Pathway: Telling Stories Through Drawing & Making

Pathway for Years 3 & 4

Drawing, Sculpture, Sketchbooks

Key Concepts:

  • That we can take inspiration from other artforms such as film and literature and make work in 3 dimensions in response.

  • That through making work in another medium we can make the work our own, re-interpreting and re-inventing. 

  • That we can explore character, narrative and context and create objects (sculptures) which convey these qualities through their form, texture, material, construction and colour. 

In this pathway children are enabled to make sculptural equivalents of characters from film and literature. 

The pathway begins with an introduction to the work of two artists who use their sketchbooks to help them make the transition from words/film to image/object.

Pupils then use their own sketchbooks to explore their response to the original stimulus, and then go on to develop and make a sculptural character. 

The pathway is easily adapted to which ever books/films you are studying in class. 

Paper, Drawing Materials, Modelling & Construction Materials (Modroc, clay, plasticine etc). 

Artists: Rosie Hurley, Inbal Leitner, Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

Alfie from Esio trot by Louis, year three
The BFG by Portia
Mr Hoppy with Gardening with Tortoises by Rosie Hurley
ages 5-8
ages 9-11

Teaching Notes

Curriculum Links

English: Link to “character” books such as Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot, Dirty Beasts, The Minpins or James and the Giant Peach to inspire making.

Science: Materials, animals, micro habitats.

Maths: 2D/3D shapes, measuring, weight.

PSHE: Responsibility to the planet, collaboration, peer discussion.

I Can…

  • I have seen how artists are inspired by other artists often working in other artforms. 

  • I have understood how artists sometimes use sketchbooks to understand and explore their own response to an artists work. 

  • I can use my own sketchbook to explore my response to the chosen book/film, making visual notes, jotting down ideas and testing materials.

  • I can make a sculpture using materials to model or construct which is inspired by a character in a book or film. 

  • I can reflect and share how the way I made my sculpture helps capture my feelings about the original character. 

  • I can enjoy looking at the sculptures made by my classmates and see ways in which they are different and similar to each other and to the original character. 

  • I can share my feedback about my classmates work. 

  • I can take photographs of my work thinking about focus, background and lighting. 


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft B pencils, coloured pencils, oil/chalk pastels, handwriting pens, A3 or A2 cartridge paper.

Option 1: Modroc or Clay Characters – Newspaper, masking tape, modroc, air dry clay, acrylic or ready mixed paint, brushes, trays.

Option 2: Plasticine Characters – A3 cartridge paper, modelling plasticine, constructed materials, corrugated card circles.

Option 2: Flying MinPin Characters – Air dry clay, wire, A4 or A3 cartridge paper, tissue paper, feathers, PVA glue.

Option 3: James and the Giant Peach Literacy Garden – assorted construction materials.

Pathway: Telling Stories Through Drawing and Making

  • Aims of the Pathway

    This pathway introduces children to the idea that we can use literature and film to inspire our making, and that through making we can retell / re-invent stories. 

  • Week 1: Introduce

    Be Inspired by Artists and Illustrators

    Colour Test on Trees by Inbal Leitner

    Introduce the Illustrator Inbal leitner and hear how she used a sketchbook to develop characters and artwork inspired by a poem through the “My Tiger Sketchbook” resource. 

    Use the “Rosie Hurley: Esio Trot” resource to see how Rosie made a whole 3D set inspired by Roald Dahl’s book, and how she used sketchbooks to help develop and refine her ideas.

    Use sketchbooks for “Making Visual Notes” about techniques and ideas which seem important to the class. 

    Mr Hoppy and Mrs Silver on their Balconies by Rosie Hurley

  • Week 2: Exploring Drawing

    Using Quentin Blake's Drawings as Inspiration!

    Use the “Inspired by Quentin Blake’s Drawings” resource to try three simple exercises to help children draw from life, and explore how we might use exaggeration as a tool to help us convey the intention of our drawing.

    Image (c) Quentin Blake, 1987 from 'Mrs Armitage on Wheels' (published by Jonathan Cape)
    Image (c) Quentin Blake, 1987 from ‘Mrs Armitage on Wheels’ (published by Jonathan Cape)
  • Week 3, 4 & 5: Find Your Focus

    Begin Making

    Choose a piece of literature or poem and take inspiration from one or more of the making resources below.

    Remember to use sketchbooks throughout, reminding children of the way Inbal Leitner and Rosie Hurley used their sketchbooks. 

    Use the “Play and Explore: The Ingredients and Elements of the Poem” resource to help support children translate text into imagery.

  • Option 1

    Modroc or Clay Characters

    Use the “Make a Roald Dahl Character” resource to make a 3d sculptural character. This resource uses modroc but you could also use airdry clay. 

    The BFG by Portia

  • Or...

  • Option 2

    Plasticine Characters

    Use the “Plasticine Models and Decorated Plinths inspired by ‘Dirty Beasts’” resource to create sculptures from plasticine and found materials.


    Student with her ant eater sculpture inspired by the Roald Dahl poem The Ant Eater

  • Or...

  • Option 3

    Flying Minpin Characters

    Use the “Flying Minpin Birds” resource to make hanging sculptures. 

  • Or...

  • Option 4

    James & The Giant Peach Garden

    Use the “James and the Giant Peach Garden” resource to explore making work in a variety of media around one text. 

    Cordelia "Doo" Spalding

  • Week 6: Reflect & Discuss

    Share and Celebrate the Outcomes

    Clear the space and display all work including sketchbooks so that pupils and teachers can appreciate the work.


    Literacy Boost Project: “James &The Giant Peach Garden” by Cordelia Spalding

    Use the resource here to help you run a class “crit” to finish the project. 

    If you have class cameras give pupils the opportunity to take photographs of their sculptures – thinking about how they can best present and light their sculptures. 

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