Ryan Higgins visits with students from three Washington County schools

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Ryan Higgins with second through fourth graders at Whiting Village School

IRW had a great day with Ryan Higgins! On March 11, Jan and Jenna traveled up to Whiting Village School from Mount Desert Island, third through sixth graders from Edmunds Consolidated School joined us, and author/illustrator Ryan Higgins drove north from Kittery -all for a fun morning of creating unique characters, writing stories, and illustrating using a digital sketchpad and Adobe Photoshop.

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Ryan Higgins with fifth through eighth graders from Whiting Village School and fifth/sixth graders from Edmunds Consolidated School

Ryan talked with students about what it’s like to be an author, and what he has to do be a writer and illustrator, including staying active and reading everything he can get his hands on. He demonstrated how picture books are constructed, confessed that he averages about 50 drafts per book, and answered numerous questions about writing and illustrating. One of the highlights of his presentation was collaborative – students named exotic animals, Ryan chose three of them, and created a character with characteristics of each. After sketching, Ryan mined color suggestions from the students and finished the illustration. Together they named the new creature, and chose his occupation, favorite snacks, and place of residence.

Whiting Village School second through fourth graders were so inspired by the collaborative exercise that they each created their own character after Ryan moved to another classroom to present to older students.

The Unieagapig: part unicorn, part eagle, part pig. Created by Chloe at Whiting Village School

The Unieagapig: part unicorn, part eagle, part pig. Created by Chloe at Whiting Village School

Each student received a personally inscribed copy of one of Ryan’s books.

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After that visit, Ryan, Jan and Jenna traveled to Fort O’Brien School in Machiasport, and kindergarten through eighth graders learned about his experience, work habits, and inspiration. Each group also created their own hybrid creatures, including an Outboard Bumblephant (bumblebee-elephant with an outboard motor to assist with acceleration)!

Ryan Higgins at Fort O'Brien School

Ryan Higgins at Fort O’Brien School

When Ryan asked which Fort O’Brien students wanted to be authors and/or illustrators, many hands shot up! They also had numerous questions for him regarding how long it took to write a book, and if he already has a whole book planned out before he starts a project.

Ryan illustrates a hybrid creature concocted by Fort O'Brien School seventh and eighth graders - part moose, part pigeon, part lion.

Ryan illustrates a hybrid creature concocted by Fort O’Brien School seventh and eighth graders – part moose, part pigeon, part lion.

We’re so happy that Ryan joined us in Washington County, and we can’t wait to read even more of his books!

Ryan signs books for seventh and eighth graders at Fort O'Brien School

Ryan signs books for seventh and eighth graders at Fort O’Brien School

 

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