Monday, November 12, 2007

picturebook lecture

taken during a lovely sunny day a while ago. we had a fabulous storm this morning. the world was white with fog. all you could see were great black tree branches trashing and the rain belting sidewards at the window.

i have been writing my picturebook lecture all day, which is very satisfying. i so enjoy picturebooks and picturebook theory. i'm lecturing at one of the colleges (like TAFE) about how to read an image in a picturebook, which is a topic i'm very interested in. I'm starting from the very beginning, and explaining left-to-right and depth perception and that sort of thing, and working through relationships between characters; style, colour and repeated shapes; framing, layout and the relationship between text and image.

i'll put an extract below. the bits in ALL CAPS are notes to remind me to show a specific illustration to demonstrate a point. the prof has booked a very exciting machine which projects an image of anything you put below it. in the past when i did presentations on picturebooks i've spent hours and hours scanning each individual image, adjusting the colours and so forth, saving it as a jpg and compiling the images into powerpoint, which is effective but very labour intensive. with this thingy i can just put the book into the machine and point out the relevant bits with my finger. it means i can use a lot more pictures, too, cos it's not such a hassle. anyway, this is still very drafty, but you get the picture. (ha! picture! see!):

"In Western culture we read text from left to right, so we also read the action in illustrations from left to right. If ever a character in a book is running they will run from the left hand side of the page to the right. We also assume that what’s happening on the right hand side of the page happens later than what happens on the left, so if a character is throwing a pie in the face of another character the pie will fly from left to right. ROSIE’S WALK. This is a picturebook from Israel. NODELMAN You see the Hebrew is read from right to left, and the direction of the train is from right to left. This illustration is rather disconcerting to Western viewers who aren’t used to action moving this way. Tell Anne Spudvilas story about her first book.

We use the information about left to right movement to read the action in a story. MAX SAILS TOWARDS ISLAND. We also use it, more subtly, to read when something is going wrong. MAX CHASES DOG W FORK. IDA’S TERRIBLE MISTAKE. When things start going right for Ida she moves from left to right. Movement from right to left can also indicate a home coming (vis. home-away-home pattern) MAX RETURNING, but not always. Rosie, for instance, walks solidly from left to right to get away from home and from left to right to return home. In this case picturebook convention overrides logical meaning. (But did anyone notice that? I certainly didn’t.)"

see how well my lettuces are going! though i haven't checked them since the storm, so i probably should do that. they tend to get buried in fallen leaves.

they still need thinning, which i do whenever i feel i haven't had enough greens.

6 comments:

folgrot said...

lovely photos - your face seems to be getting longer - must be age

me and the person married to the relation of the well-known poet would really like copies of your lecture - it sounds like it has lots of things we dont' know

she will use it in her writing and i could use it first lesson next year, when i won't be bitter any more

Epponnee-Rae said...

or maybe it's the funny angle? i think my head looks oddly big in that picture too. . . it's hard work being this shallow.

isn't the flower pic good? i'm very proud of it.

will send on lecture (for small fee), although it may not make much sense without the illustrations. a better way to go would be to read perry nodelman's _words about pictures_, which i am stealing from heavily.

i love picturebook theory!

folgrot said...

i'll check it out - i hope you're referencing it

i'd still like your particular slant on it, all the same

(and i'm sure the wife of the relation of the famous poet would too)

Epponnee-Rae said...

oh yes. i make brackets with my hands after every sentence and say the pae number. i look like an insane mime artist.

aw. . . i feel special. will send.

Epponnee-Rae said...

page number. with a G.

Ellie said...

Woah, that hair, it so hot!

Your lettuce picture is inspiring.