Workshop with artist Lydia Hall

In today’s lessons, we were very lucky to be joined by local artist Lydia Hall. Lydia will be working with you over the next few weeks on your graphic novel short stories, and eventually turning your stories, sketches and characters into a published graphic novel detailing the Olympians in the Underworld, as imagined by you!

Lydia started by showing you some of her beautiful and imaginative artwork, and talking about the sorts of artwork she likes to produce. She then started to look at how characters are drawn. We looked at some characters from Pixar films like “Up” and she showed us how the characters had been drawn to express aspects of the characters’ personalities, such as joy and anger. We talked about how pointy, angular shapes on faces often make us think of them as unhappy, cruel or fierce, whereas rounded shapes tend to make us think of happier, softer, kinder personalities. 

We looked at some examples of how to draw environments. You will all be setting your stories mostly in the Underworld, but there are many parts of the Underworld, and you can imagine them in as much detail as you like! Lydia showed a shop crammed with unusual objects, and a cliff with a statue carved into it, and buildings nestled into it. 

We looked at plot lines. Lydia showed us this simple and captivating comics website, where stories are told without words, but the drawings are very simple and tell very appealing, heartwarming stories. We also saw some very short comic panels which managed to convey a story and a lot of information just in two or three panels. We looked at an example of a story made by one of last year’s Year Eight Latinists imagining Chronos as running a clock shop on St Clements!

Lydia gave you some tips: to connect your characters to themes and ideas you feel passionate about (she gave the example of last year’s class, and how one group connected Gaia with a story of climate change). She also emphasised that you don’t need to be good at art – you can just write down in lots of detail what you want your panels to look like.

She gave you a simple imaginative exercise to draw shapes and then create faces or objects or animals from these shapes. You can up with all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas and designs, as you can see from the picture below!

We then asked you to spend ten minutes working with your groups (or on your own) on choosing some main characters and a premise for your story, and drawing the first panel or couple of panels. You came up with some really creative, comedic ideas which were really inventive and exciting, from Charon fishing in the river Styx to Hephaestus trying to build a structure to get all the Olympians back out of Hades again!

We can’t wait to see how your ideas develop. Please make sure you learn the vocabulary in chapters one and two for a test next Friday. 

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