Monday, April 30, 2018

World Book Week 2018 - Matt Stroud

Illustrator and animator Matt Stroud visited San Anton School to meet with the Grade 10 students. He spoke to them about his personal journey through various forms and styles of illustration and animation.

Mr Stroud embarked on a career in illustration through the usual channels (ie post secondary education) and then pursued it further abroad. Early on he was very interested in 3D illustration,inspired by the likes of Pixar; but, as time went by, he explored different avenues until he settled on his current, idiosyncratic style.

Inspiration comes in many forms and guises and Mr Stroud insisted on the importance of keeping a portfolio of images. In the early stages of his career he used to draw pictures in the style of the animators and illustrators that he admired, a very important step, because through copying one is exposed to an array of very important skills.

Next, Mr Stroud walked the students through the process of illustrating. First comes the sketching phase, using good old pencil and paper. The drawing is then transferred to a digital platform where it is altered accordingly. When working for a client, it is wise to present different versions of the same concept. In the long run, it saves time in laborious, later edits and, more importantly, opens up the work to discussion, which can be extremely fruitful. The work then progresses in stages: deciding on a palette, lighting, mood, etc, until the illustrator and the client agree on the final product.

It was a very informative and entertaining talk, and the students were engaged throughout. Hopefully some of them will be inspired to follow in Mr Stroud's steps!

Friday, April 27, 2018

World Book Week 2018 - Simone Spiteri

Simone Spiteri, whose debut novel for children hit the book stands last November during the Malta Book Festival, kindly accepted San Anton's invitation to come and speak to the Grade 8 students.

Il-Vjaġġaturi taż-Żmien is the first instalment in the Il-Vinkulari series. It's the story of Maia and Alex, two cousins who were born on the same day at the same exact hour. They were also raised together but now that they have reached their eleventh birthday, they are privy to this great family secret. And now they have a mission: they have to travel back in time, and in just 24 hours Maia and Alex must...

Ms Spiteri's adventure is set during World War Two which means that she had to do a ton of research in order to make sure that the historical facts are precise. Even though Vjaġġaturi is first and foremost a novel and not a history book, it is still essential for a writer to weave a credible backdrop against which the story is set.

The many illustrations which pepper the book have also been meticulously researched. Artist Moira Scicluna Żahra based her drawings on real photos of Malta at the time, adding that vibrant touch to what is already a gorgeous publication.

The students loved every minute of Ms Spiteri's presentation and quite a number of them purchased the book. If only they had a time-machine and could travel forward in time to get hold of Il-Vinkulari 2...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

World Book Week 2018 - Ruth Frendo

Ruth Frendo was the first of several guest authors to visit San Anton School to mark World Book Week. Ms Frendo met with the Grade 7 students and spoke at length about an interesting project called Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb.

Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb is an ambitious and exciting story that involves a film, a book and augmented reality. Cousins Pia and Sandro are embroiled in a mystery that finds them exploring an eerie labyrinth underneath their grandparents' house. They are trying to figure out the location of the Golden Calf which, according to legend, is buried somewhere in Malta. However, something's amiss, as their uncle Ino is doing his utmost to foil their plans.

The book, penned by Ms Frendo, also the writer of the script upon which the film is based, is a breathtaking adventure that packs a punch. It also provides food for thought as issues like greed, bullying and self-esteem are explored.

A first for a local publication is the inclusion of augmented reality. Thanks to an app that is freely downloaded on one's mobile or tablet, the book illustrations morph into a gateway to exclusive digital content.

Ms Frendo went on to explain in detail the laborious but rewarding process of film making, during which the students were glued to their seats, hanging on to her every word. They really enjoyed Ms Frendo's visit and they were extremely eager to read the book. As an added treat, the day following the visit, the Grade 7s went to the cinema to watch Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb!