Over at The Guardian they have a very cool series in the ‘Children’s Books’ section where various illustrators provide instructions on illustrating for young artists. My favourite is by Oliver Jeffers. Jeffers is an artist and illustrator. We have a few of Jeffers’s books about the house, including one of our favourites, The Great Paper Caper: “a thrilling tale of mystery, crime, alibis, paper planes and bear who wanted to win”. I also adore Lost and Found: “What is a boy to do when a PENGUIN turns up at his door? Find out where it came from, of course, and return it. Even if it means rowing to the South Pole”. I adore this book, which reminds me of the urban legend I’ve always adored, about a boy who sneaks a penguin home in his backpack after befriending it at the local zoo.
Jeffers’s illustrations are the kind you fall in love with; they seem simple, but are also wonderfully witty and emotionally true. Somehow, he captures through gesture and posture the depths of characters and their relationships with each other. In his ‘How To’ over at The Guardian he provides a twelve-step
program set of instructions for drawing a penguin that are so easy to follow, and so witty and charming in their own right, that you can enjoy them on your own (that is, without the supervision of a child), or use them to help someone you know paint their very own Perfect P. Here’s a taste:
Just to prove that the instructions are simple to follow and produce great results, even for little folk, I sent the link to my (grand)daughter, who had a go, and wallah! Penguin painting: