The group consists of about 16 kids ranging from 8-18 years of age and a wide range of experience and comfort with expression and some of the various mediums of visual arts. Last time, not knowing the kids or their abilities I tried something kinda weird – I played a range of songs (jazz, r&B, metal…) and had the kids interpret the sounds and lyrics into pictures. I laid out a bunch of different art supplies (acrylic paint, watercolor pencils, crayons, pastel, charcoal) and some different types and colors of paper and just let them use whatever they wanted. It ended up working out very well and the kids and I had a lot of fun.
This time I wanted to try something more structured so I pitched the idea to them that since it was getting on to Halloween how ’bout drawing some monsters? And not just any monsters but creatures from the writing of H.P. Lovecraft‘s Cthulhu Mythos. Now, only two of the kids (the older ones) had any knowledge of who Lovecraft was or had read some of his stories. So, I was able to introduce the kids to these creatures pretty much fresh with no previous imagining of what these monsters look like.
I put on some creepy Lovecraft inspired music and over the course of about and hour I told them synopsis versions of three of Lovecraft’s tales (The Shadow Out of Time, At the Mountains of Madness, The Call of Cthulhu) getting quickly through the set up and on to the descriptions of the monsters.
I hoped, and was glad to see, it work out that with general descriptions of the shapes of these monsters the kids could come up with some really wonderful interpretations adding their own imaginings to the descriptions and creating a fantastic body of eldritch artwork.