UAEBBY organises hands-on workshop on crafting silent books

June 09, 2022 / 3:42 PM
Sharjah24: Continuing its longstanding efforts to bring the genre of silent books in children’s literature into the cultural mainstream in the UAE, the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) recently hosted a lively, interactive workshop aimed at unravelling the process of designing a wordless picture book.
Presented by illustrator Francesca Dell’Orto, the three-day workshop was organised at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi as part of UAEBBY’s initiative ‘Books – Made in the UAE’, which supports the development of the local children’s book industry by nurturing the talents of young, aspiring Emirati authors and illustrators. 

During the workshop, Dell’Orto led a hands-on activity guiding participants through the steps of crafting an engaging and poignant visual narrative exploring the theme, ‘Hope’, in a way that stimulates the reader’s imagination and allows them to participate in the creation of the story. 

Dell’Orto explained the different ways to structure a story, as well as how to build characters, choose a setting, and create profound metaphors that express a deeper meaning. 

The workshop also explored the process of illustration, including how to make aesthetic choices that most effectively convey the theme, communicate feelings and action through images, determine a style that suits the story, and guide the reader through the story using colours, rhythm, perspective, and reading sequence.    

Under Dell’Orto’s guidance, participants completed one illustration to begin deciding on the most appropriate aesthetic for their story ideas. 

By the end of the workshop, the attendees had finalised a skeletal draft of a silent book with a defined structure and elements to work on independently and transform these into a finished product. 
Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of UAEBBY, said: “Silent books are a compelling way of telling stories and conveying emotions for young readers, and can effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers. The workshop opened a new world of creativity and encouraged participants to use their imagination in unique ways and to develop new ways of interpreting the plot, characters, and visual techniques.”  

The reader becomes a co-author
Commenting on the importance of the silent book genre, Dell’Orto said: “Silent books create strong connections between people, stories, and cultures. They mirror not only the artist’s imagination but also the reader’s experience. Every reader thus becomes a co-author and each one finds different stories in the same silent book.”

She added: “In the absence of words, every reader must search for experiences that reflect our shared humanity, such as love, fear, family or hope.”
June 09, 2022 / 3:42 PM

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