Organized by the Qatari Forum for Authors, the “Children’s Literature Forum” discussed the importance of drawing in children’s literature, in which painters from several Arab countries participated. It was held online via the Zoom platform and was moderated by Lina Al Aly, Director of the Children’s Program at the Forum. In the opening session, Ms. Al Aly stressed that, for children, drawing is one of the arts that entail many cognitive and professional skills and profound knowledge of the child’s psychology and needs, which is why it is necessary to maintain a balance between the figurative artistic discourse and the educational one to express the narrative and educational content
For his part, Yasser Al-Hamad, from the Kingdom of Bahrain, said: “The painter should seek advice from experts and educators and take their opinion on the suitability of the image for the target group.” He considered the painter as a second narrator of the story, through whose brush, culture, knowledge and image a world of imagination is created for the child.
Reem Al-Askari explained that it is important to provide the painter with space and a margin of freedom for creativity, in order to enable him to draw expressive images that add to the text, stressing the importance of the painter’s opinion and the need to forge communication between the writer and the painter.
In the same context, Maitha Al-Khayyat emphasized that drawing in children’s literature is different from plastic art, as the painter in children’s literature plays the role of explicator of the text to the child and that the link between text and image is similar to that of music and melody, which must be harmonious and compatible. The image does not need to reflect the text.
Lujaina Al-Aseel said: “The painter is an artist as much as a writer, who creates new worlds useful to the text and adds an imaginative touch,” stressing the importance of creativity in painting that builds the creative personality in the future.
Omar Talal Hassan talked about his experience in the field of children’s drawings, describing it as being complex because the painter is required to captivate the child. The image, he argued, can enrich the text as much as it can spoil it.
In the same spirit, Nidal Al-Bazm said: “The writer is surprised by his own text when someone else illustrates it,” noting that visuals and acoustics have dominated the written text. He called for the need to produce Arab animations that enhance local identity, customs and traditions, and encourage animation through competitions.
On the other hand, Nusseiba Al-Manes stressed the need for compatibility between the writer and the painter so that the child feels so through consistency between the word and the image. This makes the painter’s task difficult as he seeks to convey a set of values based on a text, in addition to the necessity of providing the element of surprise in the work.
Aisha Al-Muzaini said: “Storytelling and animation complement each other,” calling for the preservation and promotion of local culture and providing developed content.
Themar Halawani pointed out the importance of creating the image, whether through television, applications or theater, as the basis for anything presented to the child.