Summer Camp Lunchtime Doodles – Part Two: Goofy Sketches in Gussago…

Buongiorno mi amici! How about some more summer camp lunchtime doodles? These ones come from the second camp which was located in the beautiful town of Gussago on the outskirts of Brescia. Having finished up in Fino Mornasco (see this blogpost for sketches) the company sent me off on a train to the other side of Lombardia to work there.

First, some possibly-not-very-interesting contextual background info for those who are interested in ‘ze process’. Conditions for the daily drawing action were different – and better – at this camp. The school had a large, well-lit mensa and a great grassy garden outdoors in contrast to the dark canteen cave and cramped stone courtyard of the first camp. The actual ‘eating inside’ part of the break took longer because the meals here were provided on-site (not packed lunches). With the organised distribution of several courses – and it’s Italy so there are many courses as standard – I had a bit more time to draw in relaxed fashion. This was also the case outside where I had a lot of space (temporal and physical) to doodle away. The Gussago kids liked my sketches but, with a whole massive grassy area in which to freely play, they weren’t as interested as the Fino Mornasco bambini. Regardless, I did sketch requests (two particular children demanded daily vampire bats) and kept on doodling. Here are those daily diary doodlings with explanatory annotations…

Day One: here we have the kind of first impression/general intro stuff you’d expect. The first day of camp is trying to get a feel of the place and the children you’re working with while also introducing them to yourself – a strange adult who speaks a silly language, sings silly songs and wants to force you into playing silly games that you can’t quite understand. I was pleased to find that the children of Gussago dug stuff like comics, superhero movies and Adventure Time more than the kids at the previous camp so there’s reference to that here. Also making an appearance is Lady LSF, the company mascot, and a dead bird because the kids found the remains of a large ex-bird in the garden earlier in the day…

Gussago - Day 1

Day Two: the theme of day two was animal day and, thus, there are creatures to reinforce some vocab. I made up a game called Shark Attack so that inspires a short comic strip and there’s also an effort to show children how to ask if they can go to the toilet in English. Otherwise, Balotelli the Bear steps up because it was the day of the Italy vs. Uruguay game…

Gussago - Day 2

Day Three: Wednesday week one is full of woe because the weather turned terrible (about three lightning-flashes-per-minute, apocalyptic skies and monsoon rain) and Italy had been knocked out of the World Cup the night before. This one kind of speaks for itself, though I can’t really explain the Mighty Merman King’s cameo…

Gussago - Day 3

Day Four: as befits talent show day, today’s doodles are mainly geared around performing arts and sport skills. We had amazing gymnasts, great dancers and ultra-impressive rhythmic rollerskaters at this camp so they’re in the mix alongside the sheep disco revival.  Children pleading for time and space away from camp activities and everyone else to practice gymnastics or dance routines (or just doss around listening to music) would be the bane of my life during the course of the fortnight. Olly Olly Octopus is also back in a fancy hat and you can see that I’m surprised at just how fast time is flying by when I’m having fun…

Gussago - Day 4

Day Five: more confusion as I consciously realise that we’re already halfway through camp plus some sketches to try and reinforce the camp theme (‘Around the World’). Every day at lunch the kids would take their plastic forks, break ’em up and use the sharp pointy bits to make temporary vampire teeth so that explains Emma the Vampire. The carrot lesson comes from sitting next to children who didn’t want to eat the orange veggies put in front of them. The ‘you have to learn English to play in the NBA’ comes from me having basketball on my mind ahead of that evening’s Italian basketball league finals match (we had a party watching the game. My host family’s team – Olimpia Milano owned by Giorgio Armani – won). I remember as well that I was sat with some really little girls and they wanted ballerinas and mermaids so, yay, an excuse to draw pretty ballerinas and mermaids as a change from “Vampire bat!“…

Gussago - Day 5

Day Six: back to school after the weekend and it’s food day so it’s full-on anthropomorphic foodie sketches. I feel sorry for Harry the Hot Dog who is too hot, the smelly cheese and the lost olive but hopefully Doctor Pepper can help them out. Pirate Bread is a complete mystery to me and the rock ‘n’ roll chicken drumsticks gag didn’t translate but the kids understood what I was driving at with the ‘mozzarella balls are not footballs’ thing. The spaghetti mountain is a delayed doodle reaction to two weeks’ previous when I watched a man eat a small mountain of pesto pasta to the amazement of everyone at the dinner table…

Gussago - Day 6

Day Seven: today was treasure hunt day, hence the concern with finding treasure. The boy wizard makes a cameo because me and the other two tutors decided to pretend we were Harry Potter characters for said treasure hunt. (We were one ginger man, one woman and one small guy with scruffy hair so posing as Ron, Hermione and Harry made sense. I drew a lightning scar on my head, stole the glasses of a child in my class and quickly discovered that being Harry Potter is too much pressure.) The note about China comes from the fact that the favourite song of the kids here was ‘The Hello Song’ simply because it features the lyric “Ni hao! Ni hao! Says hello in China!” These slightly-racist children thought it was hilarious (or that Chinese people are hilarious) so would shout out “China! China! China!” every time it came to doing song circles. Bizarre, but then again working in these camps is all about the bizarre…

Gussago - Day 7

Day Eight: it was water day so the doodles are mostly aquatic in nature. I really like the idea of Dr. Jellyfish, the vampire fish (obvious inspiration from all the plastic fork-fangs biting into my back) and the Merdog. You can also detect some anxiety about time running out and the fact that some kids weren’t remembering their lines for the final show…

Gussago - Day 8

Day Nine: James Bond is back for an appearance on the penultimate day and he has been shaken and stirred by English camp. There’s also a dinosaur, Tony the Tiger, a crazy talking tree and a Future Horse Cop and I think all of these clearly indicate that I’m getting tired and feeling slightly dazed as I simultaneously struggle to control 18 wild Italian children and face the end of my time in Italy. For the record, ‘Hooparound’ is where you get everybody in a circle holding hands and then move a hula-hoop all the way around the circle without anyone breaking the chain. Today we did it in the fastest time, so yay for today’s record breaker…

Gussago - Day 9

Day Ten: the final day of camp has the expected goodbye notes, a touch of spacey-ness (Space Panda FTW!) and The Golden Pants Award for English Effort especially for the children of Gussago (they were really not keen to speak English, but we dragged some out of ’em). And with these doodles, I’m gone from Gussago and camp is over…

Gussago - Day 10

Awww, good times and magical memories. I may write a bit more here about travels and experiences outside of summer camp. I will definitely be doodling more because action like this really makes you realise what is best in life and what you really enjoy. As I’ve said before, sketching with and for children is so rewarding and it’s an extra bonus part of the brilliant job that is being a summer camp tutor.

I miss it all already and without it all I’m feeling bereft and oh-so-sad. I think I need a pen, some paper and a class full of Italian children…

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2 Comments

  1. Summer Camp Lunchtime Doodles – Part Three: Wriggly Squiggles in Rescalda… | ENTER... JAMES CLAYTON
  2. Summer Camp Lunchtime Doodles June 2015: Arty Tricks in Torino… | ENTER... JAMES CLAYTON

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