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Thalia Book Club Camp offers up-close interaction with renowned children's book authors and illustrators, book discussions, and book-related field trips around the city. This blog follows the camp's activities.

Thalia Book Club Camp Week 1 Day 3

Published on July 12, 2017

Looks like the Greek gods blessed us with a great third day! George O’Connor, author of “Artemis, Wild Goddess of the Hunt,” spent the morning and afternoon with us – geeking out about Greek mythology, showing us secret sketches, and teaching us how to illustrate like him!

Before George came , we went to the theater to play more rounds of Murderer Handshake and Ghost. We also spent some time inventing our own Greek gods!

Then George arrived and took us through his favorite myths. Whether it was Zeus’ poor husbandry, or Hercules’ 12 tasks, George retold the tales of Olympians with flare and excitement. He explained his decision to portray each god the way he does – for instance, George said that “Zeus wears his hair white” but made sure “he’s still got the sick abs.” George also took our questions and let us into his process. Before beginning any graphic novel, George dives into research, reading “every story of the God in question.” Then, George said: “I get to choose the ones I like best.” He also told us that the text and illustrations don’t come separately. “I can’t just write them then draw them, and I can’t just draw them then write them,” George said, “I do it step by step.”

In the Q and A, George also revealed that the Golden Compass series is his favorite. He talked about getting to review Phillip Pullman’s most recent book in The New York Times.

Then we got our books signed and picture with George. Some of us held up two sketches he made for us – one of George characterizing his middle school self, and the other of George’s longtime obsession and follower, Poseidon!

Later on, and after lunch in the park with a game of Capture the Flag, we spent more time with George, as he gave us a private lesson in life drawing! Our camp counselor Emma served as a model (holding props like swords and leaves and grapes) while we learned how to sketch quickly, go with our instincts, and embrace mistakes. “You have to let yourself make mistakes,” George said. And so, only having about two minutes to make each sketch, we learned how to capture the action and energy of characters. We also made quite a lot of sketches – so now we can have our own sketch library at home, and continue to draw the world around us!

“Sometimes the best bits of inspiration come when you’re actually working on something else,” George said, explaining how his favorite ideas often come when he sketches freely. This sketching might even inspire us to write stories about the gods we created before George came or the gods (and sandwiches) we invented with him after.

Lastly, after completing our new portfolios, we relaxed with some free time in the theater and board games/reading/writing in our room. We played “Apples to Apples” and “Set” and got ready for an exciting day tomorrow – when we go to the Rubin Museum with C. Alexander London to dig deeper into his hilarious book, “We Are Not Eaten by Yaks.” Try and wear your Book Club shirt tomorrow (illustrated by our new friend George)!



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