Friday, April 4, 2008

Second Graders

Today I visited an elementary school to talk to the second graders about Dinotopia and to do a demo drawing of a dinosaur.

I enjoy talking to second graders because I was that age when I fell in love with drawing, thanks to Mrs. Bailey at Almond School in Los Altos, California.

Kids that age are also refreshingly honest. A girl stopped me afterward to say, "I saw your book at the bookstore and my mom almost bought it, but I found one I liked better, so I got that instead."
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More candid comments from kids, link.

10 comments:

gator said...

ahhh, james...say it aint so...where did the tron goggles go...ah man...dang!...

khapri said...

aww Little kids are adorable!

Erik Bongers said...

Some time ago I emailed the writer of a children's book that I illustrated some comments that I'd gathered.
I kept the children's comments for last (my sister is a teacher so I had lots of 'em) and I introduced those comments with something like : "...and now the toughest critics to deal with...".

Kids being the toughest critics, I actually appreciate their view much more that adults, at least when it comes to children's books. I can't accept that their view is inferior, it's just different and in case of children's books I dare say superior.
I've been thinking a lot about that lately (philosophy was my favourite subject in school and antropology and sociology are subjects that keep me fascinated).

I noticed that children are extremely quick at picking up tastes of fellow humans - being their parents or class mates.
Somehow I feel their personal taste is quickly poluted by their environment and I guess it's virtually impossible to re-discover your deepest most personal taste again at a later age (adulthood).

I good example is given in this interview (at the very end) with a price winning animation artist ("The Pearce Sisters").
http://www.pearcesisters.co.uk

The artist's daughter didn't like the film a bit : she gave her dad some drawings of her own and told him that's how he should do it : fairies and princesses.

It's a good example because it's got me puzzled : where did the preference for fairies and princesses come from ?
Is this a clear cut case of influence or are these fairies and princesses so architypical that we children's book artist should humbly give in to?

I only have questions. No answers.

Erik Bongers said...

Guys, you MUST read those kids' comments !
I practically loved it !

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

I love your collection of quotes from your young fans' letters.

I hear good ones, too. Several years ago at recess a girl with about two weeks of first grade behind her came up to me and informed me,

"Mr. Gurney, you're a really good teacher."

I replied, "Oh thank you. There are many good teachers at our school."

"Yes, there are," she agreed, "and you're the second best."

Eric Orchard said...

oof! Ouch!I get those comments too, and I feel like taking them in stride is all part of the
zen-like path to being a better artist, or a more patient one.

Enzie Shahmiri said...

So cool that you spend some time with the little ones. I did 'Meet the Master's' for a while, when my son was in elementary school I loved it! Kids have such an enthusiams for art and it is really fun listening to their comments.

Enzie Shahmiri said...

So cool that you spend some time with the little ones. I did 'Meet the Master's' for a while, when my son was in elementary school I loved it! Kids have such an enthusiams for art and it is really fun listening to their comments.

Enzie Shahmiri said...

So cool that you spend some time with the little ones. I did 'Meet the Master's' for a while, when my son was in elementary school I loved it! Kids have such an enthusiams for art and it is really fun listening to their comments.

dana-redde said...

love those comments!! Oh god, when I was a kid I used to write to authors, and getting a response back was like meeting a rockstar. (Actually, it still is; I fangirled pretty bad when Pat Rothfuss wrote me back!) I don't remember what I said back then, I bet some of them would be pretty amusing now.