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Spending most of her childhood watching Saturday morning cartoons and flicking through her brothers comic collection, Serena was destined to spend her adult days hunched over a light box, scribbling illustrations for picture books and working for a mouse in trousers.
She spent six years working for Walt Disney Studios in Sydney before diving head first into the world of publishing in 2009. She’s the illustrator of the highly successful ‘Lulu Bell ‘ series with Random House Australia and is currently working on a new US series called ‘Misty Inn’ published by Simon & Schuster. She has illustrated over 30 books ranging from board books to picture books through to junior readers.
I was born in Melbourne and grew up in Brighton. Not long after my twelfth birthday we were all shipped up to Sydney to live a life of warm days and Harbour glimpses. Melbourne seemed to have retained its charm with rattling trams and street music as I returned to the inner city suburbs two years ago.
Walt Disney was pretty amazing!! I lasted a week dressing mannequins for a department store… that was a very strange experience. And then there are those office jobs I had to do all in fun industries like film, advertising, animation and design.
Young, fun, slightly quirky characters seem to make regular appearances in my work. I like to build them up then add in something embarrassing or humorous. It’s more fun when you can laugh at someone else.
A definite highlight is seeing the reaction from the children at my workshops. Seeing them so enthusiastic to tap into their creativity and enjoy what they have just created is a real buzz…. I think I enjoy it more than they do… if that is possible? Travelling overseas for work has been a great experience and being able to talk at schools in the UK and NZ has been very rewarding. I have also had the opportunity to meet with some very talented authors and illustrators along the way.
The UK, USA, Korea, Africa, Germany, Turkey and France.
Food…..and drawing of course!
Perhaps? I am guilty of skipping down a main high street with a Tin Man, a Cowardly Lion, a Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch. I was Dorothy by the way…not the Witch. We won first prize for the best dressed competition.
Learning to play the guitar is harder than learning how to draw…
Serena was absolutely brilliant. We booked her for Prep to Year 4 students. Would like her to work with the Year 5 and Year 6 students soon!
Serena Geddes came to our school during Book Week and I can highly recommend her to any other school wanting a fresh and enthusiastic speaker who engaged the audience immediately with her well prepared presentation.
All age groups from Prep to Year 6 loved hearing about Serena’s life working for Disney before becoming a book illustrator. She combined stories with IT, and teaching the girls to draw as well as drawing and painting her own characters.
The girls loved meeting Serena and she was very generous with her time, even staying back to sign copies of her books that the girls had brought in.
There was fabulous feedback from the teachers and the girls, and many parents made a point of contacting me to say how much their daughters enjoyed meeting Serena.
It was such a pleasure to meet you today, and I’m very glad I was able to attend your sessions. I just spoke to my Year 3 girls about your visit and asked them for some feedback:
What they loved:
– You are very pretty
– You are very good at explaining things
– They loved watching you draw
– They loved your drawing tips and tricks, eg using lines and shapes
– They loved having an opportunity to draw with you and have your guidance
– They thought the session was FAB x 10 to the power of 10
All of the girls loved it, they say hello and can you please put them all in the next book?
What I loved:
– You were very generous in researching and preparing for the theme of the session and this was reflected in your being able to ask stimulating recall questions for the brainstorm
– You were very flexible in being able to respond to questions and adjust your presentation for different year groups
– The demonstration and explanation of how to draw a person relating to the theme (we now have your picture of Sister Mary Rose pinned up in both libraries)
-your drawing demonstration was truly magical for everyone to see
– Providing a memento to keep, eg the pictures and the bookmarks, it was very generous and special
– You were very kind and patient when helping the girls with their own drawing
I loved your idea for Dream, Dare, Do. Your strengths are definitely in sharing your experiences and skills, and you do that in a gentle and lovely way that students can feel safe and inspired.
Recently, at Wideview Public School, we had the pleasure of being part of Serena Geddes’ workshops on illustrating.
We felt it was important to highlight the importance of illustrators/illustrations in the overall presentation of children’s literature.
With that in mind, Serena began her workshop by showing the variety of illustrations she had already completed in a diverse collection of publications. She then proceeded to demonstrate the necessary steps in preparation of a finished illustration. Serena immediately engaged the children by asking for suggestions in the creation of her work.
The children responded enthusiastically……and then we sat back and watched the magic of Serena ‘at work’.
Throughout the entire workshop she interacted with the children, explaining, demonstrating and answering general questions. Her talent in this art form is obvious. Her manner with her audience was warm, patient and showed understanding of the appropriate level of engagement necessary for each relevant age group.
The children were thrilled with the finished illustrations and kept asking to see them, and kept asking when are they going to be on display in the library. The queue lining up to get her autograph at the end was lengthy to say the least.
Serena is definitely an illustrator/presenter worth engaging to visit your school and watch weave her creative talent for your children.
Stage 1 students thoroughly enjoyed meeting Serena Geddes.
Serena provided some background info about herself and the author of the ‘Lulu Bell’ books. The children were interested to hear that the characters are actually based on real people, and that Serena has travelled to many different countries for work.
Serena explained, in easy steps, how she illustrates the ‘Lulu Bell’ books. The kids loved watching a time lapse video of her drawing. This was a great way to engage the students.
I think the highlight (well, for me anyway), was when Serena used the students ideas to create a book character. As Serena drew and painted, we jointly constructed a narrative about the new character. This tied in nicely with our unit about narratives.
Thank you Serena! Many students have been inspired to read the ‘Lulu Bell’ books since your visit. We hope you can visit us again one day.
During our Book Week celebrations this year we were delighted to have Serena Geddes spend time with our students from Kindergarten to Year 6. With the younger students (Kindy – Yr 2) she spoke with enthusiasm about the way her illustrations make it into books and entertained the students with her drawings making sure there was collaboration from the students as to what she drew. One of our students was chosen to help her as she read Samuel’s Kisses and he will certainly remember this for years to come.
Our older students (Yr3-6) were given a great insight into her work with Disney and they were absolutely fascinated as this is very topical for the students in this age group.
Serena was very generous with her time and her knowledge and was happy to answer all the questions which the students had for her and there were many, many questions. The students would have happily stayed watching her draw for hours and were rather disappointed when the hour with her was finished. The students went back to class sharing with their teacher that “…..this was the best time ever….”. We at Arden were thrilled with the drawing she did for us; it is currently awaiting framing and then it will be hung proudly in our library.
Our Prep students loved Serena. She read one of her books and conducted a drawing workshop. The students really enjoyed learning new techniques about how to draw characters with expression. Every one of them walked away afterwards with a smile on their face and some wonderful drawings. Serena has a lovely bubbly personality and was thoroughly entertaining and engaging.