“The boys were enthralled with the creative process shown in Mr Darkin’s time lapse video showing an author’s work from thought to print.
The boys were inspired by his own children’s involvement in the story lines. They couldn’t wait to read the next adventure and were keen to tell him their own ideas for stories.” – Kate Peterson, Dulwich Prep London
Talks and workshops
As a writer and animator, I have a full programme of talks and workshops in schools, and other venues, and in the past, children have gone away enthused and inspired to take on their own writing, drawing and video projects.
I even held a workshop at the CILIP School libraries Group AGM last year.
I also offer longer term projects such as:
- Creative writing clubs
- Courses leading to children writing and publishing their own books
- Scratch Animation workshops fulfilling the curriculum requirements for coding
I’d be delighted to come and talk to your school about writing, illustration and animation.
If you’re not ready to start planning an event but want to keep me in mind, the best way is to like my facebook page
For KS1 and 2 pupils
At 5000 words, the illustrated “Act Normal” chapter books are just the right length for younger or more reluctant readers, but the stories also have the depth of ideas to challenge more confident readers.
Books in the series cover DNA, global warming, magnetism and why adults spend too much time playing on their mobile phones… And the books’ strong female and male lead characters, Jenny and Adam tell enthralling and giggle-inducing stories that are fun, educational and inspiring for girls and boys alike.
I can read from, and talk about the series, and children always enjoy getting involved with the characters and stories, and hearing about how the books come about.
I can also show some of my animation work for “Magic Hands” on Cbeebies and talk about how an animated TV show comes about.
For older pupils
A lot of my writing is about science and technology and the way they change our lives, and in addition to my fiction work, I’ve written for many years for newspapers and magazines about computer related subjects. This means I’m well placed to talk to pupils about the advantages and problems of writing and reading in the Internet age.
My experience in a wide range of writing (fiction, factual, prose and scriptwriting) means I can talk about how writing works for ‘a range of different contexts, purposes and audiences’.
In addition, my animation work in creating everything from special effects in films and TV to cartoon-style animations is usually of great interest to pupils, and they’re keen to understand how animations and special effects are created as well as how they fit into storytelling.
As a freelance animator, I get asked to work on a lot of unusual projects. From creating alien spaceships for a feature film to animating a series of poems for Cbebbies, to making logos for videogames. I’ve even had to resurrect Morecambe and Wise for a live performance on Children In Need, and bring back prehistoric animals for museum displays.
Pupils always enjoy hearing about the technical and creative challenges involved in these projects. I have even done one project where a group of teenagers were the directors on an animation inspired by their work (take a look at a blog post)
The practical stuff:
- I’d really love you to drop me a line if you’re at all interested in having me come and talk with your pupils. We can work together to come up with a plan for the day.
- I’m based in South East London, but I’m happy to travel (you might want to spread costs by talking to other local schools if you’re a long way away).
- If you’ve got a projector I can use, I can come along with video examples of my animation work.
- I’m happy to talk to small or large groups, just get in touch and we’ll have a chat about what would work best for you.
- Costs will depend on what you need me to do, but will be broadly in line with the Society of Authors guidelines – right now, that means roughly £250 per day plus expenses.