Peter Shaw Design Workshops About Peter Shaw Contact



During a Primary-school workshop a curious Year 4 boy once asked me why I enjoy drawing so much - he obviously does. The best answer that I could give him was, 'It's magic - like pulling rabbits out of hats!'  I encourage people to continue drawing all through their life - it's a wonderfully expressive, creative act that also helps us all to conceptualise and organize complex ideas. So, I love to conduct stimulating, hands-on workshops for . . . school students, teachers, parents - and anyone else interested in literacy, story-telling, visual creativity and magic, passing my fiery crayons on to the next lot of very bright sparks. 

Workshop Content  

Drawing on a life of picture-making and my extensive experience in book publishing I can talk in-depth about any aspect of illustrating - authoring text, research methods, character development, drawing and illustration techniques and styles, design, photography and packaging. I look for interesting ways to give insights into what authors, illustrators and designers do - the sources of our ideas, our stylistic approaches, and also our need to develop many different and varied practical skills - cobbling words together coherently, drawing, painting, collage, and computer use. Then I demonstrate 'how-to' and get the kids to draw furiously - which they do more intuitively and better than just about anything else except talking and laughing.


To download a flyer and view specific information about workshop formats, fees, etc, click
Workshops information.
To discuss your workshop needs or ideas phone +61 02 6076 1269
or email

The photos on this web-page were taken during Book Week activities and follow-up visits. Various Powerpoint sequences tailored to suit different age groups were prepared for Years Prep to 8 at different schools, using books and logos I've designed and illustrated as examples. I explained to students in detail: the book publishing process as related to picture-books; comic-strip drawing; logo and graphic design, and other topics. Publisher's briefs, formulating ideas, the author's role, editing, researching the subject, developing an appropriate illustration style for each story, choosing media for the finished artwork, and printing were all discussed. 
Q & A sessions with students, and practical demonstrations of how to develop ideas and characters followed, giving students concepts that they subsequently used to produce their own work. Enthused participants still stop me in the street to show me and/or to discuss what they've been producing since being involved in past workshops - surely one of the great joys of living in a small town!   

A dummy book with rough drawings placed, for the story Hop, Little Hare! I showed students how to pace and stucture a book by making up a dummy version of the entire story, and then encouraged them to consider that there are always many different ways to illustrate the same scene.


After reading the story aloud using volunteers from the class and doing a lot of accompanying hopping and bumping on their bottoms, Prep to Year 2 students looked closely at the illustrations on an electronic white-board as the many stages of illustrating Hop, Little Hare! were explained to them. Three stages from that process are shown here. Clockwise from left: final cover artwork; development drawings of hares based on photos; character development drawing for discussion with the publisher.


Tailor-made Workshops 

Creative interactive presentations that are instructive, entertaining and fun can be tailored to suit groups of any age and size. For teachers and librarians these sessions are an ideal way to provide a springboard for future classroom activities, as well as stimulating students’ interest in visual and verbal literacy, art and design. Subject-specific content can be incorporated into any workshop on request. For example, as shown below - where a Years 3-6 group did a workshop about Viking culture.


Clockwise from left: reference photos; rough drawing; and finished artwork for a page of the education market play for whole-class use, Vagnarok Finds a Sweetheart. Part of my PowerPoint demonstration showed how taking your own reference photos can speed up the illustration process, helping an illustrator to make even cartoon characters more accurate in expression.


I demonstrated how to develop, draw, and maintain continuity  of character using Vagnarok as an example.


A quick on-the-spot brainstorm with the class produced some possible new scenarios for Vagnarok.
'He could be . . . !' 'What about . . . '




The students then illustrated comic strips using the new scenario suggestions and information already accumulated about the character's fictional world.


Workshop Benefits   

Creative and practical skills gained by my workshop collaborators enhance their insight and motivate them to further develop their own distinctive styles and approaches to creating publications and imagery. Participants of all abilities are encouraged to extend and express their ideas in dynamic, creative ways in a supportive and stimulating environment. All are encouraged and urged to continue the production of their own creative work long after participation in the workshop, and the laments, 'But . . . I CAN'T draw!' and 'I'm NO GOOD at it!' are quickly transformed into 'How DO you do that?' and 'I LUUUV drawing!'