Inbal Leitner is a professional Illustrator with over 20 years’ experience working within the Illustration and Animation industry. After working on many editorial illustration, and animation projects, Inbal specialised in Children’s Book Illustration and completed a Masters at Cambridge School of Art in 2018. In this resource Inbal demonstrates how poems can be translated into imagery using just shape and line.
Let’s explore a poem!
It can be the poem you’ve just heard about in the video, or ANY other poem!
If you’d like to work with “Growing up” by Harry Behn, here it is:
Growing Up by Harry Behn
When I was seven
We went for a picnic
up to a magic
I knew there were tigers
behind every boulder,
though I didn’t meet one face to face.
When I was older
we went for a picnic
up to the very same
place as before,
and all of the trees
and the rocks were so little
They couldn’t hide tigers
Or me anymore.
Start by drawing different lines using pencils, pens, paints or any other materials. Create thin and thick lines, straight and quirky lines, and strong and faint lines.
Explore Shapes Too!
Using paint or pre-painted pieces of paper, see what happens when you create:
Big and small shapes.
Neat and rough shapes.
Simple and complex shapes.
Experiment with sticking shapes on top of each other!
Develop your shapes by combining lines and shapes together – do you get any interesting combinations?
Creating a Background and Characters
You may want to paint whole pages or parts of the pages in your sketchbook, this can be used as a background or as a foundation layer to draw on. It can help you create the atmosphere, the feeling of the poem.
What colour would you use for a fun atmosphere? How about mysterious? Or a scary feeling?
You might want to think of objects that appear in the poem.
Try and create the same object using lines only, shapes only and a combination of lines and shapes.
Use different materials to draw the same object, did you get any interesting combinations? Can you combine objects drawn using line with objects drawn using shapes?
You can also create the objects outside the sketchbook, by cutting or ripping pieces of paper or card. This way you can play with the organisation of the different shapes on the page.
Your sketchbook is like a little poem dictionary, where you draw and give life to objects.