Smudgies: Michael Rosen/ Neal Layton inspired tiny Aliens!

I’m running a fabulous project with Aspex Arts Centre in Portsmouth. The project is inspired by Michael Rosen and Neal Layton’s new book ‘Monster’.  ‘Monster’ is just published and Neal has an exhibition of illustrations at Aspex and The Portsmouth Guildhall. The book is about starting school: a little being go off to a big new place. In the project, tiny aliens (‘Smudgies’) visit Arundal Court School in Portsmouth on a school trip from their school on the other side of the universe.  It’s an over-the-top metaphor for children starting a new school that the children seem to get without much trouble!

Smudgie 3

A Smudgie out and about on the streets of Portsmouth

I dreamed up the idea in response to the school’s interest in doing a project about Portsmouth. The children show their new alien friend around Portsmouth, showing them their favourite places. They create artwork about their adventures with their new friends using techniques inspired by Neal Layton’s illustrations.

Smudgie 5

Smudgies playing on the Groynes on Portsmouth Beach

All the different requirements fit together nicely: the link to Michael’s story,  Neal’s illustration, the interests of the school, and Aspex. I also, of course, made sure I included a bit of me telling my stories and singing songs.

Smudgie 6

Going up in the lift at The Spinnaker tower!

I’ve drawn the Smudgies: children do everything else, often re-drawing The Smudgies in different positions doing different things. I love these pictures the children have done.

Smudgie 1

Come on, don’t be scared!

Smudgie 4

Having a rest on a Layton-inspired sofa!

An important aspect I hadn’t thought of when planning was the very current issue of how we treat ‘aliens’. I think this reception child had the right idea:

Smudgie 7

This child said ” If my Smudgie didn’t understand English I would learn her alien language”


Explore posts in the same categories: childrens illustration, Education, Making with kids

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One Comment on “Smudgies: Michael Rosen/ Neal Layton inspired tiny Aliens!”

  1. Thanks for blogging about the project Ed. We really enjoyed our time working with you. Our next step is to take our Smudgies off to Ancient Egypt.

    Mr Schillemore and 4S

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