Bestselling author/illustrator Kazu Kibuishi visited our school in early March, following the release of Amulet 7: Firelight. Students were buzzing – they LOVE Amulet. Teachers were curious – how would a GN author tie in to school goals?
With three TED talk-like presentations for grades 3-5 and a Graphic Novel Writing/Illustrating workshop, the day was full of love for writing, drawing, creating, and sharing. And that was before the 3 boxes of books for signing!
His visit was truly breathtaking. Kazu inspired us, telling his life story. He is a writer. A film critic. A sports fan. A storyteller. And, interestingly, a self-taught artist.
He shared art he did as a 9 year old. He always imagined his pencil drawing of a car (above) looking cooler…but he didn’t have the skills needed at age 9 to make his vision a reality. By showing the remake of his childhood drawing – now with 29 years art experience – he modeled what happens with perseverance and determination to learn and improve one’s craft. And he encouraged all young artists, telling them that they’re “just like him” as an artist if their drawings look a bit like his pencil-drawn car.
He talked about opportunities for growth – when he accidentally destroyed the drawing above that took a week to create, he had to redo it in less than two days. The result was better because of the accident.
He answered student questions while doodling backgrounds in Photoshop, demonstrating patience and flexibility while showing how his art is never “done” after the first attempt. Bar none, this was the highlight for most students.
He engaged future graphic novelists and artists in an small-group workshop, sharing his warm-up activities and art construction techniques while encouraging students to try, try, try.
The week after his visit, students in 4th grade responded/reflected/reacted to Kazu’s visit via comic strip. By and large, their work showcased their attention to and admiration for Kazu.
What. An. Experience! Kazu, we thank you for your dedication, inspiration, and generous kindness.