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Illustrator encourages Madison elementary students ‘to make it their own’

Professional illustrator Michael White shows his drawing of the Madison Elementary School mascot, a hornet, to media specialist Shanna Edgar. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)
Professional illustrator Michael White shows his drawing of the Madison Elementary School mascot, a hornet, to media specialist Shanna Edgar. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)
Fourth-grader David Lockhart proudly shows his own drawing during illustrator Michael White's presentation at Madison Elementary School. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)
Fourth-grader David Lockhart proudly shows his own drawing during illustrator Michael White’s presentation at Madison Elementary School. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)

MADISON – Professional illustrator Michael White motivated students to shape their ideas into drawings at Madison Elementary School on Nov. 5.

White has illustrated popular children’s books, including “The Library Dragon,” “Return of the Library Dragon,” “Harriet’s Horrible Hair Day” and “The Secret of Old Zeb.” Based in Atlanta, White told the children he has probably visited every town in Alabama.

As students sat cross-legged on the library floor, White sketched and airbrushed characters on an easel and shared tricks of the trade. “If you draw small, that’s fine; if you draw big, that’s fine, too,” White said.

“Michael White presented all day to our students. They received hands-on experience by employing simple shape illustration to create characters,” media specialist Shanna Edgar said.

Combining storytelling with his art, White developed stories about characters in real time with input from students as he airbrushed. Students were pleased with his rendering of a hornet, the school mascot.

White encouraged students to make their drawings their own and not to worry about whether or not someone likes them.

Two students from each grade qualified to join White for a pizza lunch. These students submitted outstanding answers to “Why do I want to have lunch with an illustrator?” Responses included “It would boost my confidence” and “I would love for Mr. White to critique my work.”

As students sketched, White encouraged them “to never, ever give up. Rejection will occur but keep trying. There’s no such thing as a mistake, so throw away the eraser.” Throughout the session, he stopped to praise student’s artwork.

White mesmerized teachers and students, Edgar said. One sixth-grade teacher commented she had never seen her class so enthralled during 17 years of teaching.

Using pencil, the Madison elementary students drew at least three sketchings to take with them. “Not only did our students gain valuable artistic skills, they left with assurance, self-confidence and an incredible motivating drive,” Edgar said.

Madison Elementary PTA funded White’s appearance.

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