Patricia Storms

Contact Patricia Patricia is available for bookings in your area.

Patricia Storms

Author, Illustrator
Toronto, ON

Never Let You Go (Scholastic Canada, 2013)

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


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.

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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)