Laura Carlin's artistic exercises for young minds

The Phaidon author demonstrates how creativity comes from an active mind not an overly tutored hand
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At Phaidon, we understand that a good art education should start early. Yet some books for younger readers aren’t always especially kid friendly. This is why we’ve buddied up with the London illustrator and educator Laura Carlin. Her fantastic new book, A World of Your Own, treats drawing not so much as a skill be to mastered, but as a fantastic toy, to engage a child’s imagination.

  

One of Laura Carlin's pupils at The Big Draw event
One of Laura Carlin's pupils at The Big Draw event

The title, which has more in common with a Tomi Ungerer book than a conventional art primer, encourages kids to reimagine their home as a tree house, a baby brother as an egg, and a paper banana as a viable form of public transportation. It’s great just to read to kids, but works better when they’ve got some art supplies in front of them.

 

Laura Carlin and a young illustrator at the Affordable Art Fair's Big Draw event
Laura Carlin and a young illustrator at the Affordable Art Fair's Big Draw event

With this in mind, we invited Laura along to the Affordable Art Fair a few days ago to take part in 2014’s Big Draw. This annual charity festival offers thousands of enjoyable, and mainly free, drawing activities which connect people of all ages with museums, outdoor spaces, artists, designers, illustrators.

 

Some clothes-peg people created by Laura Carlin's pupils at The Big Draw event
Some clothes-peg people created by Laura Carlin's pupils at The Big Draw event

Laura worked with the children in the fair’s kids’ space, to run through a few of the exercises in her new book. She helped them create clothes-peg people, houses from matchboxes and their own ‘Office Supply Shop’ – a cardboard shop frontage that looks boring on the outside, to keep out all the pesky adults, but is super fun on the inside. One young illustrator created cupcake shop disguised as a funeral directors, while another made a toy store in the guise of a furniture outlet.

 

A spread from A World of Your Own by Laura Carlin
A spread from A World of Your Own by Laura Carlin

Would you like to try some of these exercises? Then buy the book from the people who made it, here. Also, if you entered our Laura Carlin competition, check back with us soon. We'll announce a winner in the next few days.

 

Cupcake shop disguised as a funeral directors
Cupcake shop disguised as a funeral directors


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ABOUT PHAIDON

Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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