speaking

Events and Visits

One of the best things about drawing and writing for children is going on the road to meet children’s book readers; the young and the not-as-young.

I am always more than happy to arrange a visit to your local school, festival or any other book-oriented event. Sometimes, I can even persuade Zoë to come along to add her perspective. That’s a treat.

Since I work in formats ranging from board books to young adult books, my school visits can be tailored for kindergarteners through fifth or sixth graders. 

My main aim is to further the students’ understanding of the story-making process. Character, plot and setting. Beginning. middle and end. How is a book like a movie? Where might that initial idea come from and why does is take sometimes an instant and sometimes a year to get to the nub of a story? What does an editor do and why can’t the author/illustrator do that stuff on their own?

Of course, I’m also happy to talk about specific examples of the characters I’ve illustrated and how I came to picture them. These topics are usually best suited to larger audiences at festivals or professional groups who have an interest in either particular characters or the inner workings of publishing. In these cases, the scope and form of the presentation will vary with the group’s focus.

Basic Speaking Info

  • For school visits, the spaces can range in size from individual classrooms to libraries to auditoriums and gyms. 
  • Depending on the age group, the talks run between 35 to 45 minutes with extra time added for questions. 
  • No more than three classroom talks in a day. Two in larger venues.
  • For other venues, usually the event centers on one talk running at least 45 minutes with extra time added for questions and signing.

For both school visits and visits to other venues, I use a combination of materials. These are the basic needs:

  • Good-sized blackboard, chalk and an eraser or access to a whiteboard (I have markers for whiteboards). With quick sketching and erasing, I’ll show how characters and settings for stories are developed from the initial written descriptions in the text. For examples, I may use a known story or poll the audience for inspiration.
  • An easel and a large pad of paper. I’ll bring the drawing materials, but the venue gets the resulting pictures — after all it’s their paper.
  • Finally, some simple way to plug in an ipad that contains a brief powerpoint slideshow of my actual drawing process, finished work, studio and other interesting things that are not easily transportable to the venue.

Presentations should be planned at least six months in advance for local events, further ahead for events requiring an overnight stay.

Book signing can always be a part of whatever event is planned. Since I do not have a stock of my own books, the venue will need to contact a local independent bookseller or book distributor.

Advance book sales are highly recommended, since they raise interest in the program and help book signings go more smoothly.

Fees vary depending on the particular venue details. So, please be in touch via email so I can provide an accurate quote.

rwa-pb-signing

Upcoming Events:

Come join us for reading and drawing and general fun !

March 19-21, 2017
49th Children’s Literature Festival
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO

Event and Visit links:

Books in Common, my literary events consultancy, is very good at arranging the details for speaking engagements at all sorts of venues.   

From the Nantucket Book Festival, here are two videos:

a youtube link of me drawing Paddington

and,

as filmed by Nantucket Community Television, me and Zoë speaking about collaborating on making books (well, Zoë is, I seem to have broken my microphone).