Laura Carlin's artistic exercises for young minds
The Phaidon author demonstrates how creativity comes from an active mind not an overly tutored hand
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.