English Excursion: The Main Focus

On the 11th of October, we (the year 7 A+) went to the Literature Centre which was at the Fremantle Prison. It has many picture books and novels that are available for a range of ages. This term (4) in English, our main focus is on picture books. Assignments that we are going to be working on this term are all about making picture books & the excursion has made us think more about what it is, rather than just what we already know about picture books. This excursion helped us understand more about it and the process which goes into making, creating and designing a picture book.

By Kiara Chau, Ngoc-Huong Duong, Julia Le and Hui Jing Tan

History of Fremantle Prison

The Literature Centre is located inside Fremantle prison. The instructor (Ms Beck) told us that most of the walls were made of limestone as it is a pretty sturdy rock. The prison is listed as a world heritage place and so no renovations have been made. She also told us that the builders put two types of wires to make sure no prisoner could escape the prison: razor and barbed. The now Literature Centre was originally the hospital for the prison. A common thing the prisons would do is fake being sick to get away from fellow prisoners. The excursion was intriguing and informative. We learned a lot about the prison itself and the picture books.

We really enjoyed the presentation about how the picture books were made. We found it really interesting especially about how illustrations are made such as the carving in the rubber mat and then using it as a stamp to make the illustration.   

By Luke Veneris, Thomas Roper and Brayden Tay

Picture books are for everyone!

At the Literature Centre we learnt that picture books are for everyone, and most are aimed at different target audiences. Some target audiences are based on age, hobbies, nationalities, genders etc. We learnt how to tell if a book is aimed at younger or older readers by looking at it. For example, title, font size, pictures, colours and how complicated or easy the words are to read are clues to look for. Books with big font, bring colours, easy to read words and cartoon like pictures are usually aimed at younger children. Books with smaller font, difficult words, dull colours and detailed pictures are usually aimed at older readers. The plot of stories for older readers are also more complicated whereas children's books are typically shorter with a plot that is easy to grasp. Some children's books don't even have complete sentences. Overall, we enjoyed the excursion.

By Maya Filez, Lisa Mlambo and Jennifer Howe

Picture Book Elements

At our trip to the Literacy Centre in Fremantle prison we learnt that the colours in picture books are important to the audience's reading it. Children’s picture books should be bright in colour to intrigue them. On the other hand, dull colours can mostly be for people in their teens or adults. Overall, children’s picture books should be vibrant and books for older people can be both vibrant or dull. We also learnt how to identify picture book by looking at their font, colours, size and illustration. The number of pages inside the picture book must be a multiple of eight. This is because before the book is published it goes through a storyboard, and it has to be folded in fours and then cut into separate pages. This cannot be done if the book is not a multiple of 8. If the writer has written a book that is not a multiple of eight, they would add a page that includes the title with a little illustration to represent the story. Overall, we enjoyed our excursion and we learnt a lot of things relating to picture books.

By Anjanette Lee, Munira Mohamed Ali, Asia Pillay and Maya Winn

The Use of Lines

During our excursion at the Literature Centre, we learned about the different techniques of illustration used in picture books. We studied several different picture books which gave us an introduction to the different techniques used in picture books. One book, in particular, Mrs Millie’s painting written and illustrated by Matt Ottley, was used as an example to show how curvy and sharp lines are used to influence the reader’s opinion about characters. Mrs Millie was presented with several round lines and had no jagged lines on her whereas the antagonist of the book, Mrs Compost, was made up solely of sharp and seemingly “dangerous” lines. From her hair to her body her entire character was riddled with sharp lines. The psychology behind this is that since we were young we were taught that sharp objects such as knives and scissors were dangerous and that curved objects such as pillows are safe. The protagonist in this story is comprised of only curved lines thus creating an easily likable character. On the other hand, Mrs Compost, the antagonist of the story, is illustrated with sharp jagged lines; from her hair to her butt cheeks. We thought that this was an excellent experience and learning opportunity for all of us.

By Keisha Patricio, Kenzo Harsono, Tabeeba Zaman and Zachary Tang

Illustration Techniques

After our short break, when we ventured back inside, we came to learn about the hidden meanings and techniques behind the illustrations in some of the books such as “Way Home” and “Boo to a Goose”. The techniques that we learned about the illustrations is that sharp edges/lines can represent fearful things or that curved lines can mean simplicity or happiness. We did a drawing based on the sentence “there was a knock at a door”. As we did our drawings we then discovered that as an illustrator, we can’t just think about the first thing that comes to mind, we have to be unique and think outside the box. When thinking about illustrating the ideas come from imagination, research, and past experiences. We now understand the different techniques and how to find them in any type of illustration and we feel like we know a lot more. We had lots of fun at the Literature Centre and would enjoy going again.

By Jasmine Grubber, Disarnia Naidoo, Olivia Goodchild and Luke Dagostino

The Lessons of Creativity

The presenter, Miss Beck, focused on being creative. Miss Beck encouraged us to channel our thoughts and ideas to think outside the box. Being creative meant that our ideas were original. Miss Beck allocated some time at the end of the presentation to illustrate a sentence. The sentence that we were supposed to illustrate was ‘There was a knock on the door’. Surprisingly, most of our illustrations were similar. Miss Beck told us that she presumed that most of our illustrations would be similar. She then told us to think from a different perspective. Miss Beck told us to think about where the door leads to and the size of the characters and the door. She asked us to draw another illustration based on the same piece of text. This time, everyone’s illustration was unique and original. Miss Beck told us to ask ourselves the question, ‘What if?’. She told us to always be imaginative and to be singular in our work. We certainly learned much about having our own mark in work and will surely apply this knowledge in our work in the future.

By Nouvelle Tamilalagan, Aarya Raut and Josie Wood

The publishing process of picture books

While we were there, Ms Beck taught us many things about picture books including the stages and processes that a picture book must go through before it can be published. Most picture books have an author and an illustrator but in some rare cases, the author does both the writing and the illustration. The author begins with a manuscript, which outlines the basis of the story. From there they can spend months to years writing a book, perfecting each line and making the book to their standards. When they have finished writing the book they submit it to a publishing company, the book is then read over and if it is accepted it is given to an illustrator. There are a few occasions where the author and illustrator collaborate but most commonly the author has no say in what the illustrator does, they often don’t even meet until the book is published. The illustrator spends time analysing the story and coming up with the concepts for each page using thumbnails. Once they are happy, they do the art and send it away to be published. We found it incredibly informative and interesting; it was a great way to open our eyes to how a picture book is formed.

By Laura Loveday, Mia Oughton, Joelle Jones and Rithika Ramesh

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