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How to Train Your Dragon

Cressida Cowell

Interview with Cressida Cowell, author of How to Train Your Dragon (Hodder Children’s Books, 2003)

Transcript of clips

Drawing Characters
Cressida Cowell is the author behind the ‘Dragon’ books. She is also the illustrator. Before she starts writing, she spends a long time working on her drawings of the characters.

Watch the clip and answer the questions.

  1. How does she go about drawing her characters?
  2. How does she know how to draw the facial expressions of her characters?
  3. How is her character creation process similar to that of a DreamWorks animator?

Once Cressida has created her characters, she works on a detailed map. The map helps her to work out the direction the story will take.

Watch the clip and answer the questions.

  1. Name some of the places on Cressida’s map. What kinds of activities do you think happen there?
  2. Cressida suggests that creating a map is a good way of starting a story. Think up your own imaginary world and draw a map for it. Label the places on your map where you think the action will take place. Present your map to your fellow classmates.
  3. Cressida talks about using good describing words to make characters interesting. Draw a picture of Stoic the Vast (the Viking Chief) with a beard of ‘exploding fireworks’. Create a character for your map story and think up a good way of describing him or her that would ensure that an image of your character stayed in the mind of your reader.