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Arts Workshop with Zeno Sworder

Yesterday Middle School and College students spent the afternoon work-shopping with Zeno Sworder, Illustrator and Author of This Small Blue Dot. Zeno zoomed-in from his home in Melbourne to talk with our students on drawing to communicate ideas and feelings. For our Certificate IV College students this was an amazing opportunity to speak to a professional on a subject that feeds directly into their current unit of study, Drawing to Communicate Ideas.

“It was fun cause he taught us about different drawing styles. Zeno inspired me because at our age he wasn’t very good but he practised and developed his skills in this area.” Arly

Zeno discussed and showed the students emotional drawing techniques, providing examples and talking them through the process as they participated and took the opportunity to pick up a pencil and paper and draw. As the students sketched their ideas Zeno talked about his love of drawing, the techniques he enjoyed the most and what sparked joy in him through drawing. At one point, Zeno also let the students know he thought he was terrible at drawing and showed them some examples of his ‘terrible’ drawings.

“What I liked most was hearing how Zeno tried to do drawing, said he wasn’t good enough, stop and then a while later tried to do it again and then he got really, really good.” Rowan

We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All things are beautiful, it is just the lens that you apply when you are looking.

This workshop is the launchpad for the Middle School and College Yearbook, and Renata will be continuing with the students next term working with them to expand their drawing techniques.

“What I took away from this experience is that it is OK to make mistakes and making mistakes is how you learn to do better next time. It was also good to get advice from someone who has been successful in this area and seeing all the cool things he did. Also seeing the drawings before they were published and the steps he went through to get them published.” Jordan

After their workshop, the students settled in to listen to the very first reading by Zeno of his book, This Small Blue Dot. Written for his two small daughters, This Small Blue Dot explores the world through the eyes of an older sibling as she explains the smallest of wonders to some rather big lessons with a lens, only a child could bring.

At the conclusion, three middle school students stayed behind, eager to show and receive feedback from Zeno on their illustrations.

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