A magician calls

Another old sketchbook page I scanned in. This one is from a couple of years ago. I was teaching on a residential course for teenagers. It was in an old nunnery in the middle of nowhere, so the staff organised a lot of evening activities and film showings to keep them amused. One night a magician came to do a show, and I made these notes.

School animation project

School animation project- Lost and Found from Emma Falconer on Vimeo.

For the past few months, I’ve been working with a group of students and an English teacher at a school in North London to create a small animated film. The students were set the challenge of coming up with a story that reflected something about the school and the students within it. The school is very diverse, and they created a story about a girl who comes to London as a refugee, and is miserable at school because she doesn’t know any English yet, and can’t understand anything or anybody. However, she soon starts to learn the language, and becomes far happier once she can understand and make friends. The animation deliberately has no music or sound effects other than the voice-over, because the music teachers are planning to use it as a composition project in class.

With the support of myself and the other teacher, the students were responsible for script-writing, sound recording, production duties, artwork and camera operation, and I edited it together for them. The film was made on a real shoestring (the total budget was about £30 excluding the borrowed DSLR and tripod, and the staff’s time), with most of the scenes being made of pieces of cardboard and paper. There wasn’t really anywhere that the sets and so on could be left or space to set up a dedicated workspace, so each scene was set up and filmed individually in 90 minute sessions in the music room once a week after school. The students learnt that with some ingenuity, patience and hard work, you can make something interesting with no money, and hopefully in the future they will have a go at making their own films now they’ve made one.

Tea Party


This is something I had to make in a short period of time at work recently. Invitation cards for an after school event for kids who volunteered for a specific thing earlier in the term. It was nice to have something I could actually draw. Last week I was sorting out endless posters of geometry equations. There’s not a great deal you can do with those in terms of illustration . . 

The wonder of cardboard: making animation with school children

(Update- the finished film can be seen here)

Since just before Christmas, I have been doing a weekly animation workshop with kids at a school in North London, working with one of the English teachers. The brief was to create a short film which told a story that represented the school and the experiences of the students in some way. The students range from 12-18, with the younger ones being the art assistants, and the sixth-formers being the producers. They came up with a story themselves about a refugee girl from an unnamed country who flees from a war to London, but is then unhappy at the school because she doesn’t speak English (quite a common real story at this particular school). Gradually however she starts to learn and understand, and feel happier and make friends. In the initial sessions, some of the inspiration clips I showed them included Persepolis, The Science of Sleep, and my own Erika Pal’s the House.

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Abandoned school science lab

skeleton 2

I was doing some residential teaching for the last 2 weeks. A group of year 9s from Chile came on a school trip, and I gave them lessons about English and British History/Culture and took them to various historical places like Cambridge and Canterbury. I was working in the middle of nowhere, in this old manor house in the middle of a national park. The house had been a boarding school from the 1920s to 2005, and the company I worked for was only using part of the building.  We were the last school tour to be there before it was going to be handed over to the new owners, who no-one knew much about, but didn’t seem to be using it as a school. There were lots of locked up rooms that had been used by the boarding school, but weren’t used for the language holidays, like the science lab, and they had piles of school stuff lying everywhere. The attitude was pretty much feel free to explore, just make sure the kids don’t get into anywhere that could be dangerous. The caretaker gave me the keys to the science lab, and later on, when all the kids had gone back home, and we were cleaning up, I explored the attics. Apparently all the school stuff was going to be sold off on the 10th of October in huge job lots, because the new owners wanted a clear building. I have a lot more photos, and some interesting things about the house that a local historian told us, but I’m going to start with the science lab pictures.

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