Pictiúr, the exhibition of Irish/Irish-based children’s illustrators curated by Niamh Sharkey when she was Laureate na nOg, is still traveling around the country after two years. It’s been to IMMA, Galway, Waterford, Leuven, Brussels, Bologna, Belfast, and right now it’s in Mayo. Michael and myself went over to Castlebar to do a few gigs at the Linenhall for the Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival.
We both guided groups of children around the images, keeping things fairly simple for the 4-8 year olds and taking it up a notch for the 8-12 groups. As you can see from the photos the images have been placed low on the walls to keep them at children’s eye line height. If you’d like a taster of what we talked about, start the tour by clicking on the first image and scrolling through. You’ll get a larger image and accompanying text.
We explained how PJ Lynch worked on The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. After a lot of research he put friends in costume, lit the scene and took photos, then created these watercolours based on the images he had posed. We explained that these were watercolours and compared them to the other watercolour images in the exhibition, including Michael’s, Olivia’s, Anita Jeram -all very different approaches to the same medium..
All the kids knew Adrienne Geoghegan’s mama croc was carrying her babies, not eating them. These images are done in acrylics, as are mine.
Here Michael is explaining how Steve Simpson works – sketching by hand then switching to the computer to create the final piece. He also pointed out how different this ‘Dragún’ is from Olivia Golden’s.
Olivia Golden’s dragons are very different to Steve’s and she is using watercolour and ink in a very ‘wet’ way, which is injecting a lot of energy into this image. She also uses mixed media and the kids had fun spotting the collage work here and in Alan Clarke’s work.
We asked the kids to tell us what they could see in this image by Olwyn Whelan. They were so quick at seeing ALL the tiny details -dolphins, sea horses, mermaids, fish, birds, buildings…
And they could easily tell us that Chris Judge’s Lonely Beast had obviously become famous in this image. No need for words, they read the pictiúr.
Mary Murphy’s images begin as ink drawings. She may do several, even loads of ink drawings before she is happy that she has exactly what she wants. Then she scans them into the computer where she adds the colour. Mary also has her own typeface, which you can see here.
Checking for braces at Oisín McGann’s picture. A boy who had read the book was able to tell us all exactly what was going on here – all about the two nasty bully girls and the doppleganger.
Here Michael is asking the kids to check out how Niamh Sharkey has drawn her cow, hen and rabbit – animals which appear in several of the images in the show.
And how different Tatyana Feeny’s rabbits are from Niamh, Andrew Whitson’s, and Anita’s hare. They also ‘read’ the emotional language of the rabbit’s ears as it stares into the washing machine – the ears changing position as the machine spins on and on with little rabbit’s beloved blankie inside.
Anita Jeram’s hares in Guess How Much I Love you.
And here Michael does quick versions of Anita’s hare, Tatyana, Niamh and Andrew’s rabbits, for comparison. He pointed out how very different they all are and yet we easily recognise exactly what they are.
Reading Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t). Tatyana and Donough O’Malley’s images in the background.