day 9 – talkin’ on egg shells

Develop the habit of looking twice at household waste before you throw it out. Egg shells, for example. Before they go into the bin, hand the closest child a pencil and let them draw a face on it. TOP TIP: keep a 2B or 4B pencil in the kitchen drawer – if it’s got H on it, don’t let it in the house. Often, you’ll have more than one egg, so kids can draw a clutch of egg people. With different expressions on their faces.

Take the opportunity to explore facial proportions by getting them to study your face. Heads are egg-shaped (pointier at the bottom), and while we’re all different, this is the basic rule of proportion: eyes half-way down, nose half-way between eyes and chin, and mouth half-way between nose and chin. Egg people are cartoon characters so breaking the rules is half the fun.

Expressions: arch eyebrows for surprise, slant down towards nose for anger, slant up towards centre for a question, etc. Try long, thin noses and broad, flat ones, side-on pointy and bulbous ones. You get the idea. Once you have a few egg people, kids are easily prompted to make up a story about them. Why is this one happy? What is the short one surprised about?

Ben Quilty’s YouTube video will help:

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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