Parents and Artists

My friend and painter Sandy McBride once said that the only people who care about kids’ art are parents and artists. So, that makes me doubly interested in the artwork we made over the last couple days. The first is an piece Max did featuring a creepy long armed character moving among various panels of color and texture (he used pencils and markers here). I am especially fond of the mysterious opening revealing the various cogs and gears of an unknown machine.

Max _gears

Next up we have Jack’s War Elephant. Jack has been working diligently on a school project about the Punic Wars. (I love these projects because I get to learn cool, new stuff from the boys). His poster focused on the armor and weapons used by the Carthaginians during the first of these epic battles. He illustrated his poster board profusely, but my favorite picture is his War Elephant. I think I want one in time for my next faculty meeting..


Finally, if you are looking for something to do with the kiddies this August, send them to Ceramics Camp at Juniata. Our potter Bethany Benson is in charge and, as you can see from the smiling faces in this ad, a good time was had by all. Both Max and Jack loved the camp. Plus, as Max is demonstrating, getting your hands dirty is fun…


The Teach-in-Two Challenge

As prelude to the Sequential SmArt conference in May, we are kicking off the Teach-in-Two Challenge. You can play, too! In two comic panels, explain something you think is cool. Take a picture of it with your computer or phone camera (or scan it if you want to get all high-techy), post it on your Facebook page and let us know so we can share it. (go to the Sequential SmArt Facebook page and Like us to spread the word!) It doesn’t need to be fancy. Stick figures in pencil will be great. Here is the pencil sketch I did to get things rolling…


Pup Ponders the Heat Death of the Universe

If you haven’t read Drew Weing’s Set to Sea, you really should treat yourself. It is a personal favorite and sits on the bookshelf by my drawing board when I need to be inspired. Weing is an innovative cartoonist and has a terrific comic that takes full advantage of the infinite canvas of the web. Go check out the beautifully rendered Pup Ponders the Heat Death of the Universe.  It’s even science themed, so it’s doubly awesome.

pup15panel1bPup Ponders the Heat Death of the Universe is (c) Drew Weing

Can I read you a story? has posted an audio file of me reading a few pages from Clan Apis (click here if you want to hear how to pronounce my name a few stories about it). It was a fun process, but on that needed a little extra preparation work. Reading a graphic novel out loud isn’t always effective since you can’t see the pictures. So, in preparation, I took a two page sequence and “novelized” it. by writing the sequence in which Nyuki meets a preying mantis as if it were a prose story. I’ve included the text below. It was fun to do, but I still prefer my stories with pictures (they’ve included one of the pages on the site).

Here’s story if you want to follow along:

“Get away from me!” shouted Nyuki. She hovered in front of the mantis ready to strike.

“Whoa be careful with that sting.” Warned the mantis, “There’s no need to get upset.”

Nyuki was so stunned she landed back on the branch. “No need to..? You’re trying to eat me!”

“Well, you only have yourself to blame for your anxiety,” explained the mantis. “If you hadn’t seen me hiding, I would have devoured you before you had time to react and you wouldn’t be so distressed.”

“Of course I wouldn’t be distressed,” said Nyuki. “I’d be dead!”

The mantis spread her forelegs as if explaining something quite obvious. “You’ve got to take the good with the bad, young lady.”

“You are crazy,” muttered Nyuki.

“No, I’m hungry,; said the Mantis. “We mantises don’t live in cushy little hives like you bees. We have to fend for ourselves. And it’s not easy, you know. We’re loners. Solitary hunters.” The mantis sniffed as if she was about to cry, “It’s an isolated existence. We rarely run into another of our kind. In fact, the last mantis I saw was my husband when we mated.”

Nyuki knew the importance of family and seeing the mantis so sad made he feel guilty for calling her crazy. “Gee, I’m sorry,” she said. “I had no idea—“

The mantis sighed and stared wistfully at the sky. “Just thinking of him makes me hungry,” she said. And then she looked at Nyuki and added in a sinister tone “He was delicious, y’know.”

Nyuki barely had time to say “Uh oh.” before the mantis’s forelegs shot out like two death dealing daggers.

“Hee-Yaah!” cried the mantis as Nyuki swiftly flew out of reach.

“Gah! You almost had me with that sob story.” said Nyuki.

The mantis as she folded her arms in disappointment. “I said too much didn’t I?”

“You ate your husband!” cried Nyuki.

This seemed to trigger a fond memory for the mantis. “MMM, yes,” she said “Crunchy, mantis goodness.”

Just Hanging-Out

Ok, actually, I’m scrambling to get a lot of things done before the semester starts. But I am ticking things off the list. Yesterday I got the reminder out for our Sequential SmArt conference, I got materials to the folks at the Wildcat Comic Con (I’m presenting in April) and today I put my SPX registration in the mail! Now it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone to work on the story and art for a cool iPad strip that is in the works (more on that later).  This illustration was just to satisfy my urge to draw bugs. I think I might use it as my Facebook cover…


You KNOW you want to come…

If you use comics or graphic novels in your teaching OR you make comics that are used in an educational setting, you really should think about presenting the amazing things you do at Sequential SmArt. Sequential SmArt is a conference all about the power of comics to engage students in a wide range of disciplines. The submission guidelines are available on the Sequential SmArt Facebook page. The deadline is technically Jan 4th, but we are flexible if you give us a heads-up. Don’t believe me? This cartoon is proof!