Annie Sevelius, Tracy Campbell. Special thanks to Lindsay O’Donovan, St. Columbkille, Jerome Wade, Bud Durand, and Numerous Friends & Family.
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 used to worry about repeating myself but, when writing stories for very young readers, I love repeating words and phrases, twisting them gently to create new, surprising meanings with the same jumble of words and letters. It helps increase word recognition and the decoding of meaning.
Repetition is the essence of learning, making strong connections and pathways that form the foundations on which new connections are built. Repetition in physical activity is a given – press-ups, shooting at goal, exercises at the barre.
Reading is the the most difficult skill most of us will ever set out to master. But somehow, we have come to underestimate the difficulty and assume that it’s the job of schools to sort it out. But schools can’t cope with all they are asked to do, especially the way the curriculum continues to be fiddled about with.
Every time there is a crisis, the same voices wail in the media, “Schools should be teaching this!” And so more gets dumped on schools and they are expected to cope.
Schoolchildren now work at conceptual levels that are so much higher than they were in my childhood. Don’t believe the dumbing down stories. Children these days have to learn a breadth of information and life skills that hardly existed for my generation.
Once, Literacy meant the ability to read and write. Now it seems to have been redefined as the ability to write and decode text. And yet, for all the expense and effort, reading and writing levels fail to improve – arguably they have decreased.
I’ll repeat myself:
Reading is the the most difficult skill most of us will ever set out to master.
Phonics are great as a help when children are learning to read, but that is not the end of it. They need books, and most importantly they need stories. Stories with a beginning and a middle and a satisfying end, not an extract full of adverbs.
Children need to read bucket loads of books, and to get them to read books they need great stories. Children are hard-wired to listen to and learn from stories. Once they know that between the covers of a book lie multiple, parallel universes in which they can reside and become the heroes and heroines, they become addicted and want more. But they need to know those stories are there in the first place.
If there is no time for reading at school, how will they find it at home, where they are barraged by the cheap, unsatisfying pulp of the TV, internet, games and texting? If reading is not promoted or cherished at school or at home why should they bother? If they are never read to, how do they know what lies between the covers and why should they care? Why should they be bothered to read the books when they can wait and watch it on DVD?
If you want to improve your children’s writing skills it’s easy… let them read books – lot and lots of them. How are they ever supposed to learn the skill if they never practice? Want to be a great footballer? Watch Beckham or Ronaldo. Want to make great movies? Go watch a lot of movies. Want to be a Blue Peter presenter? Try watching Blue Peter!
How can children possibly hope to learn to write and improve their writing skills if they rarely see it being done and have no idea what it is they are trying to achieve?
Want to be able to write, understand particle physics or just do well in SATS? Then learn to read. All human knowledge is wrapped up in books. To be able to access that knowledge you need to be a fluent reader, and to become a fluent reader you need to do the work and read a lot of books.
Repetition, reading the words again and again, in new combinations until you can read anything with out thinking, allows the brain to get on with the business of learning what it is that the words have to say.
We all know how repetition is boring – doing the same press-ups every day, we soon give up and go flabby.
But the wonder of stories is that the repetition is wrapped up and served differently every time. Each new story somehow leads to another. Stories make the hard work of learning to read a pleasure. Stories should be at the core of education, cherished and repeated. Every school day should end with story-time, yes – even in secondary school. Stories – read aloud, just for the joy of it.
Not everything in life needs to have a measurable outcome. But reading stories, just for the joy of it, reading lots of stories, again and again, has the most immeasurable outcome of all: Literacy – the ability to read and find out independently, to understand, add to and pass on the learned knowledge.
This all comes from the core skill – reading. I hope you won’t mind if I repeat myself again.
Reading is the the most difficult skill most of us will ever set out to master.
If you want to improve your children’s writing skills it’s easy… let them read books – lot and lots of them.
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?