A nut(ty)-case.

As is, by now (you will doubtless have noticed, with – or without – a weary sigh…),  characteristic, my Illustration Friday offering is shunted into this ethereal service-hatch/dumb-waiter with all the grace and aplomb of a, well, deeply awkward and exceedingly flustered thing, at precisely the very last minute (so to speak. As long as the new topic remains a nascent, unannounced call-to-[pencil-shaped]- arms, I’m ‘in time’… Just.).

I found this week’s topic, kernel, pretty challenging, and one that a brain beleaguered by the interrogations of 90 or so 7- & 8-year old children (see below) was only able to associate with the old idiom re. a teeny morsel of truth buried amidst a largely fictional linguistic morass, etc. – and nuts. So, obviously, I went for the latter:

There is, as the really quite horrific (I’ve always thought…) expression goes, more than one way to skin a cat. Similarly, there are – demonstrably – at least two methods of enjoying the sweet, nutty kernel of a…um…nut. As a matter of record, I would almost always plump for the eminently less labour-intensive (ergo, more readily accessible) suspended-in-chocolate option, courtesy Mr Cadbury – a preference clearly shared by the furry little chap on the right. Also, I suspect he doesn’t have within him the (seemingly requisite…) seething anger fit to wield a mallet in a manner conducive to the efficient despatch of a nutshell – unlike Left-hand Squirrel.


Last Friday was the day of the Illustration Workshop at Nightingale Primary School (Redbridge Borough of London), the content of which I had been mentally masticating for several weeks prior in an attempt to come up with something suitably engaging for the 7 & 8 year-old crowd. Hopefully I will have a little time later this evening to add some modest description about that experience (there were such excitements as visualizers and awkward questions about my level of fame [ha ha!], that I feel should be recorded for posterity…), but – in the meantime – I shall simply add a few of the resources sheets I concocted for the classes, which build on the ‘Character Drawing’ sequence I uploaded in my 3rd May post:

Stick figures, for the lower ability end of the spectrum to draw directly onto and ‘flesh out’

A bit of guidance for the children to refer to at their desks, in addition to the help I was trying to offer them – and the artist’s maquettes (‘little wooden men’) we had in ready supply!

Some ‘starter’ expressions for some of the higher ability children/as an extension exercise to begin to experiment with adding to their characters.

Expresisons again, but demonstrating how the whole shape of a face can change, depending upon what all the various features are doing when a character is experiencing a particular emotion/sensation.

About illustratedbyamanda

Illustrator and time-fritterer extraordinaire
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6 Responses to A nut(ty)-case.

  1. Fantastic drawings! I love the slightly crazed expression you’ve given the mallet wielding one but I think I relate more to the little guy with his chocolate bar, he’s definitely got the right idea 😀

    • Ha ha! Thank you! Yes, he does look bit deranged, doesn’t he…? As I say in the post, though, when the nice man at Cadbury is prepared to go to the trouble of extracting nuts and delivering them – wrapped in chocolate, no less – for a nominal fee, why would one bother attempting such dangerous work oneself?! 🙂

  2. Cindy D. says:

    Love the squirrels! (Yeah, I’m on team chocolate, if there was any doubt.) Left hand squirrel looks supremely serious and I would not want to get in the way of that mallet. Love the teeny hands and furry elbows!

    The diagrams are terrific, particularly showing how to dissect the face and body. The faces are outstanding but I don’t know if I could replicate any of them. I mean, I could probably copy them without *too* much trouble, but doing my own expressions I have found to be rough. Particularly with animals, though I imagine most of the same rules apply! Hmm!

    • Good to know you’re on board on the chocolate v. labour-intensive mallet-facilitated front! 😉 And thanks for your lovely comments and observations – always much appreciated!

      I wasn’t sure, with the resources sheets, exactly what range of abilities I was going to be dealing with and had similarly thought that the facial expressions would be way too ambitious for most (if not all) of the children – I had expected them to be used just as a bit of a reference and example of some comic-type characters they might use for inspiration. Astonishingly, though, I did see a few intimidatingly accurate imitations of some of the most ‘advanced’ faces (the mischievous boy seemed a popular choice – I wonder why…), which pretty much floored me! I had been warned by the lead class teacher that their instinct is often to copy… (And I’m inclined to chastise you, sternly, for being so down on your own expression-drawing – I LOVE your beasts & critters, and have spotted some embodiments of impishness and superciliousness (amongst other diverse emotions) over the months! 🙂

  3. Cindy D says:

    Hi Amanda! How’s tricks? ;P

    • Hi Cindy! Been a bit lost lately – followed by a week of deeply uncharacteristic busy-ness (of the illustrative kind – hurrah!) – but wending my way back to the IF fold this week 😉 Thanks for rooting me out of the fug! Hope things are veritably tip-top with you – I absolutely LOVE your Shoebill and Squirrel copic creation this week: fabulous colours, perfectly balanced and the subtly skeptical squint of Harriet Shoebill’s eye is brilliant! See you at the IF table soon :p x

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