“Kids Draw” at the Library

2014-07-08 10.22.30

 

One of the coolest and most unexpectedly popular programs I run at our public library is Kids Draw. Every Wednesday, from 3:30-4:30, I set up tables and chairs in the downstairs meeting room. Some paper, pencils, and crayons are laid out, along with a few cool New Books packed with fun illustrations, and I pump up some Chip Tunes music from Pandora. Kids and their folks show up, grab their gear and a seat, and doodle away.

That’s it. Instant art event.

As a librarian, this is a hit on a multitude of levels. It’s incredibly cheap, weekly cost consisting of just a few dozen sheets of computer paper and a some simple art supplies used repeatedly throughout the year. As far as planning and prep goes, there is practically none. I keep all of the gear in a basket, snag a handful of good picture books on my way over, and the whole thing takes barely ten minutes to set up, most of that just lining up chairs. And since the focus is on social drawing over artistic instruction, there is no need for a lesson plan, or for the facilitator to even consider themselves an artist.

On a sappier note, it’s wonderful to see the interactions between parents and children. While some of the older kids get dropped off, at our library anyone under 10 must be with an adult. This has resulted in several parents that might not usually think to draw spending a solid hour sketching and doodling. Kids are so much more tuned in to something when they see their parents participating, and you can just watch a bond forming over shared art. As a bonus, the children have a tendency to talk and ramble as they work, and I’ve heard many parents getting a little extra insight into their young one’s day.

Beyond all of that, the educational value, the social value, the parenting value, I must admit that the thing that keeps me so invested in the program is the outright fun of sitting and drawing with these kids each week. We have a core group of regulars who show up for every session (even linger after and help pack up!), and as we sketch away on our monsters and robots and trolls we discuss current movies, favorite books, and general thoughts on life. I get instant Art Direction on what colors look best for certain space ships, and many is the time I’ve been prompted out of my comfort zone by a request for specific cartoon characters or someone’s favorite dinosaur.

If you’re a librarian, I highly recommend trying this out as an easy addition to your regular programs. If you are a parent, perhaps ask your local library to try something like this, or just set aside an hour at home for Art Time. If you’re an artist, grab some pencils and paper and go find some wee cousins, nieces, and nephews to draw with.

It’s worth it for everyone.

Clinch River Sturgeon

Our local PBS station, WCTE, hosts the Great TV Auction ever year, with proceeds benefiting the station. Along with many of the other talented Art Prowl artists, I donated a piece that will be auctioned off on the evening of Sunday, June 9th. Anyone in the area should tune in for a great opportunity to get some cool art and support your local public television.

IMG_3188
My piece is titled “Clinch River Sturgeon,” and depicts a vibrant green lake sturgeon. Much like my Cryptid Americana series, it is acrylic paint on a stained pine plank, with india ink penwork for all of the details. Below is a step-by-step photo progress gallery.

And as an exclusive tip to my blog readers, I’ll clue you in to the fact that the fins and underbelly of this particular fish have a phosphorescent tendency, all thanks to a little experimenting with glow-in-the-dark paint:]

 

FCBD 2013

Free Comic Book Day is back! Hip! Holler! Hooray!!!

Had a blast out at Mountain Top Comics, as I always do. Got together with Bryan, Joe, Shannon, Kevin, and Orlando (I don’t have links for all of you guys, let me know and I’ll update this:) to do free sketches for everyone who came out, and it was great. Here is a big parade of my frenzied marker sketches:

Thanks so much to everyone who braved the rain in the name of comics and art, it was grand to see you!

Art Prowl Preview!

This weekend is the Art Prowl! The Prowl is a local gallery/studio crawl, spanning Friday and Saturday, in which all variety of artists display there works along the West Side district of Cookeville. This will be my second year exhibiting, and I will be showing at the Putnam County Library. As a special treat, I’m sharing a space with my Dad! If you can make it, come on out to see us!

Here’s a special Blog Readers Preview of some of the pieces I am showing. I’ve been working on a series of paintings on large wood planks, depicting American cryptids and mythological creatures. Shown below are my take on the Jack-a-Lope and Furry Trout. Jack measures in at 4 ft tall, with the Trout a modest 3 ft.

Hope you enjoy them!

Halloween ComicFest 2012

This weekend debuted a new nation-wide event, Halloween ComicFest. A continuation on the Free Comic Book Day concept, the event gives local shops an excuse to give out free comics and candy. Mike of Mountain Top Comics decided to adorn the day with full FCBD extravagance, including inviting Bryan Boles and myself to hunker over a table and give out free character sketches to the attendees.

Here are a few of my favorites (apologies for the glare spots):

Thanks to everyone who came by. I had a great time, and am looking forward to next year!

Pen Reviews Pt 2

Here is the long awaited conclusion to my Jet Pens Pen Reviews. To recap, all of these pens were generously sent to me by JetPens for the purpose of reviewing and then donating to the Putnam County Library to be used as door prizes at our summer art programs. The summer program went so well that we are actually starting up a monthly drawing club, the PCL Teen Sketch Club, the first meeting of which will be tomorrow. If you know any arty teenagers in the Cookeville, TN area, send them by!

Uni-ball Signo Gel Ink Pen

I am not normally one for ball-point pens, feeling, quite haughtily, that they are the tool of the plebian worker types, not meant for lofty and discerning artisans such as myself. (please read with a thoroughly sarcastic and snooty voice, on par with any Downton resident.) Ignoring for the moment how blatantly idiotic such an opinion is, the Uni-ball Signo does a great job of bridging the gap between Mundane and Artsy pens. It has a nice feel in the hand, with a comfortable rubber grip and a suitable amount of weight. The .38 tip on this was thoroughly fine, allowing me to drop some very delicate lines. And the ink flow was wonderful, no noticeable globbing or skipping. The ink itself is a very nice black, and while I did not test it myself, claims to be water-proof.

 

All in all, if an Ink Artist should ever have to demean himself so much as to use a Writing utensil for Drawing, he could hope for no better than the Uni-ball Signo.

 

Sakura Pigma Micron Marker Pens

Sakura Microns were some of the first art pens I ever chose for myself. I greatly enjoyed how they have such uniform width on lines, but also come in such a wide variety of sizes. They can be a great tool for an artist just learning to play with line widths.

This set was an entirely different experience, with 6 pens in a variety of colors, at the same width. I am a creature of habit, almost exclusively inking in the jettest jet black inks I can find, so it was out of the box for me to play around with drawing, and not coloring, in reds and greens and blues. The pens themselves hold up well, as they always have. I know from experience that the nice felt tips will slowly wear to a bit of a point over time, and the labeling on the barrel will most likely rub off a bit, but this just shows your touch on the pen. These are made to be disposable pens, which they certainly are, but at $2-3 for singles, that’s not such a bad thing. The inks are consistent in color, and have a really steady flow, with no noticeable bleed, and the different colors are nice and vibrant.

While these would be poorly served as a coloring tool, I think they would work splendidly for anyone wanting to play around with sketching and doodling in a variety of hues.

 

 

Free Comic Book Day Sketches

Well, FCBD was a rollicking success. We had a crowd of folks come out to Mountain Top, and the line for sketches was encouraging. I was in the company of good artists, with great comic lovers all around, and it was an entirely pleasant way to spend a day, drawing until your hand nearly stops working:]

I did my best to snap some quick phone pictures of drawings as I did them, apologies for odd glares or blurs. I did these with a quick red pencil frame, and filled them out with some sharpie-esque Tul pens and a set of delightful Crayola Super Tip markers (a lot of fun to color with!) These were all quick sketches, none longer than 15 minutes I think, and some as few as 5 minutes. Thusly, rough edges abound:]

Missile Mouse, first sketch of the day!

Captain America

Spidey

Ted Robo (first request for an original character!)

Moon Knight

Smurfette

Lego BatmanSuperman, choking Captain Marvel and slamming him into a wall. 

Newman Xeno playing chess against Cobra Commander

M.O.D.O.K.

The Shadow

Wile E. Coyote as a hopeful Blue Lantern, with Flash Roadrunner

Classic Ironman

Hal Jordan with a Tuba

Cap

Elmo and Four Duckies

Thor

MagnetoRocketeerDerpy Hooves

Daredevil

Megaman

 

These were a blast to draw, can’t wait until next year!

Photo Smorgasbord

I’ve had these bits and pieces from assorted projects  bouncing around my hard drive, thought I would post a bunch of them together. Enjoy!

A set of owl plaques drawn as a gift. Ink and watercolor on stained pine.

I promised my sister a trio of drawings for Christmas, entirely her pick. What did she go with? A list of six animals, to be combined however I saw fit into three new creatures. Slothkey, Hippoplatypus, and Sea Giraffe. She knows my strengths! Ink and watercolor on paper.Mass Effect commissions. Had a lot of fun playing with some colors. Marker on Bristol.

Kitty Ballerina for a friend. Cute x10. Ink and watercolor on paper.

Pinocchio plaque commission. Ink on stained pine.

Wicket E. Warwick commission, to accompany a Boba Fett and Vader I made earlier. Ink and colored pencil on brown paper.

A Christmas present for my gaming group, The Nerdhouse. I caricatured us all as some of our favorite characters, doing single watercolor paintings to give to each of them. Then I scanned them all in and collected them for a digital print.

Trimming the Tree

As a fervent fan of the festive spirit, I recently picked up a cool little mini-evergreen, live and all, to spruce up my home (alliteration AND puns? oh my!). And to make it extra cool, I handmade a bunch of ornaments, with the valued aid of Allison. I did goofy quick sketches on the fronts, and she did cool paint-pen abstracts on the back. I’m pretty happy with our results!

It was a ton of fun making these, not just due to the company, but also because lately  I seem to find less and less time to make funny drawings, without thought toward their longterm application. It was also a bit challenging, since I rarely let myself work entirely with ink, and no pencil or pre-sketch safety net. Some are better than others, but they were all enjoyable. All in all, a grand time.

Placing that last ornament.

Enjoy your Decembers, make them fun!

Vampires on Parade

I’ve been lucky enough these last few years to get occasional illustration work from my pal Chuck  at The Oracle. One of my favorite things about working with him is his vague parameters and willingness to print pretty much anything I send him. Case in point: my assignment for the October 28th issue was “Something to go with a How-To article on making fake blood.” Included was the recipe, which involved insane amounts of corn syrup and cocoa powder. And so, I decided to add “Soon-to-be-Diabetic Hipster” to the rolecall of notable vampires.

Done with dip pen and ink, then cleaned up and framed in Photoshop. This is the first time I’ve played with that particular hatching pattern (unabashedly influenced by this awesome Mike Holmes drawing) and I am A Fan. Here are a few process shots and close-ups:

And just to add a little extra meat to this post, here are some of my Oracle comics from the past. Enjoy!