And here we have another week already done at Book Cultures Zip Zap Zoom! comic making class. Yet another visit with our favorite super heroes: Crabtastic was back in action sleeping and then not sleeping. Pizzaman and Chip met Once again for a battle of the food! The Regular Life of Luigi had a lot of explosions this week, and last but not least, Dashile our youngest artist and his father created yet another great story, this week about falling off of a boat and being eaten by a crab. FANTASTIC! Or maybe… Crabtastic?

Rainbows Ahoy!

Rainbows are wonderful when you see them after a rain storm, and anyone who has seen one will remember it clearly. Where they were, what they were doing. Unless maybe you live in Seattle or somewhere where it always rains and you see them all the time.

Unfortunately, according to my most recent toddler survey, not many little people have seen or remember seeing a rainbow in real life. So this week in Triangles, Circles and Squares Oh My! my in-home class in DUMBO, we made our very own rainbows. This weeks lesson was mixed media, but as it turned out most of my 2-3 year old students don’t like to combine materials on one piece. So most of my students drew on one piece of paper then did collage on the next and then painted on the next and then glued tissue to the next, with the exception of one student. Allison was fascinated by the layering of different materials. She was happy to combine. Allison still hates getting paint on her hands but she worked very quietly and steadily through the entire class.

Here is Allison breaking into the fridge after class was over. Apparently she wanted something called “monster crunch.” I don’t think they had that when I was a kid.

Viva España!

“Hey we finally made it to Spain!” is what one little little girl in my Art Around the World class screamed when she snuck a peak into my big purple messenger bag and saw Ferdinand the Bull, by Robert Lawson. This caused other students to yell and jump up and down and act rambunctious. I realized that I had very effectively built up excitement, in this class. They were soooo pumped to learn about Spain! Spain has castles, and pigs that eat acorns, and they make beautiful pitchers out of clay. Of course then I had to spend 5 minutes calming everyone down and getting them seated before I read Ferdinand.

After our story myself and my 5th grade assistant for the day gave a demonstration. We were all going to make polka-dot pinch pots with handles just like the images I showed on my laptop. I had put together an iPhoto slide show accompanied by Spanish Flamenco music. After Ferdinand we watched it. And after the demonstration we began.

After we finished our pots we took a quick moment to draw them. Lea age 6, told me that she drew her pot how she wished it looked, and not how it really looked in real life. I really enjoyed that she was creating a design for a pot through experimentation, accepting her limits, and still finding a way to express herself. She couldn’t actually make her ideal pot so she drew it instead. I love it.

After that, we took a second look at the castle in Ferdinand and we imagined what our castle would look like if we could build our own.

I do not know why we had so many purple castles… I love how girls at this age use one another’s shapes and patterns and designs. If they see one girl’s pink flower drawn with loops then they will want to make their own pink flower with loops. Women my age still do this, we still see other women doing something wonderful and then try it out for ourselves. We just use clothes instead of purple castles.


So things are going well in Zip Zap Zoom land. We looked at my friend, and published cartoonist Lamar Abrams. We read a short story from his book: Remake, by Lamar Abrams, and the boys (because I have no female students in this class) LOVED IT!! We worked on covers and created 8 panel stories. We also had this amazing book, that was once my mothers, Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals. Mine is a first edition, unlike the one you can now buy on Amazon.com. Just saying.

T-Shirt Design

This past week in both of my in-home classes, as part of their package deal with Private Picassos, each student receives a T-shirt, meant to be used as a smock and a shirt that is A-OK to get messy. My boss had the brilliant idea that instead of giving them the standard shirts with the Private Picassos logo, we could instead decorate the T-shirts, to look how-ever we wanted.

Both Parents and children seemed equally excited about this project. And you have no idea how happy my heart was when all three of my little red headed artist screamed in delight at the idea of drawing on a T-shirt. Watching that moment of pure bliss at the idea of just doing an art project made me smile for the rest of the day.

Middle School in Sunset Park

This week I substituted for one of the classes provided by the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s after school art program called smartARTS. I traveled down to a middle school in sunset park. The first thing I did upon arrival, after collecting supplies and setting up the room was to collect my students. I went down to the schools auditorium and amongst chaos somehow found a group of students who looked at me suspiciously. I made the mistake of asking the students if we were supposed to wait for everyone or if we just all met in the classroom. I got two different answers and decided that the one that sounded less fun for them i.e. wait for everyone, was most likely the right thing to do. In my experience if you want to mess with a sub, it’s best to have your stories straight. When we arrived in the classroom I could tell that there was little to no interest to telling me what assigned seating was. Half of the students seemed to go directly to a seat while others lingered with mischievous looks on there faces, apparently sizing me up seeing if I would notice if they sat somewhere else, or if their compatriots would tattle…

“No assigned seating guys!” I announced I was not about to waste time and energy interrogating a group of middle school students, who I had just met. “I don’t know where you usually sit but since I am here today, and I don’t know your assigned seats you may sit where-ever there are art supplies, thank you.”

This got everyone to a seat almost immediately. That felt good. I felt like I was in charge, and so did they. I have found that using a super loud and overly confidant voice, and choosing to be serious about art but not so serious that I can’t make jokes, gives these older students less chances to push my buttons and more chances to connect with me or at least laugh at me on my terms. As it turned out, this was an amazing and kind group of New York city public school middle schoolers… a rare occurrence.

I followed the lesson plan that had been given to me which was a lesson that focused on telling a story through images. Awesome! I could bring in my love of the Zip Zap Zoom! class.

We began by testing out each of the 4 types of pencils 2B 2H HB and 4H. We made gradients, and labeled them. Then we looked at photos in sets of twos. These photos were from the early 1900’s according to the teacher who gave them to me. Each student took a page, and with two or three sentences they wrote about what was happening in these photos, as if they told a story, and then, if they had to complete this story, what would it be about? What would the 3rd frame be?

After that we made quick thumbnail sketches of a three panel story of our own. I did an example where a lonely man sees what he thinks is his dream girl, but when he gets close, she turns out to be an evil witch! I saw a few students follow my example and create similar stories. It was adorable because with middle school students you sometimes forget that they are still children, because they are trying so hard to act like adults.

Other students, mainly the girls, created genuine love stories about finding true love or asking the boy of your dreams if he likes you back. It was over-all a very fantastic subbing experience!

Zip, Zap and ZOOOOOM!!

This week at Book culture we started our first week of comic book production. We read started out by developing our characters and then told a quick story about there super powers using only 4 frames. I absolutely love teaching this new format and I think I wil really enjoy the next 3 weeks of this class. Here are some pages from our soon to be awesome comic books:

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