Our Seminar on the Child Series raises child-focused themes for discussion amongst producers of creative content, educators, parents, researchers, policy-makers, parents and the community at large.
Building Capacity in Book Illustration
The importance of illustrators has been undervalued in local children’s book production. Recognizing this, we invited artists in 1997 to the first workshop on book illustration in Ghana, and have continued to support capacity building in illustration through training sessions with recognized professionals in the field.
From developing drawing technique to discussing the challenges of gender bias, our 1 to 3 day workshops serve about 10 to 25 artists at a time. Language Club children aged 10 – 15 are given a separate opportunity to interact with the animator. Our animators expose participants to a range of media including etching and bookbinding.
Key Lessons from our Workshops
- For a better quality of indigenous children’s books, there needs to be much closer collaboration between illustrators, writers, publishers and educators.
- Illustrators see themselves as being low status participants in the production process. Every effort must be made to change this perception.
- Images of boys/men and girls/women which reflect equity in gender roles are in strong demand.
- Creative ways must be found to address the very real economic and technical issues which local publishers face in trying to produce high-quality books for children.
- Almost all producers of creative content for children through the medium of books feel the need for supportive structures such as professional associations, access to models of excellence, and forums for personal development.
Kati Teague is based in London, UK. Specializing in books for young children aged 0-10 and in multicultural characters, Kati has been illustrating children’s books since 1981, and has over 60 books which have been published internationally in over 14 languages.
We invited Kati to Ghana as the primary animator for the first Seminar on the Child and its follow-up event, held in 1997 and 1998 in Accra.
“Stories and books are one of the earliest means of exposure children experience with regard to life and the world around them, therefore it stand to reason that positive role models should be introduced from the outset.” – Kati Teague
Aba Ellie Schimelman is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and was an art teacher, a professional potter, and supervisor in public schools in the United States. In Ghana she has researched and studied traditional crafts. She now directs Cross-Cultural Collaborative, Inc. and facilitates workshops held at its cultural center near Accra.
“Because etching requires supplies like copper plates that aren’t readily available in Ghana, most people in the workshops had not experienced this technique before.The results were impressive. We felt that the technique might be too difficult for the children, but even they produced some nice results. The adults were able to master the more intricate steps.” – Aba Ellie Schimelman
Bethia Brehmer is a professional artist (etching, copper fountains, oil painting) and has had over 60 one person shows. She participates in prestigious regional and national competitions, and is represented in private and corporate collections. A world traveler, Beth now owns a eco-friendly beach guest house in Teshie-Nungua, near Accra.
“In 2002, I made my first trip to Ghana to teach etching classes at The Cross Cultural Collaborative. I fell in love with the ocean, sandy beaches, relaxed life style, friendliness of the Ghanaians, and the natural traditional, building materials. A year later in 2004, I bought land and started building.”
Christiane Pieper is an award-winning illustrator with over 40 books to her credit. She has worked for some of Germany’s most prestigious publishing houses. She has a special interest in animals, both by themselves and in their symbolism for human kind. Christiane has conducted workshops on illustration in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.
“Having regard to the still expanding over-presence of visual media that we are exposed to, we get an idea of their impact and of the importance of pictures. I consider it an exciting challenge to research on this and to reflect on images, my special field being picture books. In the workshop we took the chance to exchange our ideas and notions. I for one learned a lot for myself and for my own work.” – Christiane Peiper
So far, artists who have participated in our illustrators workshops are affiliated with:
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
- University College of Education of Winneba
- The Ghana Education Service
- Local publishing houses
- Independent artists.
Seminars and Workshops Partners
We appreciate the support of the following sponsors and partners:
Ghana Institute of Management and Public Accounting
The Goethe Institut
Images from the Illustrators’ Workshops, including participants’ work.