Corralling Moments of Creativity by Herding Monsters

March 17, 2023
Monster Party 2023

Monsters were on the loose at Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus in early-March, capturing the imagination of both elementary school and college students.

A multitude of fantasy worlds came together for an on-campus Monster Party that was the culmination of a visual storytelling project between a class of Grade 3/4 kids from Hume Elementary and first-year students in Selkirk College’s Digital Arts Program. The collaboration is based on similar projects across the world that pairs the creative minds of children with the more refined techniques of professional artists. The result is eye-popping outcomes that help spark future artistic exploration for the little ones.

“I was really excited to be part of this project,” said Brianna Stewart-Holland, a first-year student in the Digital Arts Program. “I remember watching videos of professional artists re-drawing kids’ art when I was a kid. I would have been thrilled to have this chance, so getting to be the artist for the kids was very rewarding.”

The project started with students in Kim Hammerich’s Grade 3/4 class at Nelson’s Hume Elementary coming up with “wanted” posters for a monster of their own creation. The children were not only asked to draw their monster, but dream-up a backstory about why this creature was on the loose with information like footprints, personality traits, its activities, when it was last seen and anything else the imagination might afford.

The groundwork of the stories were delivered up the hill to Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus where Digital Arts Program instructor Kerry Pagdin tasked her students with enhancing the narrative through skills being taught in the first year of the two-year program. The college students pencil-sketched versions of the monsters, workshopped their ideas with peers and then brought their own digital artistry to the story.

Inspiring Mentors Open Doors to Future Options

When the two classes came together on the Tenth Street Campus on a snowy Monday morning in Nelson, a din of excitement filled the room as the children saw their re-drawn monsters for the first time on beautiful colour posters and accompanying stickers.

“They are amazing!” said Grade 3 student Gemma Pauly. “I felt really good about it.”

Monster Party 2
Hume Elementary alumna and current first-year Digital Arts Program student Brianna Stewart-Holland (middle) with the two Grade 3/4 students who she collaborated with on the monster project.

Sitting at table eating pieces of a celebration cake with buddies Louisa Maley, Ishana Madgula and Sutton Elliott after the chatting with their new college buddies, the four girls proudly discussed their monsters.

“My monster steals money from kids’ piggy banks and in the moonlight its wings grow,” said Elliott. “They did a really great job. It was cool how the tail was in the water and it came out again!”

As the children joyously devoured their cake and swapped notes on the finished posters, the college students stood back with similar pride in the project’s outcome. Stewart-Holland attended Hume Elementary when she was a kid and after graduating from Nelson’s L.V. Rogers Secondary with the Class of 2022, chose to start her post-secondary journey close to home. With the final weeks of her first year ticking down, the 18-year-old is delighted to be diving deeper into graphic design, animation and digital drawing. 

“I was a bit nervous coming to the party because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but the kids were very enthusiastic and loved it,” said Stewart-Holland, who plans on taking her education into an in-demand career after graduating next spring. “I don’t want to assume anything, but I know that if I was a kid and somebody re-drew one of my monsters in this way, I would have been thoroughly inspired.”

Though a few years away from any post-secondary decisions themselves, the imaginative little artists in the room were energized by working with college students and getting the chance to meet their new big buddies at the Monster Party.   
“You get to do really cool stuff at college like this monster project,” said Madgula. “It feels like college is going to be really fun!”

Learn more about the Digital Arts Program.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.