Last weekend, the first exhibition in the newly renovated Storylab gallery opened at the Seven Stories visitor centre. The Picturebook in Progress exhibition is one of the outcomes of a collaborative project between the Collections and Learning and Participation teams which has been running since July 2013.
The project has the aim of using the Seven Stories collection to inspire and empower the picturebook illustrators of the future by working closely with students from illustration courses across Britain.
Over the course of the project, students from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Edinburgh College of Art, Sunderland University, as well as sixth form students from St. Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, Newcastle have been introduced to the Seven Stories collection and allowed to explore its rich illustration holdings.
|Students from St Cuthbert's Catholic High School in the Seven Stories archive|
Each group has investigated material relating to the creative process of illustrators, seeing how plots and characters develop and how these ideas become the finished books we see on the shelves. Using correspondence between authors, illustrators and publishers from the Seven Stories Collection, the students have also seen how ideas can be shaped by the pressures of the professional world of illustration, a vital understanding to have for anyone serious about pursuing a career in children’s books.
|Illustration and Design Students from Sunderland University, investigating Seven Stories artwork collections|
The exhibition allows visitors to Seven Stories to go on the same journey as the participating students, following a picturebook from from the very first ideas, be they rough scribbles or short notes, through every stage of development until reaching the fantastic finished artwork submitted to publishers.
As well as showcasing many of the collection items that the students viewed, the exhibition also features five artworks created by students from Sunderland and St. Cuthbert’s in response to their visit to the archive.
The Picturebook in Progress exhibition is open until April 2014.
(David Wright, Learning Co-ordinator: Picturebook in Progress project)