Learning illustration with Dundas native, Derek Douglas!


Last Tuesday August 1st, as a Community Partner of Telling Tales once again, we had the opportunity to attend illustrator Derek Douglas’ literacy workshop.  With the Quilt of Belonging as a backdrop at Hamilton’s Cotton Factory, we could see how passionate Douglas is when he engages with children and families in educating them on the wonders of illustration.

Derek Douglas speaking to his passion for illustrating!

Do you know what a “Diorama” is? We didn’t either before Derek’s presentation. Well, it’s a 3D display, defined as “a scene, often in miniature, reproduced in three dimensions by placing objects, figures, etc., in front of a painted background.”  He showed us a video of a cute yet detailed miniature “home” set he created within his design studio. You’d be in awe as we were when he explained all the tools that he used were only a utility knife, glue gun and paint brush. That’s all!

What materials do you need to design illustrations (whether static or digital), you ask? Some of the answers suggested were “paint, plastercine, pencils and pixels”. Pixels? Yes, pixels are defined as “the smallest element of an image that can be individually processed in a video display system.” Try explaining this to young kids, but Derek did a great job visually doing this to his young audience with masks.

Teaching children how illustrations are designed by pixels.


Douglas also spoke about being “ninjas” when it comes to putting illustrations together. He brought some volunteers up on the stage who became his helpful ninja sidekicks to show how a variety of red pixel squares can turn into “something special”.  Can you guess what it turned out to be?

Literary Ninjas putting the surprise design together.


If you guessed the Canadian flag, you are right!

The Canadian flag!


If you missed Derek Douglas, you can see him on September 17th, at Rockton’s Westfield Heritage Village for the 9th Annual Telling Tales Festival.  He has designed the official illustration for this year’s Festival.  If you would like to learn more about his books and designs, please visit his website.

Mark your calendars to attend this special annual literacy event on September 17th, 10am – 4pm!

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