It’s July and this is the month of birthdays, mine and my son who is reaching 40. It’s a time of reflection, new opportunities and courage. Some people think of the cold wintry days inside sipping warm hot chocolates, others celebrate Christmas in July while others have to cancel special occasions due to Covid. July is over half way through the year and marks school holidays in most States of Australia.
For me dear readers, I am experimenting with the ancient past of the Vikings, their daring adventures, raids and culture. I have been working on a book of poems for kids, called I’m a Viking Kid – Poems for the brave and fierce. It’s basically a gift for my son’s birthday and a creative venture that has seen us do some illustrations side by side.
I would like to share some of the artistic processes with you.
From wild warriors, sacrifices and sagas, to cruel competitors and family insults, the Vikings lived over 1,000 years ago in the lands we now call Scandinavia. From around 800 CE, they were a feared and famous people.
The Vikings had their own alphabet of 16 letters called runes. They sailed in longboats. And I have enjoyed making collages to capture this in the poetry book.
The process of collage involves cutting and pasting papers onto a surface. It includes many different textures, but for this book, I kept with papers and hand painted pieces.
Find a drawing or cut out templates of shapes, assemble them on a blank page, then glue them into position. Voila! You have a cute viking boy.
The creative part involves the choice of colours and how you blend and match them together.
American artist Ezra Jack Keats and Australian Jeannie Baker are experts in the field of collage making.
I like to browse books, gather ideas and trace some things like helmets and boats. I have a plastic container full of coloured papers, old music sheets, cards, stationery, stamps and photos. I rummage through these looking for the right piece.
Inspiration comes from greetings cards, the internet and library books from the children’s section.
My son drew in pen and ink a Viking house, dragon, weapons, man, girl and dog. My grandchildren also took time to get involved around the big pine table upstairs in the Loft. From 7-10 years of ages, they copied ideas and drew freehand. Their illustrations are loose and relaxed, not hard work, but play. We had a lot of fun doing this together.
I’m a Viking Kid will retail at $24.99. It is ideal for family discussion, children from 6+.
Life was very tough indeed for the Vikings. I am reminded about our history today, what we face, how we overcome adversity and go on to grow and learn. Being kidnapped, held captive still exists today. Let’s not fear the future, but like the explorers many centuries ago, embrace our tales, poems and stories to share with the next generation.