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Day 3b: Friday (Subscribers Only)

Illustrations are one of the keys to enhancing the flow and movement of a story, poem, play and article in The School Magazine. They give the reader visual cues as to what their eyes should follow next, and complement the mood and feeling in a text to evoke different emotions and ideas.

Award-winning illustrator Christopher Nielsen uncovers the inspiration behind his vibrant and scratchboard styled illustrations to create popping and bold settings and characters with exaggerated features such as oversized heads and eyes.

Vox Pop Video

Top 3 Tips

Download to print Chris's Top 3 Tips!

View Christopher's work in The School Magazine's 'Explore' library page.

Student Activities

Activity 1. Introduce Christopher Nielsen to students by watching his Vox Pop Video.

Activity 2. Display a collection of Chris’s illustrations by typing his name into the search bar on the Explore page of the website. Discuss the ‘scratchy’ texture, his use of vibrant/pastel colours, and his use of exaggerated features—oversized heads and large eyes. How do his illustrations make you feel?

Important note: You may like to use The School Magazine hard copies—we have listed the following below as a guide to help you locate them.

Illustration Suggestions

Stage 2

  • How Curious (Countdown, Issue 4 2020)
  • It Is What It Is (Countdown, Issue 5 2019)
  • Hop To It (Blast Off, Issue 3 2020)
  • Francesca Frog (Blast Off, Issue 1 2020)

Stage 3

  • The Surprise Party (Orbit, Issue 6 2019 )
  • Monster Crush (Orbit, Issue 4 2020)
  • Wordplaying the Piano (Touchdown, Issue 1 2020)
  • Put a Cockroach in My Muesli (Touchdown, Issue 5 2020)

Activity 3. Display the image of Chris’s ‘Capturing Paris’ poster onto the whiteboard. Identify the significance of the colour in the poster: red, white and blue. Encourage students to think about the purpose of the poster and where it may have been displayed. What landmarks or cultural symbols are shown on the poster?

Activity 4. Arrange students in pairs or small groups and ask them to think about a location that holds meaning for them eg their country of birth; their city; their home town; or somewhere they’ve visited. What is it about this location that makes it unique? Discuss the significance of colour and ask students to choose a maximum of three colours to represent their location. Students should then compile a list of landmarks or features that are significant to their chosen location. It’s now time to create their ‘Capturing’ poster.

  • Provide students with a piece of blank paper.
  • Encourage students to include the title of the poster somewhere on the page (as Chris has done).
  • Challenge students to provide a detailed, vibrant poster that showcases their chosen location.


More information

Christopher Nielsen is a Sydney-based children's book illustrator. His artwork is inspired by a passion for mid-century design. He has received gold, silver and bronze medals from Illustrators Australia and been acknowledged by The British Book Design and Publication Awards, Society Of Illustrators NY and shortlisted by the CBCA Crichton Award.

You can find out more about Christopher Nielsen and his illustrations on his website.

Student Gallery

You can view our Student Gallery displaying the work of students who participated in the festival.

Schools are encouraged to contribute to the gallery display. Teachers should submit selected work their students have created as a result of our literary festival to the email [email protected] with the subject line ‘TSMLitFest–SCHOOL NAME—Student Gallery.

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