School Drawing Day

Richard Bell’s Wild West nature diary, Thursday,  21st May 2009, page 1 of 2

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child's drawing
pupil at the school
cartoon portrait
silver birch bark
hawthorn blossom
ash branch
ash keys

Drawing by one of the pupils

I’M LEADING drawing workshops for the older children at a primary school on the edge of open countryside west of Barnsley. I like to divide the session up in segments and I’m lucky that today there’s an opportunity, between showers, to draw outside. The hawthorn in the hedgerow alongside the playground is in blossom so we start with 5 minutes drawing that.

The teacher notices that a blue tit is waiting to visit the nestbox, so we stand back and draw the nestbox: during the next 5 minutes the adults visit 8 times carrying caterpillars.

In the afternoon, following an earlier shower, the cumulus clouds are starting to build up again and we have a session drawing them.


‘It’s like a map of Scotland.’ Says one boy. Later a girl adds a little more shading to her cloud drawing to improve its resemblance to a penguin.


Sitting on benches inside a large climbing frame, we have a short portrait session; first a straightforward drawing of the person sitting opposite, then a cartoon version.

Ash, just coming into leaf. One boy shows me that the ash seeds are encased in the ‘helicopter’ blade.

Birch bark

Sycamore with hanging flower-spikes


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