EVENTS A Scottish scrawl and scribble

Sarah Broadley tells us about a creative session with fellow SCBWIs led by Jill Calder at the V&A, Dundee, in February 2019.

In Dundee, on the east coast of Scotland, a new museum has risen up to stake its claim on the coastline. Situated alongside the Royal Research Ship (RRS) Discovery, 1901 naval architecture meets 2019 architecture in spectacular style.

SCBWI scrawlers and scribblers at work near the RRS Discovery.

With Jill Calder, award-winning illustrator and CILIP nominee, as our guide, fellow members of the SCBWI SE Scotland network and beyond met up for a morning of scrawling and scribbling. I decided to use my never-ending enthusiasm to counteract/distract everyone from my lack of talent for sketching.

The peacock Sarah saw at the V&A.

With a fantastic session on memory, I rose to the challenge given. Selecting an item from the collection by studying it closely in one room and then going to another to re-create it from memory was astounding. Jill also suggested using our non-dominant hand to draw too. The brain is indeed an amazing organ. For those with incredible sketching skills, look away now.

What Sarah drew from memory.

Further sessions considering colour and detail from the vast array of 18th century furniture to Star Wars costumes meant we were not short of material to choose from. Turning to writing, we found ourselves meeting up in the Rennie Mackintosh Room for a brilliant word game.

A word is mentioned to start your story off, you can use it any way you want but it must be included. Every 30 seconds another word is shouted out and that must be incorporated within your writing too. From flagon to wallpaper and comic to earring - we shared our wonderful tales with each other, agreeing that this is the ideal solution to when the words don’t flow.

Whether you’re creating words, pictures or both, there is nothing quite like getting out of your comfort zone amongst friends to try something a little bit different and see where it takes you.

*All pictures: Sarah Broadley


Sarah Broadley is a member of the SE Scotland network and lives in Edinburgh. She mainly writes picture books and middle-grade stories but dips into other genres if the tea is hot enough and she's had enough sleep. Sarah is rep'd by Alice Sutherland-Hawes from the Madeleine Milburn agency. 
Find Sarah on Twitter.

Fran Price is Events Editor for Words and Pictures, the online magazine for SCBWI-BI. Contact her at

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