It was Ceratopia's fourth birthday yesterday, and I spent it at Southsea Infant School with Year 2. The children have been looking at comic and cartoon art, so I was there to share some tricks and tips to improve their cartooning skills and, ultimately, to help them create their very own superhero. They particularly enjoyed learning how to subvert the rules for drawing a normal face to create a cute or ugly one - lots of 'oohs', 'urghs' and giggles. The superheroes themselves were great to see, including Super Monkey, Thunder Man and Peanutman (he's made up of peanuts and he fires peanuts - let's hope he's not allergic to them too). During lunchtime I drew a front cover to a comic featuring all the characters belonging to one class (there was smoke coming from the pencil) with the aim of collecting all the drawings and strip work the children had done inside. Before the afternoon session kicked off properly some of the children were asked to draw a cartoon of a cartoonist, so while some of the children imagined something of their own, some took advantage of my presence to doodle me, with one particular group deciding to make me a girl which, naturally, they struggled to finish following fits of laughter at my shocked outrage. We finished the day with four punchy 15 minute sessions where parents were allowed to join their children to draw on the theme of the school's Eco Code. Very hectic, but several nice results and a few parents hinting at hidden talents.
One final item worth mentioning. At lunchtime I popped along Albert Road to Uppercrusties for a baguette (lovely it was too) and as I made my way along the road the heavy clouds unleashed an immensely heavy downpour meaning that by the time I arrived at the sandwich shop I was rather wet but not as wet as I was going to be taking the return journey. When they asked if I was eating in I replied no as I needed to get back up to the school as soon as possible. One of the staff behind the counter pointed to the hammering downpour and offered to give me a lift. So if you're in the area and you're feeling peckish, make sure you visit the friendliest sandwich shop in Southsea.