The Drawing Book project: Making words and pictures in Edinburgh Schools

Jim McBride, J. Gibbs, Vivian French, Cate James (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


The Drawing Book" project
Jim Mcbride, J.Gibbs, Vivian French, Cate James
June 2010
exhibition The Scottish Storytelling Centre
43-45 High Street Edinburgh
The Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Illustration Programme has undertaken three Drawing Book Projects: 2010, 2011, and 2012.

These collaborative projects were devised by the staff as a way of working with Edinburgh schools, creative writers, illustrators and students.
Within the programme we are concerned with developing the imagination and the visual expression of ideas. The Drawing Book sessions developed interpretive skills and the generation of original stories and narrative themes. We have explored the relevance of observational drawing, drawing from memory, pictograms and sequential image-making. There are numerous and profound connections between the art college environment and the school environment: studio versus classroom. Stage 2 Illustration students mostly left school two years ago, so there is a tangible connection of ideas and skills between these students and the pupils. Writing and literature are embedded in the illustration process. Drawing Book enabled the students and staff to explore children's awareness of books, visual art forms, and drawing. In a sense it has been an academic discourse about education, art and design. However, it has also provided a creative space for improvisation, humour and pictorial invention.

We worked with writer Vivian French and illustrator Cate James to develop the initial ideas towards resolved presentations of work as follows:
• Drawing Book I involved five schools: Abbeyhill, Nether Currie, St Johns, Abbeyhill and Murrayburn. The Stage 2 illustrators developed illustrated stories at the schools, the results of which became printed books that were exhibited at the Scottish Story Telling Centre.
A Drawing Book Symposium was held at the Story Telling Centre with invited writers and illustrators: Natalie Russell, Debi Gliori, Vivian French, Sue Heap, and Fraser Ross Associates.

• Drawing Book II was focused upon one school, Abbeyhill Primary, developing ideas about emotions and human feelings. During this project the students made illustrative containers for texts and drawings made by the school pupils.

• Drawing Book III was collaboration with Gylemuir Primary School in staging the Animal Olympics 2012. Pupils created animals, both drawn and modelled, and the students created settings for various events. All were assembled, photographed and exhibited at Edinburgh College of Art and Gylemuir Primary School.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Scottish Storytelling Centre
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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