School Visit with Kevin Burgemeestre at Toorak South Yarra Library
Year 9 Melbourne High School Boys
I got a bit of a surprise on Thursday when I walked into Toorak South Yarra Library only to discover that Kevin’s workshop was for Year 9 students, Year 9 boys to top it off. I’ve only ever done school visits with junior primary so this was a real eye-opener (and absolutely nothing to worry about – these young men were awesome).
Kevin runs a fabulously entertaining workshop giving the students a wonderful insight into his writing and illustrating life. He’s very generous with his expertise and knowledge, and his delivery was funny but still educational. Kevin knows how to connect with young people. I could see the students were thoroughly engaged and its always such a pleasure to watch those who want to learn.
So, Kevin spoke to us about the process he went through to produce two of his books ‘Antarctic Dad’ written by Hazel Edwards and ‘B for Bravo’, which Kevin wrote himself.
‘B for Bravo’ is a picture book that covers Australian aviation history, illustrated with fabulous handmade 2D and 3D dioramas of historic aircraft. In the illustrations you can find words of the call-sign alphabet hidden in the pictures.
Initial storyboards, sketches and mock-ups to centre-point perspective and 3D and 2D dioramas, Kevin goes about his business with skill and enthusiasm.
How’s the pencil through his head?!
Kevin spoke about drawing quickly with fluidity to let your ideas flow and the importance of using shading to create shape. He used a sharp 2B pencil and a blunt one and gave us a demonstration about what he was talking about. Then it was the students turn to draw something. Kevin wanted them to draw something impossible. “Throw away the rubber, there are no mistakes,” he cried.
From much scribbling and banter, I saw manga style dragons emerge, graffitied walls, characters flying and free-falling, unidentifiable animals and humans with gross mutant deformities – it was loads of fun.
The Year 9 boys of Melbourne High were well mannered and fun to work with as were their teachers, Marie and Beth. Esther and the staff at Toorak/South Yarra Library rock, nothing is too much trouble for these guys and I’m really looking forward to my next visit.
Kevin’s terrific to talk to, he’s very encouraging and a real performer in the workshop environment. I look forward to seeing him again.
‘Antarctic Dad’ was written by Hazel Edwards and illustrated by Kevin Burgemeestre
It was published by Hachette www.hachette.com.au
Kevin has also illustrated the ‘The Uncle Eddie’ books with Lucy Farmer published by Walker Books and the artwork in this is beautiful.
Kevin’s website is under construction at the moment but if you google his name he’s everywhere!