HANSON — Practice doesn’t always make perfect but practice makes better.
Guest Author Illustrator Brian Lies of Duxbury reminded students of this small but powerful lesson, which made a big impact on the students at Maquan Elementary School on Friday — a visit sponsored by a grant through the Hanson Cultural Council.
He is currently working on his 30th book and has a series of stories featuring bats, which has made the New York Times Best Sellers list.
He read to the students but not before a short animated talk about how he became an author/illustrator.
He shared relatable life lessons with the students and even did a side-by-side comparison of a drawing his mother had saved when he was in second grade. The short, colored illustration had a few words and four photos. Students’ eyes brightened as they mumbled about his poor drawing skills.
Lies used the pictures to demonstrate how he was not perfect as his work and took years of development, classes, schooling and practice. He also shared how he, too, had received notes on his English papers asking him to add more detail.
He spoke with enthusiasm and encouragements letting the students know that you can acquire a certain skill, then become better by working at it.
Lies was born in Princeton, N.J., and graduated from Brown University in 1985 with a degree in British and American Literature. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for two and a half years, and then created Op/Ed page illustrations for numerous publications, including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Christian Science Monitor.
He showed the students dozens of drawing pads in which many of his top sellers were sketched.
Lies explained writing, rewriting and editing his drawings was part of his process to get the exact message, and art work to completion before the publication of a book.
In developing his character of the little bat who wears floaties Lies was inspired as a father and recalled as an adult how young people can feel left out in different circumstances.
He illustrated his first children’s book for Houghton Mifflin Company in 1989, and has since illustrated more than two dozen others, such as his New York Times bestselling bat series (“Bats at the Beach,” “Bats at Library,” “Bats at the Ballgame” and “Bats in the Band”).
Lies work has garnered numerous awards, and can be found in galleries around the country, according to his website.
After question-and-answer times, students helped Lies brainstorm what bat should be doing in a drawing he then autographed and donated to the Maquan Library .
He explained his drawing techniques using an example of shading with peeled crayons and soon the white sheet of paper was dancing with a little bat that may have had a job as a dog walker.