“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.

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!

Show and Con Catchup

I’m way behind on show report posts! In the interest of completeness and simultaneous brevity, I’m going to upload a couple galleries of photos from Art Prowl 2012 and Omnicon 2013, and do my best to avoid my usual long-winded explanations.

Art Prowl: My dad and I were lucky enough to display at the Putnam County Library, which was pretty great, considering it’s where I spend all my weekday work days. He brought a slew of his awesome abstracts, which you can peruse in much greater detail over at his blog. I brought an assortment of my digital prints, as well as four new pieces I created in my Cryptid Americana series. These are a combination of acrylic and ink on stained pine planks. (previous post with more detail) The show was a blast, it’s always great getting to show your work to your community, and even better getting to do that alongside your dad!

This March was my fourth time displaying at Omnicon, Cookeville’s local Sci-fi/Comics convention, held at TTU. (posts from last year) I brought several new prints, as well as a collection of newspaper comics I produced a few years ago for TTU’s own “The Oracle.” But I was most proud of how I re-envisioned the Die of Destiny monster prints. This year emerging as the Tower of Tribulation, it is now a full-fledged micro RPG. I came up with four hero archetypes, each one with an accompanying character sheet complete with stats and special abilities. The player would choose an avatar, and then challenge one of the 8 available monsters (4 from last year and 4 brand new ones) to a duel, involving the Die of Destiny. As they advanced, they could win more prints, and eventually were either vanquished or victorious. It. Was. A. Blast. The wheels are already turning for ways to improve it next year!

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!

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!

FCBD and My New Book!

Hi guys! I’ve got all sorts of exciting announcements for you today.

Right off the bat, I want to pass along a bit of good press received for myself and my art in the local newspaper. It was a great article written by the talented Megan Trotter, and I really appreciate it.

Even though it is mentioned in the article, here is another reminder to schedule in some time for Free Comic Book Day tomorrow. It’s an amazing worldwide event, entirely free, and is a great way to support comics, get yourself reaquainted with current stories, find all new favorite books, and to introduce someone new to the medium. Every year there is a book I add to my list purely because of its FCBD sample, and I would never have found these gems otherwise. Do yourself a favor, find a shop near you.

And if you are in the Upper Cumberland area, why not come on out to Mountain Top Comics in Cookeville? There will be an all day event, with all the usual free comic wonderfulness, as well as several local artists (including myself!) doing free sketches for those who come by. I will also have free copies of my new mini-comic, “Frolic Not The Mount.” It’s a good’un! And since the shop is located just a few minutes from the movie theater, you can drop by on your way to see The Avengers (which was so good I have not the words to properly express myself:)

Now, my Big News is the formal announcement of my new book, “Sadbot: A Lackluster Love Story.”

Here’s the official back-cover-blurb: Ted Robo isn’t naïve about love, he’s just rather inexperienced.  A brutal breakup leaves him crestfallen, dour and discouraged from ever romancing again.  But even a sad robot can be pulled from the bitter depths of heartbreak.  With the help of his farcically benevolent buddies, a few wayward blind dates, and one tiny but true aquatic friend, Ted reluctantly embarks upon a quest for happiness.  And who knows, if he keeps his antenna up, he might even find it.

It is an 84 page large format (8.5″x11″) black and white paperback collecting a variety of the Sadbot comics I have posted online over the past five years. Included are the “Origin,” “Barbot,” and “These Three Dates” stories, previously only published at Inanimate Shorts. There is also a brand new 11 page Sadbot story, “Monstrorigin,” detailing how Ted came to meet his fishy friend. And there is an Author’s Note, by me, the Author, detailing the history of Sadbot and including, for the first time seen publicly, the original notebook doodle that gave birth to Ted. This is a professionally printed book, which I am self-publishing through Lulu.com, and I am quite excited about it!

On that note, this Saturday at the Mountain Top event, I will be pre-selling Artist Editions of A Lackluster Love Story, to be received at my upcoming book signing on May 19, also at Mountain Top (more details to follow). These Artist Editions are $25, which will include a signed copy of the book, an exclusive Sadbot mini-print, and an original ink drawing of our hero, Ted, or the cast member of your choosing. There are only 20 of these editions currently available, and they will be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis at the FCBD event (Where I will also have a proof copy of the book to show off!) If any are still available afterwards, I may try to offer them online somehow, but no guarantees!

And since this Is an art blog, here is a small excerpt from the “These Three Dates” story. As far as set-up goes, Ted Robo has just been shang-haied into an online dating service by his “dear” friends:

 

 Have a comic-tacular weekend!