Summer Sunset Sketching

1926297_714942748550181_1778291404_oCroydon Library and the Maroondah City Council, had me sketching at sunset to a modest crowd of 47. It was to promote getting back to the library after holidays or summer vacations, and appreciating our local parks and community services. It was also a time to promote “Draw me a Story” exhibition that the local council have put on for the kids to highlight some talented illustrators and authors and their children’s books.

Maroondah Sketching Feb21_A5As a children’s book author I talked about drawing books, local wildlife and did a huge skills-building workshops to a very happy bunch of parents and excited kids.

The day was pretty rainy all day and the weather looked like cancelling the event. But late afternoon the sun came out, the storm could be seen racing up the sides of Mt. Dandenong and we had a fantastic evening of sketching.

It was nice to see some familiar faces and the drawing quality was excellent. Both kids and parents got some great starts to visual journals and some awesome drawing in as we eat a picnic dinner and celebrated a gorgeous evening under the trees outside the Library and council offices, and every now and again we had the screeching hullabaloo long billed corellas.

20140221_193919<<  My Boys trying to play DJ while we were packing up.

Finally, DJ Ben Courtney played some excellent drawing music from Australian Classics to some upbeat modern trance that keep every artist focused and keen for more drawing lessons. It all was nice to see the two hours slip by and met some lovely locals.

Final Thanks to Janet, from Eastern Region Libraries for all the tireless promotion and her commitment to community events.

If anyone would like to see more drawing and storytelling. Head to “Draw me a Story” The Maroondah Art Gallery. There you will see more amazing drawings and more of your favourite books come to life. >>  Enjoy for Now!  >>

draw me a story

Australia Day a Sketching Success

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Australian Bush Creatures on Australia Day! Wow you can’t get much better than this. The weather was perfect we had hundreds out in Aussie colours the big band playing, people receiving there citizenship and getting Australian Flag Tattoos on each cheek. Then they all popped in to learn and hear about Australia’s wildlife.

It was great teaching kids to draw, but also educating them on some fascinating facts about these creatures. The kids went wild and sketched up a storm. Some stayed for hours others just breezed in an out. All in all I had a ball. So thanks to the Maroondah City Council for organising all the events at Ringwood lake, this was a huge success. I think at last count there were plenty of fantastic artists and well over 50 visited the stall where I held 15 minute sketch classes for over 3 hours. We drew; an Emu, a few Kangaroos, Kookaburras, a couple of Wombats, a Koala, a Cat (there are wild cats pre-colonisation), Eagles and a Frilled-necked Lizard.

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“It was such a pleasure having your learn-to-draw workshops at our Australia Day Event. To find a local artist of such talent that is focused on both inspiring the creativity of children whilst adding an educational piece is a huge add to our event. The ease and casual approach in the lead up made working together really easy. So thank you Myke.”

– Renée – Maroondah City Council, Events Officer.

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There was one issue that seemed to grab everyone’s attention – I didn’t have any books to sell. I told the people asking that I was here to draw not sell and I put a lot of energy into the kids when I am teaching. I’m glad people noticed and were supportive. It’s actually best they go to bookstores and buy my books there, as i get little long-term benefit from selling direct to the public. I have a publisher and am building a good reputation with the trade and so going to a bookstore and asking for me is the best support and service the public can pay me.

In hindsight, I did hand out over 100 bookmarks and gave away over a dozen prizes to the best artists, or to the kidbuts for “merit”, or for just having “a big heart and lovely smile”. Honestly it was a great day can’t wait for more local community workshops.

Plus the Maroondah City Council used two of my An A-Z of Australian Bush Creatures (Hard Cover) for “Best Dress” prizes for some of the kids whom attended the event. I believe, young Chloe (pictured above) won a book which I personally signed.

So I hope to see you all out and about between now and Easter. I have quite a few schools and council gigs booked so I am around.

Until then … Get sketching and start having a “Red Hot Go Kids!” That’s the Wildfire Workshop way and I hope to see you for my Summer Sunset Sketching (Croydon Library, February 21) and Summer Sunset Sketching in the Park (St.Kilda Botanical Gardens, February 22).

Enjoy!

Myke Mollard.

Had a “Wild” Time at Maroondah Festival, Croydon Library.

myke_croydon LibraryCroydon Library Goes Wild Drawing Up A Storm!

Drawing wildlife is a passion of mine.
I love imparting knowledge tricks and lots of stories that engage and keep kids interested in what they are doing. I noticed at the Croydon Library, on the Maroondah Festival we had 28 -30 kids and there parents arrive to have a red hot go at my Wildfire Workshop! That ballooned to over hundred across the hour … and parents! Yes “Parents!” got right into my simple tips and easy to follow instructions as we move through drawing after drawing.

There were some smashing results. I think everyone surprised themselves. We started with a Kookaburra, then a Blue-tongue Lizard, before diving into a Platypus going vertical for some crayfish and finally (picture above) a “speed drawing” of a Bilby!! The kids smashed every one, high fives for all and the parents got right into their favourites.

What I really enjoyed seeing was the connection of Kids drawing with Mum or dad. It was so good to see the generation gap shortened as kids find out dad and mum are a little nervous too. Although, I had a fellow graphic designer in my crowd, as one proud child was quick to point out and expose a very talented illustrator-dad.

Another wonderful surprise was a young illustrator who did some fantastic drawings. Lucas, smashed out some excellent drawings and in particular a pretty great Blue-tongue Lizard and stayed until the end to give me an amazing thank you drawing. WOW – Thank you for that! I really appreciate your effort and passion. Keep practicing and working at it you will surprise youself one day I’m convinced of that now.

All-in-All a great day! Thank you every much Croydon Library, Janet, Rowanne and Sue you always put on great things for the kids and run a fantastic community program. I’m so chuffed to have come and created some wildfire fun on the Maroondah Festival. I had a great time and it was a lovely turnout.

Thank you again.

Until next time – Enjoy! Myke Mollard.

Go Wild with My How-to-Draw Workshop. Croydon Library, Maroondah Festival

Maroondah FestivalMyke’s Drawing at Maroondah Festival this Sunday 10th Nov 2013.

It’s nearly time! Festival Time … and with everything going on I haven’t had a huge amount of time to tell everyone about my local gig at The Maroondah Festival.

Yes! It’s soo cool and It’s FREE!

Eastern Regional Libraries, Croydon have booked me to do this year’s Maroondah Festival. I’ll be running an hours workshop from 2PM – 3PM and talking about wildlife and lots of interesting stuff. But most importantly I’ll run the kids through some valuable skills building.

It will be loads of fun and I know you’ll love drawing some cool, crazy and really realistic Australian Bush Creatures, so I hope to see my local crowd of kids down at the Croydon Library this weekend where the drawing fun will begin at 2PM! Hope to see you then!

Download Event Poster.

Debunking the Tracing Taboo

In my day, as I was growing up, my art teachers collectively despised tracing or the use of tracing paper. It was a form of copying or not seen as art.  It was to be used on school projects to accurately trace maps for assignments on the Roman army or the battle of Hastings. Boring factual stuff that had no real importance except to illustrate the mundane.

This thinking never sat with me very well. I always thought that Walt Disney animators would have constantly traced their cells and drawings to achieve emotional, fluid and seamless movements. So if animators trace why can’t we? I utilised the magic of tracing paper for many drawings and artistic projects. The way I saw it, was tracing paper was used in film development, cell animation and industrial design. If these commercial art forms employed it to produce their art why couldn’t I. But hey! I was probably 6-8 at the time, I had these rebellious thoughts, and if I dared air them to my teacher I’d be told off. So tracing paper remained my secret weapon in developing my drawings to a higher standard before I could draft the shapes with more adult precision.

One of my favourite things as a kid was watch the early morning cartoons. My parents had just discovered video recording and I was lucky enough to have one of the first ‘National’ brand of video recorders. So what I actually started doing was recording my favourite cartoons and anime and pausing the frames I liked. Then with tracing paper I’d stick the paper to the television glass screen and trace my favourite characters. It taught me heaps about foreshortening, dramatic perspectives, caricatures and how to create comic eyes.

What I learnt from this is that we don’t innately understand perspective. Our hand-to-eye coordination doesn’t immediately know or understand how to etcher-sketch this reality to paper. All people have to practice the art of drawing to have any capacity.  We have to teach ourselves how to translate the spacious 3 dimensional world we see into the 2 dimensional world we draw on paper.

So lets take a drawing or a printed photograph. In one instance the artist and in the other the camera has already “flattened” the perspective and 3 dimensional space into a 2 dimensional image in which you can trace. The simple act of tracing is a great exercise (e.g. like cutting with scissors, colouring in and pasting collage) to hone the motor skills required in drawing. Funny enough it has no difference to normal drawing, still life or life drawing, albeit your subject matter rests under your sheet of paper not out in front of your easel. So by negating the changing in perspective or position of our head, that confuses the brain, when we look at an object and then look down to see our hand draw that object we suddenly just have to neatly trace the object underlying the page or tracing paper. This will give our hand confidence and help it understand the observational complexities need later when drawing from life.

Tracing in my opinion is an important first step in developing great hand-to-eye coordination. Tracing should be an essential exercise in mastering your drawing ability. All children should be encouraged to trace. In some ways, you have to learn how to crawl before you walk and definitely before you learn how to run.

Tracing should never be seen as a taboo. It should be an essential building block or tool in the pursuit of learning how-to-draw.

Snake tracing_step1

Step 1: Choose the best drawing you wish to trace. Something easy or something difficult – take your pick.

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Step 2: Place tracing paper over the top. To stop the paper from moving use some tape. But be mindful if using library books as some tapes can deface and rip the pages or paper.

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Step 3: Look for the best details. the ones that translate a photo to a strong line drawing.

Snake tracing_step4Step 4: Finish your tracing off hopefully without moving the tracing paper too much.

After you are finished a tracing you can use a soft graphite pencil scribble all over the underside of the tracing paper and then place the paper on some nice art paper. Then redraw your traced image. The pressure of the drawing will transfer your image neatly down on the new page. Then you have a great starting point to develop a new drawing.

But that’s another lesson.

Enjoy!

Myke.