Friday, October 24, 2008

Cartoonistas at the Norwood Library

Wednesday evening, Oct. 22, the Cartoonistas made an appearance at the Norwood Library in El Monte, CA. Originally there were to be three of us, but at the last minute my fellow Co-founder Jim Lujan had to tend to a pressing matter and could not make it.

So, after initially panicking ("Ah! Jim is 1/3 of the act! What am I gonna do?!"), I composed myself and marched into the Library with the true determination of a professional Cartoonista! Grasiela Rodriguez arrived, and we both gushed at the nice poster the Library created to advertise our appearance.

The Library did a good job with promotion (heck, they refer to us as the 'famous Cartoonistas'!), because there were about 25 kids waiting, and about another 20 adults as well! Seriously, with the way things are nowadays with the economy, it was real nice to see a local library do what they could to keep the library an active community resource for the residents. I told the folks that event was evidence of their tax dollars at work and we would give them their money's worth!

I got the ball rolling with the first drawing of the evening (Grasiela had a pre-emptive strike by asking the kids if they wanted to see 'Javier draw'!). For the first time in public, I drew a little character I've had in my sketchbooks for over a year: Miss Maude! Yeah, I drew a pink octopus, so what! A versatile artist is an artist with lots of appeal....

Grasiela got into her groove pretty quick, starting off with a bunny rabbit.

When it was my turn to draw again, guess what happened? One of the little girls asked if I could draw El Muerto!! I swear, she asked! I was not going to draw him that night, honest. Sure, I was introduced as a comic creator and they showed everyone my comic book, but I was going to give the Dead Caballero the night off! Oh well, the public demands....

This being a library event, with young kids present, we thought it important to interact with them, stimulating their own creativity. Grasiela stated to the audience she was going to draw a witch, but asked for suggestions on colors. When she asked the kids to pick a color for the hair, everyone had a different suggestion! So the result was a multi-colored hairdo for Witchie Poo! We gave away all our artwork, and here Grasiela is signing for one of the winners.

Accompanying us to the event were some folks from the Nuvein Foundation, the local non-profit organization that sponsors some of our events. One of the interns, Michael, jumped in and helped us out with an extra pair of hands!

Mike's not a Cartoonista, but he does draw. He not only drew a Hulk and signed it for a youngster, but a lady in the audience asked for his autograph on one of the flyers!

(Memo to Jim: The Cartoonista brand name has arrived! Everbody wants to be one, everybody wants to meet one!!)

Grasiela draws a favorite:

Grasiela brings her own special brand to the Cartoonistas. She comes to the art from more of a fine art background, but cartooning is in her blood. And she of course has such great rapport with younger fans. Grasiela, Queen of the Cartoonistas!

This gentleman is Domingo. He was there to enjoy the show, and in fact he was sketching on a notepad during our presentations. It was really nice meeting him and talking art.

The range of people in the audience, from kids to adults, to a genuine WWII veteran, really made the event a special night for all of us. Really, at it's core, this was a local community event, where parents brought their kids, or adults came on their own, to enjoy a couple of hours of live artwork sponsored by their neighborhood library. I, and the other Cartoonistas, are all for that. Sure, I love doing the comic conventions, and the podcasting and working on various comics projects, but interacting with the people via our artwork has it's own special payoff.

This was the fourth Cartoonista event we've done in about 2 months, with two more lined up in November! I think 2009 is going to be a pretty busy year for us. One last pic, with Cartoonistas, a guest artist, and the young library volunteers (one of which asked me for a Spidey drawing. How could I say no?!)

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