Tag Archives: rockets

How to Draw Yuri Gagarin – The First Man in Space

Yuri Gagarin was bit of a hero to me while I was growing up. I was only four when he became the first man in space, on April 12th 1961, but I remember the excitement of the grownups and somehow understanding it was a great event and decided, like many other boys my age, that I would be a space man when I grew up. We soon learned to call Russian Space Men Cosmonauts and the Americans, Astronauts

This led to a fascination with space and rockets, fuelled by TV programmes like Lost in Space, Thunderbirds and Fireball XL5. My favourite ice lolly was a Zoom – space rocket inspired shape – that came with space collector cards and my favourite pop record was Telstar by the Tornados.

Gagarin was an international celebrity, helped by his wide, winning smile and handsome good looks. He looked everything a hero should be.

Sadly he died in 1968 when he crashed the MIG 15 training jet that he was flying at the time. You can find out more about Yuri Gagarin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin.

North Baddesley Infants School – Hampshire

I had a wonderful day yesterday at North Baddesley Infants School in Hampshire. They booked so long ago that they had slipped of the calendar and had become double-booked! All that was sorted and, even though my Sat Nav crashed on me. I got there on the right day at the right time.

Year One were starting their Space Theme, so we talked about Ricky Rocket and I showed them how to draw him. I love doing this. All the intense concentration that goes into the drawings is amply rewarded by the fabulous drawing that all the children did. Each one so different and full of the artists character. It’s such a shame children can’t keep that spirit going. There comes a time when they start comparing themselves to each other and to great artists and decide they are no good at drawing, but they are all ready good at drawing and have their own natural style too – it takes years to regain that! After a bit of discussion, I left them with ideas to carry on with a Ricky Rocket story of their own.

I hadn’t realised that The Reception Year were doing space too, so I dropped my planned session and reminisced about the Apollo Space Missions and did lots of drawings of Saturn Five rockets and Lunar landing modules.

Year Two had been writing transformation stories about magic stones. I searched my bag to see if I had Viking Vik And The Lucky Stone with me, but I didn’t. On the spur of the moment I decided to retell it from memory aided with drawings. It worked really well, almost better, as I didn’t have to refer to the book and so all my attention could be focussed on the audience. It was a bit of a revelation to me actually. I was ably helped by one boy who had borrowed the book from the Library recently, and he helped me remember the bits that I forgot!

Many thanks for a great day and good luck to all you young NASA trainee astronauts!