We loved illustrator, Stacey Allan’s, project for the last Junior Art School so much that we asked her to write a blog about it. Stacey had the children in the after school club invent their own video game – how cool is that?! So, here is Stacey with what inspired her and how she made the project work.

For ten weeks, I ran the autumn term of the 2014 Junior Art School at The Lightbox.  As an illustrator with a background in video-game art, I decided to combine both practices to get the children creating artwork for their very own game. After I pitched my idea to Surrey Arts, they placed me at The Lightbox whilst the gallery was showing its exhibition ‘The Giant Electronic Art Show’.

The game we made was a very simple platform game, where a hero character jumps around, playfully bouncing onto enemies’ heads and collecting pickups, before entering a boss monster’s lair to collect a final piece of treasure.  Each child was fully in charge of his or her own game - it came straight from their imaginations! They used collage to create their heroes, textured papers to make their own worlds, and chalk and oil pastels for their treasures.  Not to mention making tissue paper monsters and drawing their own monster lair in watercolour pencils!  

I took their artwork home each week, scanned it, and put it into a game template I’d made using a free program called Construct 2.  Every fortnight, I’d bring the laptop along to show the children the progress of their artwork in-game.

I’ve set up a blog with links to all the finished games, so the children and their families can play them at home.  I was really pleased with how they turned out.  Click here if you’d like to take a look! The password to access the Games section in JAS2014.

Running Junior Art School this autumn has been a fantastic experience.  The class were enthusiastic and full of wonderful ideas.  It’s been great to work with Surrey Arts, and with the incredibly supportive staff and volunteers at The Lightbox.  We had an excellent final session, during which the parents arrived early to view the completed games on a projector.

I hope I can work on more projects like this in the future!

The Junior Art School classes are organised by Surrey County Council, run by arts professionals and held during term time at The Lightbox. The classes are for 8 - 11 year olds. To find out more about the classes, which start again on Tuesday 13 January, visit the Woking Borough Council website.

Image credits: Stills of video games created by children in Junior Art School with Stacey Allen © Stacey Allen