Saturday, March 19, 2011

Charles M. Schulz Museum- Cartoonist in Residence

After quite a long pause in posts; I have returned to share my exciting time at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA. Last Saturday, I had the honor & pleasure of being the Cartoonist in Residence at this "Mecca" for most cartoonists. I presented my "Cartooning & Comics" program and drawing demonstration in the main theater, followed by a "Hamster Sam" book signing and "Meet the Cartoonist" reception in the Gallery atrium. I did sketches, signed & sold books and talked with a really enthusiastic bunch of cartooning fans; both young and old. When I say "old", I simply mean "big kids" like myself. If you are a fan of Peanuts, or comic strips in general- then you need to visit this wonderland of comics history; as it is much more than merely a gallery to show off Mr. Schulz's work- which is in itself astonishing to say the least. The complex comprises 3 different buildings: The 2-story colorfully themed gift shop was the original museum, and still displays classic Peanuts history upstairs. Snoopy, as a WWI flying ace, soars over the gift shop from above in his giant Sopwith Camel! Next door is Snoopy's Home Ice; a skating rink that includes the Warm Puppy Cafe. My family and I ate lunch (the kids meal comes in a dog dish!) and watched a hockey game through the glass. Mr. Schulz was a Minnesota native and loved to play hockey. A table near the stone fireplace was where Mr. Schulz himself ate his breakfast and lunches. And finally, the new museum; finished in 2002, houses galleries of original Peanuts strips and features his drawing studio, re-created with drawing table, thumb-tacked family photos on a dark paneled wall, memorabilia given to Mr. Schulz over the years and a portion of his own personal library. So much to see. As a teaching artist, the one thing that I internally applauded was the education room. Here, visitors are encouraged to draw Charlie Brown and his gang, and to develop their own cartooning skills. Cartoon art classes and summer programs are offered by local artists. It is clear that the educational goal is to encourage, teach and celebrate the art of cartooning while paying tribute to the great American artist who made all of this possible. For those who are casual fans of cartooning and Peanuts- you will thoroughly enjoy your visit. For someone who draws cartoons as a hobby or for a living, you will be in awe. For me it was all of this and more; it was unforgettable and inspiring.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hamster Sam joins Professor Garfield!

Garfield the cat isn't one to show too much excitement, unless it concerns lasagna, but I can assure you that Hamster Sam is thrilled. I am pleased to announce that I am now a featured artist at! The Professor Garfield Foundation Learning Portal is a partnership between Paws, Inc., the world headquarters of Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University, one of the preeminent educators of classroom teachers in the world. Professor Garfield offers fun, engaging and transforming educational content for school children between kindergarten and 8th grade.
You may view 3 of my recently produced instructional cartooning videos for free on the "Art Bot" section of the site, which of course includes videos of Jim Davis showing you how to draw Garfield. My video segments were pulled from the recently produced Comics Workshop Cartooning Kit DVD. In addition, the same 3 videos are also available on the Virginia Department of Education's itunes U site.
The Professor Garfield site is an enormous site filled with engaging activities and information that kids will love, and teachers can use. The Comics Lab and Comics Lab Extreme sections offer kids the chance to create their own digital comics using characters, backgrounds and sound effects provided by the site menu. They basically "drag and drop" these elements onto a comic layout page that they get to select, and then they write their own comic story using word amazing tool that is a bunch of fun! I always try to demonstrate this site when I visit classrooms and hold workshops. I hope you''ll visit the site and give it a try too...and let me know if you happen to view one of my recently added videos! Cheers!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sketching at Library event

In case you missed it; the kids Mini-Con at Union-West Regional Library in Indian Trail, NC was a huge success! Hundreds of kids and parents came to meet and talk with artists, celebrate comics and graphic novels, win free stuff and collect sketches. I was kept busy drawing Hamster Sam and Vincent van Doodle for young fans of comic art. Organizer John Tompkins did an outstanding job putting this event together; which continued the next day at the Monroe library. With so many patrons, it was not easy to get a minute to talk with the other artists; some of which I have never met before. We were all busy drawing for long lines of excited kids. If you are a librarian, you need to touch base with John and find out how he pulled this event off, because it was well produced, well promoted and obviously well attended! Congrats for bringing all those families into the public library, John! (Image courtesy of John Tompkins)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Calling all East Charlotte/Indian Trail and Monroe-area kid cartoonists and comics lovers! This coming Friday and Saturday, bring your parents along to the 2nd annual Mini-Con for a summer blast of comics, artists and more!
Friday, June 25- Union West Regional Library in Indian Trail, NC
Saturday, June 26- Monroe Library in downtown Monroe, NC
Free fun with a family-friendly environment!

Here’s the website with more info:
Yours truly will be at the Union West location next Friday; from 1-6pm. I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 26, 2010

DVD- Comics Workshop Kits for Kids!

It's been a while since my last post; but it's been a busy spring with school residency programs and other fun stuff! In fact, the image you see was taken from the DVD I recently produced, and it is part of a "Cartooning & Comics Workshop Kit" that I am very excited about featuring at some of my upcoming camps and convention appearances. The kit, which is perfect for kids 8 and up, will include the DVD lessons with over 40 minutes of instruction; an accompanying workbook, a pad of drawing paper, pencil, eraser and a dual-tipped ink marker! The Workshop Kit is designed to show young artists how to create their own characters using simple shapes, how to use "penciling" and "inking" techniques, how to get ideas for their comic stories and how to create their own comics! The price of the kits has not yet been determined. I created these as a result of the interest from kids and parents at my on-site workshops; and so this is a way for young cartoonists to have my "comics workshop in a box" to learn at home! The kits will be available initially at all of my summer camp appearances- the Union-West Mini-Con in Monroe, NC; also at the Baxter YMCA summer week-long camps in Fort Mill, SC; the Gaston County Museum of Art & History Mini-Camp and at HeroesCon Comic convention in Charlotte, NC. I'll post more info about the kits here or on my website as it becomes available; Stay TOONED!

Friday, January 29, 2010

School Library Journal Review

Hamster Sam has received his first major review on School Library Journal's "Good Comics for Kids". Overall, I am very pleased with reviewer Katherine Dacey's assessment, especially given the new direction I am taking Hamster Sam in for his next book. Here is the link to the review, and after you've read it; I always appreciate getting feedback, so feel free to comment!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Comic Cover!

Have a look at the finished cover of the Louise & Clark educational comic book, which is going to be sold as part of an end-of-year test preparation kit for elementary students. If you are a teacher, send me a message and I'll give you the scoop on how you can order these from the publisher. I'm real happy with how the book turned out; I am still proofing and doing minor edits, but we'll be going to the printer in a couple weeks.