Ron Broda Draws Children into the Art of Illustration

Junior School students received a hands-on lesson in drawing and illustrating from one of the top five illustrators in Canada this week. Ron Broda, an award-winning children’s book illustrator and paper sculptor, came to SMUS as part of Canadian Children’s Book Week.

Photos available in the photo gallery

The illustrator of In My Backyard, among other titles, Mr. Broda pioneered his own method of creating pictures. Instead of drawing, he sculpts paper into three dimensional representations of the illustrations he wants, and then has them photographed for publication. Mr. Broda showed the students many of his original works as well as how they appeared in print.

“Even if you think you can’t draw, you can draw,” says Mr. Broda. To demonstrate this, he picked a few alleged non-artists to come up and draw some simple shapes. Then, he showed how by multiplying and arranging those shapes, he could turn the students work into a teddy bear drawing. “It’s really about learning to make things in proportion,” he explains.

As well as talking about art, Mr. Broda talked a lot about attitude. As a child, he said, he had learning difficulties, which taught him a lot about perseverance and focusing on his talents. “What you need to do in life is learn to love your mistakes.” Mr. Broda told the children not to use erasers, because they take away your mistakes without teaching you anything about them.

He also emphasized the importance of patience, in art and many things in life. “The slower you go, the better you are,” he says. Impressed with the children’s quick answers and different ideas, Mr. Broda called them “inspiring,” and stayed after both of his presentations to answer extra questions from interested students.

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