Mark started his talk by asking the Year 3 & 4’s from St. Joseph’s Primary School in Malvern, what do they like to do?
Sport pretty much came up first. And what do you do to become good at sport?
To do something well, we all need to practice, says Mark.
Drawing is the same, Marks tells us. He also tells us that he wasn’t a natural artist, but because he practiced a great deal and drew things over and over, he became a good drawer.
“There are no rules in drawing, you can draw anyway you like. You’ve all got it in you. You can do it,” Mark tells us.
Mark is incredibly encouraging and the children are poised and listening (as a result they’re very quiet!).
Mark has an impressive array of published books on display.
“What do you see in these pictures?” he asks.
– History (I told you the kids were switched on)
– Adventure (Yay!)
– Animals (Aww)
Mark’s mission in life is to save endangered animals: quolls, turtles, penguins, whales, dolphins, snow leopards…he obviously loves animals and has such gentle way explaining their habitats and how they are at risk of being destroyed.
“But I’m only one person. What can I do?” he asks the children.
Tell more people, and this is called a…
Chain reaction (these kids are great).
Mark tells them that if there’s 36 of them, and they all go and tell a person each, that’s 72 people, and when 72 people spread the message, then 144 people know about it and so on and on.
Very cool…the kids loved it.
Mark tells us a bit about his book ‘The Last Tree’. This was his childhood home in East Gippsland, where he grew up. The forest is being cut down at a rate of the size of the MCG a day (this got the message through) and there’s no-where for quolls to live anymore.
“Why else do we need trees?”
‘My Mother’s Eyes’ is another book written and illustrated by Mark. It was about his great Grandfather going to World War 1. He was 15 years of age and lied to get into the army. When he got to France, his commanding officer had him pose for a photograph in front of a machine gun to send home to his mother because the young ones always died first. It was incredibly moving.
Check out this website for ‘My Mother’s Eyes’ www.mymotherseyes.com.au/teachers.html they have wonderful Teaching Resources.
Mark then got the children drawing and he did it in the simplest of ways. He drew shapes and the children followed his lead. He drew half a watermelon, then a circle, then two socks and before you knew it a turtle had emerged! The children were wrapt!
Mark runs a truly inspiring and beautiful workshop. He’s interesting and funny and the children loved it. What a treat for them!
About Mark Wilson:
Mark is a highly acclaimed author/illustrator Mark Wilson’s with many picture books to his name including ‘The Penguin Shore’ (a CBCA Notable Book in 1996), ‘The Castaways of the Charles Eaton’, ‘Yellow-eye’ (winner of the Wilderness Society Award in 2002), the Extinction Series: ‘I Saw Nothing: the Extinction of the Thylacine’ (a CBCA Notable Book in 2004); ‘I Said Nothing: the Extinction of the Paradise Parrot’; and ‘I Did Nothing: the Extinction of the Gastric Brooding Frog’ and ‘The Last Tree’ (2006). The Extinction Series also won a Wilderness Society Award and a Whitley Award in 2004, and ‘The Last Tree’ won a Whitley Award in 2007. Mark lives in Frankston, Victoria.