I'm an author, illustrator, comic-maker and occasionally a cover designer for books for children ranging from middle grade to young adult. With a decade's experience of visits to schools, libraries, colleges and festivals I very much enjoy my days of talking, running workshops, and meeting readers of all ages.
The most usual sessions I offer are:
A talk about my work, and how I came to be a writer at all having started out as purely an illustrator. Usually this is 45 minutes long plus 15 minutes Q&A, but content and length can be tailored to suit the audience of any particular session. Audience can be any size and any age from 5 up. I show accompanying illustrations via a Powerpoint file brought on a USB drive, so the means to display this (laptop, projector, screen) should be provided by the host.
Cartooning workshops. These usually task the pupils with creating their own double act of comic strip characters and then (at least starting) drawing their own comic story. Given the mystery theme of your week we could make the double acts specifically detectives and/or criminals in this case. Again, usually an hour, but can be shorter. Suitable for all ages and groups of up to 30. I usually give a brief introduction using a Powerpoint if possible, though this is not absolutely essential.
Writing workshops. These are best suited to older classes. Ideally they run for an hour for a group of 24 or fewer, but shorter sessions and larger groups can also be accommodated. Most usually students are given a task relating to one of my own books, e.g. writing a ghost story, or coming up with a pair of characters and imagining them trapped together in an enclosed space.
Improvised storytelling sessions, in which I improvise and illustrate (rapidly and sometimes embarrassingly badly) a story based on suggestions from the audience. This is a good fun option for younger classes but can be a bit raucous. Works best if there’s a visualiser I can use, so I can draw small and the image is projected on a screen big enough for all to see, but a flip chart is a workable alternative.
Dave Shelton is the author and illustrator of A Boy and a Bear in a Boat (winner of the 2013 Branford Boase Award), Thirteen Chairs, and Emily Lime, Librarian Detective: The Book Case. He also created the canine comedy noir comic strip Good Dog, Bad Dog, as seen in The DFC, The Guardian and The Phoenix, and collected in book form in two volumes from David Fickling Books: The Golden Bone and Double Identity.