‘The BFG’ Image making workshops at Warmington School


A different musical choice to add to my Blog Title Soundtracks page, but perhaps not a surprise to anyone who knows me either. I’ve always admired Fred Astaire, he was a class act.

The song title selection however couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s been another day of drawing workshops at Warmington School leading a group of year 3&4 children this morning, followed by a group from years 1&2 this afternoon, and once again some very successful pieces of work have been produced.

Both groups definitely had their listening ears on. I began each session with a short talk as an introduction to portrait painting and they appeared to enjoy the images presented to them of work by Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Graham Sutherland and William Dobell before moving into the arena of caricature, discussing works by Honoré Daumier, Max Beerbohm, Gerald Scarfe, Marco Calcinaro, Sebastian Krüger and Patrick Strogulski. Feeling suitably inspired, we then settled down to some practical work.

The first exercise was to produce a portrait drawing, loosely based upon a measurement system devised by Da Vinci, to analyse the proportions of the human head. Using pencil on an A4 sheet of paper this was a very disciplined exercise which demanded a high level of concentration as drawings were constructed upon a carefully drawn grid.

However this was simply the appetiser for the main course as the next drawing was about to prove. As a complete contrast to the preliminary exercise, the emphasis now was to allow distortion of features to become a priority in order to produce an illustration of a character from a book by Roald Dahl.

First I read some passages from ‘The BFG’ which described the main cast members; Sophie – a young girl who is “kidsnatched” from her bedroom at the orphanage where she lives; The BFG himself – a kind, gentle giant who can be found every night blowing good dreams through the bedroom windows of sleeping children; and the nine scary giants in Giant Country who are about twice as tall and wide as the BFG, and a lot more horrible – The Bonecruncher, The Fleshlumpeater, The Bloodbottler, The Childchewer, The Meatdripper, The Gizzardgulper, The Maidmasher, The Manhugger and The Butcher Boy.

Chalk pastel was used for this exercise and my intention is now to select the most successful drawings and incorporate them into a mural which will be painted in the library at Titchmarsh School later in the week. As can be seen from the examples below, I have several very worthy contenders to choose from………..