Lunchtime Doodles for Little Italians…

Allora! The post-exile re-organisation continues apace and that involves going through bags, plastic wallets full of printed paraphernalia, photo archives on digital devices and much much more. One of the plastic wallets contained these: paper dinner placemats I doodled all over during my two-week stint working as an English tutor at a summer camp for Italian children in the town of Candiolo just outside of Torino.

Sketching is fun. It’s even more fun when you do it with enthusiastic children during lunchtime. What follows is a pictorial diary of the fortnight, all of the instalments quickly inked up in the half-hour breaks from all the singing and silly games when I got a moment to free-create a bit while quickly cramming some pasta in my mouth.

The theme of the camps was ‘The Seven Seas’ which explains all the nautical and piratical pics. Each one also has annotations so you can get insight into what inspired ’em and where my mind was at the moment. The children enjoyed ’em, I enjoyed doing ’em (damn it, I enjoyed the whole experience!) and I hope you enjoy them as well (click on them to see them bigger if you so wish)…

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 1

DAY 1 – First day features Batman doodles, pea friends and a comic strip to show aloof, disgusted children that fish served up to them is beneficial food that will boost their brain power. I also asked a little girl about her gelato preferences and she told me that her favourite ice cream was chocolate but that she didn’t like vanilla much. Thus, Mrs Chocolate Ice Cream is always cool and Mr Vanilla melts his way to a sad and sorry demise. My fellow camp leader Nicole from Canada adds that my ice cream actually looks more like a meatball. Oh sure, Nicole. My ice creams may look like meatballs but, hey sassy Canuck sister, at least I can remember the lyrics and dance moves to Sailing, Sailing

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 2

DAY 2 – It turns out that children like comics about explosions. It was a scorching hot day and we’d been playing the game I call ‘Shootout Showdown’, hence the candle and the badly-drawn cowboy. I think it was spaghetti for lunch which would explain the Spaghetti Monster, though that may be uncanny inteference from unfathomable Lovecraftian entities lurking in the aether. I can’t explain the Merminotaur but, then again, Merminotaur don’t need no justification, brother. Merminoatur! Yeah!

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 3

DAY 3 – A lunchtime meeting meant I had barely any time to draw so it was a quick rush of Seven Seas-themed sketches to reinforce vocab to the bambini. Oh, and a Salvador Dalí tribute as bonus because I also didn’t have time and space to cultivate a moustache while I was away.

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 4

DAY 4 – I think this clearly marks the point where my brain started to become a bit mushy. It’s the risk of being in an alien climate and working with children in 35°c heat but hey, I don’t mind those side-effects (partly because my mind is gone). There are carrot friends, bodybuilders and a portrait of Jacopo who is a swaggering 7-year-old badass with more gangsta style than anyone his age should be allowed to have.

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 5

DAY 5 – I’m pretty sure that today I wasn’t sure what to draw, hence the indecisive pencil. There are some shark attacks, attempts to teach cutlery vocab, some squiddies (my favourite sea animal, y’know) and a celebration that, halfway through, I haven’t died yet.

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 6

DAY 6 – A new week with new fantastical energy and so there are unicorns, little devils and magical metamorphoses from frog to Prince Charming afoot. A little girl wanted me to draw horses so, hey, neigh. It was also pizza for lunch and all the kids really, really like pizza  – me to most of my class: “What’s your favourite food?” Most of my class in response in hesitant English: “My fa-aay-vourite food ‘s pizza!” – so in total, today’s entry is a pizza party.

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 7

DAY 7 – It was directions day and I was trying to re-inforce my Treasure Island-themed show script to the kids – we performed The Pirates vs the Giant Crab of Treasure Island at the big summer camp finale in front of parents – which explains the treasure map. Otherwise, there’s a Sassy Pirate Lady and lots of gold things. I was probably trying to emphasise the idea of treasure to all these children who had been building cardboard treasure chests and cardboard coins. The ‘ickle Italians really enjoyed making homemade treasure.

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 8

DAY 8 – In the morning my class had gone crazy with some histrionic melodramas and indecipherable soap opera upsets so I got them to sit down and meditate. It lasted less than 10 seconds and at lunch my daily doodles turned into a pictorial mini-manifesto to encourage them to all get together, be friends and get on peaceably. Then they soaked me with water bombs…

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 9

DAY 9 – There are a few camp-themed things (a tribute to the Crazy Moose song, a nod to the camp theme tune and some sea stuff) but as we lurch towards the end things are freeing up a bit. There’s some Adventure Time action which gets a good response and fuels the following day’s doodles. There’s also a note attesting to the fact that I was sitting in between two of the loudest little girls in camp who kept on screeching at me.

Lunchtime Doodles - Day 10

DAY 10 – Final day of camp and “this is The End, beautiful friend” which is why there’s a cameo from Jim Morrison. Urged to draw Adventure Time characters, I sketched a few tributes and was utterly made up when I saw that a whole load of kids around me had taken my references, grabbed pens and started doing likewise on their own paper placemats. All of us together doodling Jake and Finn on the final day before we finish up the job, perform the final show and then go our separate ways. It was such a sweet, gloriously geektastic moment and I treasure the memory.

What is best in life? It might possibly be spending time doodling with children. I recommend this as a fun, creative activity. If you ever get the opportunity, grab a pen, gab away to kids who can’t understand you and illustrate it out for theirs and your entertainment. It will make them smile. It will make you smile. It will make the Sassy Pirate Lady and the Merminotaur smile as well…

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     /  July 13, 2013

    Just excellent!

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