I have visited many elementary schools, and several colleges and libraries. My program is designed to be flexible to the needs of different age groups--I have as much to say to kindergarteners as I do to sixth graders, college students and librarians! I am happy to speak to large or small groups.
If you are interested in having me to speak at your
school, conference or library, here are a few details:
Each presentation begins with a Powerpoint show that details "How a Book is Born." This includes a behind-the-scenes tour of my studio and a look at the day-to-day routine of a children's book writer and illustrator. I talk about what motivated me as a child to become an artist (and later, a writer), and how I turned my love of drawing and painting into a full time profession. I give special emphasis to where ideas come from, and try to convey the joy in creating a book: the fun of creating stories and characters that make me laugh out loud in my studio and the pride I feel when the book is finally on the shelves; but also the hard work, the re-dos and the pressure of ever-looming deadlines and (sometimes) cranky editors. By talking about my own journey as an artist, I hope to make the idea of creative professions more accessible to the students... and to build their confidence. Afterwards, I draw for and with the students... an interactive affair where I illustrate for my student “editors” and “art directors” (often using one or two of them as models) or work as art director to their illustrated stories (with a drawing lesson thrown in for those that wish it.) A question and answer session finishes things up.
I would love to spend an hour, a day or a week at your school or conference. Please contact me for more information about this program, as well as book-making workshops and programs for older students and adults.
Beverly Deakins, P.S. 60, Woodhaven, N.Y.
I would consider Karen's visits to be one of the highlights of the year for my class. [She] was well prepared with exciting lessons and news about her books and artwork. This made her work so real to the children. They were able to see a book come alive. Not only did Karen inspire their artwork, but she was able to inspire them in all areas of language arts. Karen's ability to eloquently convey her skills and experiences to my class enabled them to grow and gain a deep appreciation for literature. The rapport that she established with each and every student was truly a pleasure to observe.
Lakeview Elementary School
Karen brought her daily job as an illustrator to life! … The students actively participated and loved seeing their thoughts come to life. She provided a lot of positive reinforcement as she listened to their suggestions. Karen Lee Schmidt had a warm and enthusiastic manner with our second grade students. We would recommend her highly.
Annie Fetzer Author Illustrator Coordinator Mahopac, N.Y.
The students were mesmerized during the lecture part of Karen's presentation. Karen said that she often puts her family into some of the animals that she draws, "This chick always reminds me of my younger sister and the hen reminds me of my grandmother!" I was very impressed with the fact that Karen was not intimidated at all by the participation and enthusiasm of the students.