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Day 3a: Wednesday (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.

Amazing illustrator Sylvia Morris reveals why she uses a variety of muted (greens, blues and browns) and vibrant colours in her illustrations to create atmospheric artwork, and how she magically adapts illustrations for each genre.

Vox Pop Video Part One: Reading and Thinking

Vox Pop Video Part Two: Control Panel

Top 3 Tips

Download to print Sylvia's Top 3 Tips!

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

Student Activities

Activity 1. Introduce Sylvia Morris to students by watching her Vox Pop Videos (part one and part two).

Activity 2.  Display a collection of Sylvia’s illustrations by typing her name into the search bar on the Explore page of the website. Discuss her use of muted colours (browns, greens, greys and blues) and suggest reasons why she may have chosen this colour palette for certain texts—encourage students to refer back to part two of Sylvia’s video.

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

  • Somewhere in a Tree (CD 6 2020)
  • Hair and There (CD 6 2020)
  • Our Brush Turkey (CD 4 2020)
  • Finding Out (BO 3 2020)

Stage 3

  • Racing for Athena (OR 5 2020)
  • The Spaceman (OR 1 2020)
  • Novel Advice (TD 7 2020)
  • Nandi (TD 1 2020)
  • A Scent of Cinnamon (OR 10 2019)
  • Banished to the End of the Earth (TD 8 2019)
  • The Cat and the Boy Who Lit Up the World (OR 5 2019)

Activity 3. Display the image ‘Defeated at Last’ onto the whiteboard and ask students to discuss what is happening in the illustration. Why is the vacuum portrayed in such a menacing way? Who does the victory belong to (the cat)? Focus on the fact that the illustration is in black and white, adding to the sense of doom and destruction. Brainstorm a list of other household items that might be seen as frightening to an animal, or to an inanimate object eg washing machine, dishwasher, toaster, blender, barbeque, lawn mower.

Please note: you can click the image and the link will take you to an extra-large photo on Sylvia's website.

Activity 4. Discuss Sylvia’s Top 3 Tips with your class. Ask students to choose one of the household items from the brainstorming session and think about who (or what) this item may go into battle with. Using Sylvia’s illustration ‘Defeated at Last’, ask student to create a black and white pencil drawing of their chosen household item mid-battle, or at the end of the battle (as Sylvia has done). Remind students that their item is meant to be threatening, sinister and intimidating.

  • Provide students with a piece of blank paper and a black/lead pencil.
  • Encourage students to experiment with light, dark and shade to give a dramatic effect.
  • Challenge students to come up with a title for their illustration.


More information

Sylvia Morris is an illustrator and has a background in mathematics, and is a big fan of detective stories, history, sci-fi, fantasy and all those other fun adventure-y type things. She also loves to illustrate emotional characters: whether they’re humans, animals or robots.

You can find out more about Sylvia Morris and her illustrations on her 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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