Patricia Storms

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Patricia Storms

Author, Illustrator
Toronto, ON
Publications

Never Let You Go (Scholastic Canada, 2013)

Kid Confidential: An Insider's Guide to Grown-Ups (Bloomsbury Juvenile US, 2012)

Biography

Patricia Storms was 12 years old when her first cartoon was published in a Toronto newspaper. She got paid five dollars for that cartoon, and has been inspired to write and draw ever since.

As well as being an award-winning editorial cartoonist, Patricia is also an author and illustrator of children&;s books and humour books. She has also illustrated hundreds of greeting cards as well as magazine gag cartoons. Her work has been published by Reader&;s Digest, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The London Times, The London Evening Standard, The Hamilton Spectator and The National Post. She painted 3 moose for Toronto&;s &;Moose in the City&; art show in 2000, and her cartoons have been animated in an independent film about the stock market called &;Taking Stock&;.

Patricia has also worked as a cook, a library technician, a book binder, a desktop publisher and a graphic designer, but her favourite job is creating books for children. She has illustrated 20 books since 2004, and for 3 of those books she is an author as well as an illustrator.

Patricia lives and creates in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two fat cats in a cosy old house full to the brim with books. If she&;s not drawing, writing or having a laugh with her husband, she is probably reading or playing about in her garden.

Presentations
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Workshop

For children aged 5 and under I keep my drawing workshops simple, and relatively short – maximum 30 minutes. I do demonstrations of how to draw basic things, like a dog, a cat or a penguin, or the characters from Chirp magazine, using very simple shapes, like circles, squares and triangles. At this age, it&;s mainly about encouraging kids to experiment, explore and have fun.

For kids aged 5-7 I have a presentation for my new book, Never Let you Go, which showcases the similarities between penguin families and human families. There is humorous drawing involved, as well as a reading of the story, with over sized images of the book.

For kids aged 6-13, my workshops can be an hour long. One session which I find very successful is the ‘create a character’ workshop, where I engage the kids to help me create a unique character that they might find in a picture book or graphic novel. I first tell the kids a little bit about what it’s like to illustrate books, and I explain to them what an Art Director is. I then encourage them to be my Art Directors, instructing me on what kind of eyes, nose, hair, mouth, clothes, etc., to draw for their character. This session is a great ice-breaker, and I make sure to get the suggestions of all the kids, so that everyone feels like they have made a creative contribution. Once the character is created, I encourage the kids to tell me what they would name the character, since naming a character (like Harry Potter) is very important. In the 2nd half of the workshop, I become the Art Director and Editor for a drawing project. I write a short story on a flip chart, and discuss the meaning and significance of things like setting, characters and action in a story. I then ask the kids to illustrate some or all of the story I have written. As well as walking around providing encouragement and guidance, I also do more drawing up at the front for those who need some creative inspiration.

For teenagers and/or adults, I like to provide more detailed information about what it’s really like to illustrate for a publisher. In this hour long workshop I do a slide presentation, showcasing my art, as well as discussing the process involved in receiving a manuscript, and creating and developing a character for a picture book. Depending on how much time is allowed, I like to provide the class with part of a picture book story, and instruct them to create some of the characters in that story.

An alternate illustration workshop I can do for teens/adults focuses specifically in what’s involved in creating a successful cover for a book. I do a slide presentation of some of my work, showing them all of the changes and edits which take place before a cover is finally chosen for a book. If time permits, I provide samples of titles, or if they have their own ideas, I then ask them to create a title and illustrate the cover of a book, be it graphic novel, picture book, middle grade or YA cover.

Finally, I can also present a picture book writing workshop for teens/adults, which focus on what’s popular in the market, as well as basic elements which aid in creating a successful picture book story, such as starting the story strong, using conflict to generate interest in a story, and basic emotions such as fear, jealousy, anger and love which are often explored in picture book stories. I discuss pacing and rhythm in writing a picture book story, and show examples of storyboards that I have created when submitting to publishers. For the writing workshop part of this presentation, I show samples of magazine gag cartoons I have published, but without the gag, so that the students are challenged to write their own gag. I suggest to the group that writing a good magazine gag is similar to writing a good picture book story – using very few words, but using the right words. Finally, I encourage the class to write a catchy title as well as the first few lines of some picture book pitches which I share with the class.

Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: Primary (1-3), Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)