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I love visiting schools, libraries, festivals and hospitals - in fact I'll visit you in pretty much any setting, in real life or online, for a one-hour workshop, day or half day or even a longer residency! Scroll down for a sample of my illustrator & author workshops and talks which can be tailored to age-groups from under 5 to 16 and older. If you're in Scotland then Scottish Book Trust can help you with the cost of a visit. Just visit their Live Literature Fund for more details. This is my Scottish Book Trust Page

 

'I don't often have boys fighting over books but they were today!'
- Teacher, St Joseph's Primary, Aberdeen

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Events Q&A

Biggest ever audience? 750 children at Hay Festival

Smallest ever audience? 1 person in an Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity bedside workshop

Favourite festival? I love going to new festivals and back to festivals I've been to before. Some festivals I've visited are Edinburgh International Book festival, Glasgow West End Festival, Bath Kids' Lit Fest, Glastonbury & Latitude festivals, Pop Up, Cardiff Children’s Lit Fest, Wee Write, Nessbookfest, and Aberdeen & Glenrothes Booked! Festivals.

Best question you have ever been asked? 'Are you over 100?'

Most famous person you have ever met? I've been lucky enough to meet lots of amazing artists such as Spike Milligan, Ralph Steadman, Gerald Scarfe and Fritz Wegner. The most famous person ever to see me at an event is First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

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About my approach

I have 20 years' experience tutoring art and illustration and believe that participation in visual art is immensely beneficial to children and young people. My work is focused on unlocking confidence, enjoying mark-making, telling stories and expressing ideas and feelings through drawing. I enjoy collaborating with teachers and other learning professionals to ensure that I understand the needs of all children in any group and can deliver inclusive experiences.

 

I am dyslexic and understand the challenge  books present for some children. I aim to bring the text off the page through fun, participative activities and I hope the testimonials on this page give you a flavour of how much teachers and pupils have enjoyed and appreciated them.

I am also passionate about the environment and am part of 'Mission Explore', a series of books, packs, workshops and experiences which encourage children to be curious and engage with the world around them in new and different ways. I have delivered dozens of young people's workshops and programmes as part of this project, working with National Geographic Kids, the Scouts, The John Muir Trust, National Parks and many others.

'The children have been really inspired to do some of the best illustrations they have ever done, it has sparked their imaginations and led to some really creative learning'

 

- Teacher, Skegness Junior Academy  

'Exceptionally engaging, even the least eager children joined in'

 

 

- Teacher, Kingswood Primary, Corby

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SCHOOLS WORKSHOPS
 

ZINE WORKSHOPS - ALL AGES

These are workshops I devised whilst working with Edinburgh's Children's Hospital Charity for both bedside and group work in hospital. Zines are handmade magazines on the subject of your choice. Everything and anything is possible in the world of your zine. We make a zine, and we become writers, illustrators, editors & publishers.
 

Here we have a zine cover from an Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity workshop I ran. I think it's out of this world.

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STRONG BRAVE TRUE  P2 - P6

STRONG BRAVE TRUE Great Scots Who Changed The World - And How You Can Too!

Strong Brave True is the story of the many great Scots who changed the world we live in - and aims to inspire young people to do the same.

Stories include Williamina Fleming, who discovered the Horsehead Nebula in Orion (but struggled to gain recognition for it as a woman), Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, Robert Burns, Elsie Inglis and many more.

This inspiring event engages children with learning across the curriculum, with a focus on equalities, environmental issues, and expressive arts. It includes draw-alongs and discussion, science experiments and silliness and is guaranteed to get everyone joining in and engaging with reading.

1 hour, 30 - 60 participants (more or less possible depending on facilities, please contact to discuss)
Use of a flip chart is appreciated and in turn I will donate the artwork created on the day to your school.


 

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THE RED DREAD  P1 - P3

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Witty, lively and gently thought-provoking, this picture book about a group of animals and the unseen monster in their midst will have readers laughing out loud. The story questions our fear of the other and the workshop offers a chance to explore what frightens us, and why we can't let fear run riot. There is also lots of fun with a monster draw-along.

1 hour, up to 30 participants
Includes free teachers' pack
Use of a flip chart is appreciated and in turn Tom will donate the artwork created on the day to your school.

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NORMAN THE NORMAN FROM NORMANDY P2 - P4

Norman is a very small Norman on a very large quest... On the back of his wild boar Truffle, he must journey to all three of his father's graves to pay his last respects. Listen to Tom tell this laugh-out-loud story guaranteed to get pupils chuckling, pull fun faces as you learn to draw expressions and use different rubbing surfaces to create illustrations with texture and depth. Finally, everyone works together to create a 'Bayeaux Tapestry' for the school to keep and display.

1 hour, up to 60 participants (or more or less dependent on facilities, please contact to discuss).
Use of a flip chart is appreciated and in turn Tom will donate the artwork created on the day to your school.

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MISSION:EXPLORE P5 - P7

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Pupils become publishers, writers and illustrators and create their own book of missions to explore the world in this amazing interactive workshop. Learn to fold paper into a book, take part in a draw-along with Tom to create the cover, fill the book with missions - and get exploring! Can you capture the smell of your school? Can you find minibeasts in the playground? Can you climb Mount Kilimanjaro - without ever leaving the house?

This workshop ties into Mission Explore: Food, a fabulous resource that encourages children to understand where their food comes from and their environmental impact as consumers of food. The workshop price includes a complimentary copy of the book (RRP £20).

1 hour, up to 30 participants.
Use of a flip chart is appreciated and in turn Tom will donate the artwork created on the day to your school.


 

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THE BOY AND THE GLOBE P4 - P7

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So who was William Shakespeare and why was he so special? Listen along as Tom brings to life the story of Toby Cuffe, an orphan boy who helps the greatest playwright in the world get over a case of writers' block. Try out a quill pen and ink, learn to draw William Shakespeare and create your own models of the Globe Theatre to keep and display.

1 hour, up to 60 participants (more possible depending on facilities, please contact to discuss)/
Use of a flip chart is appreciated and in turn Tom will donate the artwork created on the day to your school.

Tom can also work with schools to tailor longer programmes or specific workshops to your needs.

HOW TO BOOK - FUNDING AVAILABLE!

 

Price from £175 for a workshop session (1hr plus signing etc). Tom is registered with the Scottish Book Trust Live Literature Scheme from Scottish Book Trust, which covers part of the costs of an author or illustrator visit.

 

Visit here to apply for support.

​Email tom@inkymess.com to discuss available dates and requirements and/or to arrange a call to discuss.

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Top photo featuring tartan jacket © Callum Mackay @yabba61