Henry Cole had an engaging presentation at the Killdeer Public School last Thursday.
By ALANNA TOMJACK
For the DC Herald
Posted Feb. 28, 2014
Cole is an author and illustrator of several children’s books. When asked why he did children’s books Cole replied “I am more acquainted with children stuff.” He was an elementary teacher for 16 years. He has illustrated 110 children’s books and written about twelve. The teachers and children laughed and laughed as Cole brought life through art.
Cole told the kids that it all began when he was a kid. He started out by drawing his childhood house over and over and over again. Then he drew the inside of the house over and over again. He also showed them several of those first illustrations on the classroom smart board.
Elementary teachers were also an inspiration to him. Cole loved it when his third grade teacher gave him specific drawing assignments. A fifth grade assignment led him to find a really big book of art by John James Audubon. “The Birds of America” amazed Cole with its life-size art and later would be the inspiration for his book “A Nest For Celeste.” He showed and described the Audubon’s art with great emotion. He acted like a fish swimming in the water and then was snatched up by a bird. His excitement caused a ripple effect of laughter around the room. He said that he got lucky again and again with teachers that used art in their lessons.
Cole expressed the importance of coming up with ideas in your own imagination. He told them that they can’t copy someone else’s work. Then he jumped to the biggest tip of the day “paper.” A clipboard, paper and pencil are great because there is nothing to plug in and no need for batteries.
With a black marker and a large pad of paper he told a story about his brother Jimmy and his tiny mouse Sammy. A few strokes of the hand drew a boat with a little motor. As he drew he told about the L.O.S. boat that his creative brother built. Then the marker flew across the board again as he drew the plane that Jimmy built for Sammy. The ending of the story was left open to the children to come up with an idea of their own. Brooklynn Reiss, sixth grade, mentioned a story idea about a horse and a mouse.
Cole also demonstrated how music can influence drawing. He drew a clarinet playing crocodile and a trumpet playing chicken with quick short strokes while listening to jazz. Then he played a slow smooth instrumental and sketched Celeste the mouse with shades and shadows.
He ended with encouraging the kids to practice. Cole practices everyday even as simple as doodling on napkins or the edges of newspapers. Practice doesn’t make perfect in art, because “it never ends, there are can be so many changes you will make yourself crazy” said Cole. As line of children left the room the words “that was awesome” was repeated over and over again.