Monthly Archives: April 2015

April 10 & 11, 2015 – Cartooning @ Moonah Arts Centre (Tas)

hotrod 2

Just had a great couple of cartooning workshops at the brand-spanking new Moonah Arts Centre, which opened recently.  The new MAC building is quite a departure from the old space – lots of post-modern concrete & steel, with that MONA sheen that’s become a popular aesthetic around town.  The new design offers much more space all round, with designated areas for workshops, exhibitions, performances etc, allowing more flexibility in what the Centre can offer in their program, which has hit the ground running – check it out here or go have a look!

I used the main workshop room on Fri & Sat, and it was a great space to work in –  lots of natural light (glass doors opening into the courtyard) AND a full wall of whiteboard!


I worked with two cozy-sized groups, with four kids doing both days – great to see some familiar faces from previous classes and always wonderful to meet new drawing enthusiasts.

PrintBoth days were 5 hr sessions, and I was very impressed with the stamina of the kids all round, especially a couple of the younger ones.  I mixed it up a bit, played some drawing games with the Doodle Cards & Face Cards, and took some suggestions from the group, of things they wanted to draw.  I used these ideas to zoom in on some specific line techniques, using the thINK Process to deconstruct the drawing.

The first of these was a kind of Undead Astronaut, where we focused on curved lines, cylindrical effects and overlapping curves:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After this, Daniel requested a Jetpack.  Now, recently I’ve been revisiting a couple of childhood heroes, Wallace Wood & Basil Wolverton, who were both pioneers & masters of science fiction comic art from the 40s & 50s, so naturally I envisioned a very old school rocket pack.  Daniel soon corrected me, and a quick Google later we were looking at pics of real-life water-powered jetpacks, which look like heaps of fun.  This was a great opportunity to talk about getting “feel” into a line – in this case, what kind of lines capture something fluid like water…..including water that’s pushing someone into the air!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This focus on the “feel” or energy of a line flowed nicely into the next drawing we drew together.  Isabel had requested a Phoenix, which I used to explore using fluid lines to draw flames.

This is almost always a challenging shape for kids to capture, because its success really depends on making your line flow smoothly, and relaxing into a kind of swooshing rhythm as you draw.  I break the flame shapes down into the main elements – an S curve, a curved V – and encourage the students to just freeform with it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was a great exercise for the kids, flowed perfectly into our next drawing.  Rupert had requested a car (not a specialty of mine!), but when I quizzed him about what style it turned out he was after something old-fashioned.  Another quick Google search later, we found some great old cars from the 40s, including some hotted up – another opportunity to practise our flame-drawing technique!

I think these are my favourites of all the drawings, because every car has such distinct personality, and the sense of movement in some of them is fantastic:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We finished Friday’s session with some flipbooks & a bit of kamikaze cartooning on the whiteboard, where the kids challenged me to draw as many of their ideas as I could in the last 10 minutes – chaos!

Saturday’s session we started with the Doodle Cards, using them as idea triggers for their own creativity.  There were a couple of younger kids in the group, and sometimes this game helps them to relax their anxieties & expectations.  It also gives the kids a message that their own creativity is valued in the workshop:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the Doodle Cards, we eased into some guided drawing with a request for a Secret Agent Chicken – he looked like this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the youngest students, Elliot, was particularly apprehensive in the morning, being the young end of 8, and his mother explained that he also has difficulty with visual processing eg connecting and making sense of lines & shapes.  It was just as well his mum informed me of this because it enabled me to steer the workshop with him in mind, and I checked in regularly with him to make sure he was coping.

Fortunately he also had his older brother & sisters buoying him along, but the transformation in his confidence by the end of the day was pretty amazing.  Here is an example of his first drawing in the morning & the last drawing of the afternoon.  The second drawing (which he copied as I drew on the whiteboard) was very complex, with many details & very specific techniques, and yet what Elliot accomplished is really impressive:

doodles 12

rhinocericorn 5

This Rhinocericorn was an amalgamation of the other kids’ ideas: unicorn, evil pizza (with salami), marshmallow man, evil space cube, vampire first aid kit…the usual!  Here are some other versions:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were all pretty brain-fried after that one, so we finished off the day again with some flipbooks to wind down.  Thanks to all the kids who came to create, and to Sean, Caroline & Eleanor at MAC for all your support!

harry tentacles


TERM 2 2015 A4


@ MOONAH ARTS CENTRE, 27 Albert St, Moonah

It’s back!  I’m very pleased to be able to offer another after-school Creative Cartooning Course in Term 2, this time at the fantastic new Moonah Arts Centre!  Last year’s Courses were very well-received, with the students really extending their skills & developing their own ideas into some amazing artwork.  All the students had their drawings published in issues 1 & 2 of the THUNK mini-comic, and you can see some of the excellent results here & here.


TERM 2 begins APR 22
WEDNESDAYS | 4 – 6pm | Ages 9 – 14 | $200

This course is for keen drawers who want to:
– develop greater confidence & line control
– explore some new ways of thinking about drawing
– learn professional techniques for developing their own ideas & creating original cartoon art


Students will use cartooning to look at the foundations of drawing such as form, texture, energy, patterns, contrast, design, layers & use of space.  The thINK Drawing Process that I have developed also reinforces sequential thinking and helps the students to develop their creative thinking.

These techniques apply to all styles of drawing.

Bradfield’s School of Cartoon Artistry classes provide an inspiring, thought-provoking & relaxing creative learning experience.  Students are encouraged to think about their process as they draw, to learn from each other & extend beyond their usual drawing habits.  Observation, line control & technique, focusing & making new connections are just some of the skills developed.

Limited to 12 spaces only!

Bookings: | 0413 575 113

Bradfield is a professional arts educator & illustrator, and has been inspiring children of all ages for over 25 years.




Some Reasons Why My Holiday Workshops Are Only 9+

boy pic

Every holidays I get mothers asking why I don’t run Holiday Workshops for under 9s.  Most mums are understanding when I explain, but there is always a percentage who insist their 7 or 8 year old should be an exception, and some who just outright lie about their child’s age in order to book them in.  As a teacher, I have a responsibility to the well-being of my students, and my decision to set age parameters is based on many years of professional experience & observation.

1.  School Workshop vs Holiday Workshop

First up, bear in mind my main focus is actually running Creative Cartooning Programs in schools, during school terms, where I can teach appropriately according to each Grade level.  I’ve been running these programs in Primary & Secondary schools for over 25 years, teaching thousands of kids from every social & age demographic.  I prefer working in schools & collaborating with teachers, because the skills I teach can be extended and integrated into the students’ overall learning via the broader curriculum.

My Holiday Workshops are structured differently, and designed to accommodate as broad an age range as will be comfortable for the students within one group.  They are still intended to be educational and informative, as well as a fun creative & social experience.  They are not a Holiday Care program or a childminding service.

2.  Developmental Differences

Any Primary teacher will tell you that there is a big developmental difference between the ages of 8 and 9, even between the first half of 8 and the second half.  Big leaps occur in motor skills, conceptual understanding, ability to focus, social responsibility & sense of self.

Most 8 year old boys especially need active, varied, body-based engagement, so it’s unfair to expect them to stay still & focused on one thing for too long.  Girls at this age may focus better but can also have a deeper sense of responsibility & desire to meet expectations.  In both scenarios, too much too soon can lead to frustration or upset.

For many young children raised on regular screen time & digital dependence, there are many added developmental setbacks that effect the brain’s ability to process naturally & efficiently.  In 25 years of teaching, I have seen an incremental decline in childrens’ line control & linemaking confidence (including handwriting), observational abilities, spatial awareness & design sense, hand-eye coordination, and ability to immerse in a process.

3.  “But My Child Is A Mature 8!”

Of course there are exceptions, but emotional or intellectual maturity doesn’t automatically qualify them for these workshops.   Many mature 8 y.o. will still struggle with the technical demands of the drawing concepts, which can lead to a negative experience.  They may become extremely upset because their expectations are too high, they may become angry & frustrated and resort to disruptive behaviour or arrogance to mask the fact that they are struggling.  None of this serves the child or the rest of the group.

4.  “But My Child Draws All The Time!”

So did I.  Every single day, prolifically, from 4 years old to 18 years old.  But I had my own ways or styles of drawing, my own habits, which meant I was exceptional at doing it MY way.  Just because a young child draws all the time, doesn”t mean they will be able to draw differently, or even want to in the first place.  I resisted being “taught” to draw in new ways, because I was sensitive to expectations & didn’t want to appear to “fail”.  I certainly explored many different styles, but only when I was ready, and on my own terms.  In my teaching, I use a very specific drawing style, concentrating on clear, bold, flowing lines to get the students to focus on line control & form.  Even older, more experienced students can find it a challenge to draw outside their usual habits.

5.  Positive Learning Experience

Most of all, I want my students to have a positive creative learning experience.  As a teacher, and a devoted parent, I care about the well-being of the kids I teach.  The deepest learning happens through experiences that are fun, challenging in an engaging way, inspiring, thought-provoking and easy to access.  I want the kids to feel a sense of accomplishment in the process.

I’ve had parents lie about their child’s age because they believed their child was an exception, only to find the child in tears by the end of the workshop because they were too young to deal with their own unrealistic expectations.  This sort of negative experience for a young child can create far-reaching damage to their creative development & self-esteem.

Having worked for many years with exceptionally gifted children, and unusually creative children who are on the (autism) spectrum,  and having been that way myself all my life, I’m well aware that there are plenty of very able 8 year olds out there.  As a parent, I also know it’s next to impossible to be unbiased about your children.  At the core of my teaching is the well-being of my students, so please respect the age parameters I put on these workshops.  Be patient.  It’s better for the kids.

Alternatively, talk to your school about getting me in to run an age-specific or ability-specific program locally.




SAT APR 18 @ GEALC, 419 North Rd, Ormond


10am – 2pm | $50 | ages 9 – 14 only (why?)

Advanced techniques for drawing freaky creatures!  This month’s Cartoon Intensive is CRITTERS’N’BEASTIES, using the theme to explore simple but sophisticated line effects for creating animal textures (fur, skin, armour, feathers), shading, animal anatomy (legs, wings, tails etc) and more.

Whether your style is cute, cartoony or fantasy / realism, these techniques will really help bring your creature drawings to life!

As usual, I’ll be using drawing games & “experiments” to get the kids thinking in new ways about drawing technique, and to push them into new areas of their own creativity.  The focus is on fun skills, new perspectives, and  creative inspiration.

BOOKINGS: | 0413 575 113

These 4-hr drawing intensives are for keen drawers, using innovative drawing games from the thINK Process to experiment with creative cartooning techniques.  Each workshop is different as the content is guided by the ideas & spontaneous creativity of the students.  Students at these workshops can also contribute drawings to Issue#5 of THUNK, a  mini-comic showcasing original cartoon art by Australian kids.PLEASE NOTE:  The Cartoon Intensives are 4 hours long, including a lunchbreak.  Please ensure your child brings enough food & drink for the day.  If you think your child will have difficulty focusing for that long, please find them a more suitable activity!