Illustrator holds workshop for students

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 11, 2002

Circles, squares, triangles, diamonds are shapes that form pictures.

That's the message author and illustrator Nancy Carlson shared with seventh and eighth grade students at Queen of Angels School Thursday.

Carlson, a Minnesota native, has published more than 40 children's books and was invited by the Catholic Schools Parent Teacher Association to hold a workshop with students at St. Augustine, St. Edward's and Queen of Angels Schools.

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Carlson spoke about her writing and drawing experience and then showed the students how to draw the characters in her books.

"You will be drawing this very well," Carlson said to the group of 50 students sitting with pencils and paper ready to draw. "I guarantee it."

After the students drew her characters, she asked them to make up their own, complete with a list of personality traits.

Eighth grader Constance Krzyzanowski was a step ahead of her and brought Carlson a sketch book of a cartoon she had created earlier in the school year.

"I've been looking forward to this all day!" she said to Carlson.

Her cartoon is about mermaids and the characters are named after her friends and family.

"You're really going through a lot of detail," Carlson commented as Constance flipped through the pages of her notebook.

Constance said she would like to be an artist someday, but said she is only good at drawing mermaids.

Carlson visits schools throughout the country and this is the third time she's been in Austin. She said the children usually come up with creative characters.

"Especially at this age, they'll all have some good ones," Carlson said.

Such as, perhaps, Alan Meidl's cartoon, Bill the skateboarder who likes pizza. Or Drew William's Fred, who eats garbage.

Or Bobliet the alien. Make that "brave" alien, said its creator, Tim Sheey.

The students agreed that the workshop was fun and some said it was better than they expected.

"At first I thought we were going to listen to a talk. Then I found out we get to draw," said Anna Hebrink, an eighth grader.

Junior high teacher Theresa Jacobs said the school does not have an art program in the seventh and eighth grades, but many students are interested in art, she said.

"We're fortunate to have someone here who is experienced at this," she said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at