Sophie Casson has illustrated more than 20 children’s books and novels for young readers. Though she works mainly in editorial illustration, she developed a new portfolio and a completely renewed style three years ago. The result was three books released by Éditions de la courte échelle in 2010. Au lit Mokai, for 4-5 year olds, was featured in the prestigious White Ravens annual listing of 250 noteworthy international children’s releases, compiled by International Youth Library in Germany. The book also took the children’s literature grand prize at LUX 2011, recognizing the best book illustration in Québec. Quelle Pagaille!, a first reader, was a finalist for the 2011 Governor General’s Award for illustration. Sophie Casson’s editorial work has also garnered recognition at a range of prestigious North American illustration competitions.
When you illustrate you create an image that reaches beyond the words on the page by creating a visual atmosphere, a world, all while harnessing the image’s evocative power. The text and image should dialogue, not repeat themselves. To achieve this, artists must work painstakingly on many aspects:
1) Layout: Decisions must be made as to which elements to include to create the desired impact or convey the essential part of the message. Unconventional use of framing and symbols are a means to produce the desired effect in my work.
2) Quality of the emotions conveyed: Finding the character’s perfect body expression, or replacing the main action with a detail of the action that might say more about the situation and add a poetic quality to the text...
If these elements work, the image will add a new level of meaning to the reading, whether in a children's book or a poster.
The illustrator will begin by explaining her profession. She might, for example, show the steps involved in creating an illustration, from the manuscript to final art, or from a magazine article. She explains the use of key-words and shows numerous sketches. For younger groups (Primary 1–3) emphasis will be put on children's books. For the older groups (Primary 5 and 6; Secondary) the project focus will be editorial illustration. While explaining the project to the class, the artist will review the essential elements seen previously so students clearly understand what they are gearing up to: the use of symbols in the imagery, conveying the essential part of the message, the framing, and finally the medium.
-Younger students will draw the cover of a book selected by the artist, using new tools and knowledge gained from the workshop.
-Older students will illustrate a subject related to current events picked from the daily paper, selecting a news story that they related to personally in some way. Emphasis will be put on the impact of the message.
Other examples of activities
The illustrator will send a list or required materials to the school, generally materials schools have on hand.
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In every regions