Here's a flyer with the details about a Puppet Camp I'll be leading this July at our artists' collective shop, Artfish42, in the Walnut Beach section of Milford, CT. If you know of anyone who'd be interested in participating, please feel free to share this with them and thank you!
So, because I am getting all the projects together for this Cartooning Critters class I'm teaching on October 8th, I figured I would make a sample page of just ANIMALS (since that IS the theme of the class) to show the kids (and YOU) what cartoon characters can be inspired by just letterforms.
Above are 3 "blank" pages of letter and number forms for you to cartoon on/around/over/under. Click on images for a larger version, print out, and get cartoonin'!
One of the perks of teaching at RISD CE this summer is that the teachers get to have their own exhibition at Woods-Gerry Gallery in Providence. The opening last night was for teachers and students. The show runs until July 26th, so stop by if you're in the area!
Here's another character, made in the same way I made her and them. Don't know why a pig would have pimples if he's eating farm fresh produce, but maybe there's something else going on here that needs to be investigated?
This time, instead of using my FIRST name in cursive, I used my... wait for it... LAST name! Who even KNOWS what name I'll be tempted to use next? My MIDDLE name? The possibilities are limitless. Wait. No they aren't. I only have 3 names.
As you can see, I raised the boundary line up a bit to get some descender-action in there, AND I cut out a shape that was on the fold. I'm a maverick, what can I say, and I will NOT be bound by ANYONE's rules, particularly those of my own design!
Since the kids will be making their character using just paper, pencil, Sharpie marker and crayon, I used the same. One of the wonderful things about Sharpies is, after you lay down a field of black, you can crayon on top of it. (See below, additional "shines" on eyes.)
I'm looking forward to showing the kids how blues can make whites POP, and how to shade to make items look 3d-dimensional.
Above is how she started out life. Which brings up a good point: there can be soooo many other shapes that are formed, just by the different ways you sign your name. Try it, you'll see.
Here's a fun project I'll be doing with the younger kids for the first cartooning class, as a way of getting to know each other's names! My own elementary school teacher (Miss Stankey) did this project with us way back when. I don't know what SHE called it, but I'm calling it "CURSIVE CREATURES" because you write your name in cursive to get the whole ball rollin'!
So here's whatcha do:
1. Get a big piece of drawing paper (I used an 18x24" piece of newsprint); fold it in half lengthwise. 2. Lay your ruler down at the fold, and draw a line about an inch away from the fold, or the ruler's width away is good. 3. Write your name in cursive. If there are any "descenders", like a 'g' or a 'p', don't worry about those, just imagine that they're there and pick up the next letter where it should be. 3. Draw a light line around the border of your name, about a half an inch away. 4. With the paper still folded, cut on the borderline that you've just drawn, through both thicknesses. (See 1st photo, above.) 5. Open paper up (2nd photo). 6. Turn paper over for "clean" side (3rd photo), and figure out what this shape suggests to you, then START CARTOONING!
The shape my name in cursive suggested was a totem pole, so I decided to make a funny one. AND HERE'S THE FINISHED DRAWING:
We'll be covering why SILHOUETTE plays such an important role in character design in a later class, but this early exercise is a good way for kids to begin to think along this path.
This was so much fun for me to do, that I'll probably be making more. Let me know if you try this; I'd love to see your results!
Here's one more page from the letters/numbers doodlesheet series... calling them worksheets just doesn't sound accurate. Sometimes looking at a shape in one direction doesn't suggest a cartoon ANYTHING, but the moment you turn the page and see the shape from a new angle, something can pop in. So if you're having difficulty, turn the page!
And, accordingly, here's one more blank page of numbers for you to try your brain and hand at:
Here's a second page of letters that got cartooned! Another thing that happens naturally as a part of this type of exercise, is the characters or things created can start to suggest a story or a joke, so it's a good idea to jot down those ideas alongside. Like the guy who's sad cuz one handlebar of his handlebar moustache is missing -- maybe the bike he rides only has the OPPOSITE handlebar as a way to compensate? I dunno! But fun to doodle and brainstorm.
Here's another clean sheet of letters for YOU to play around with! Have fun!
I've been busy assembling the materials and assignments for the cartooning classes I'll be teaching this summer for RISD's YA continuing ed program. And, as I would NEVER ask my students to do something I haven't tried, here's one of the warm-up exercises -- using letters A-M as INSPIRATION!
I've liked doing this sort of thing since I was a kid, and here's the benefit in these exercises -- you're seeing associations and being playful and making your brain come up with a solution. Having a flexible, playful brain is CRUCIAL for any cartoonist.
Here's a clean sheet of letters for you to click on and print out to make your own brain do its job. Let me know if you do this; I'd love to see your results!