Boy, did we knock it out of the park today! The Cartoonistas were invited to perform a Live Art event at the West Covina Library and we had a tremendous time. Scheduled from 1-3pm, there were times when the fever pitch in the room was set on Maximum Awesomeness. Amy Crow, the librarian organizing the event, said that her expectations were beat by a mile!
Kids were here in droves, with their parents, eager to see some artwork and meet some artists. The library gigs that we do always capture their young imaginations, and I'm glad to see parents encouraging and exposing their children to art. The Nuvein Foundation presented the event, and they had 5 members in attendance promoting the organization and handing out literature. Here, Renato Aguirre, Nuvein Board Member and fellow producer on PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO, talks to the crowd about the Cartoonistas as well as promoting the comic book workshops I'm offering.
Jovial Jim Lujan, Cartoonista Co-Founder, is dazzling the crowd as usual with his dapper demeanor and dizzying drawing chops.
Jim's wrestling drawing was a pretty big piece, chock full of life and energy. I didn't notice til later that the referee in the match is layed out cold! I love the intensity that the kids seem to be eyeing the drawing with.
At these library events, since we're not there to sell artwork to little kids, we raffle off the artwork we create. I had drawn pics of the Pink Panther and a giraffe character (hopefully one of the other five people with cameras got pics of those!), but the one that several kids were really asking about was EL MUERTO. So here's the adorable little girl who held the raffle basket I drew a ticket from and the happy boy who won the drawing:
There was another kid, about 12 or so, who was watching me draw the El Muerto piece and we talked about my process with the chalk drawing art and what his art experiences were. He impressed me with his talk, and in fact had done a drawing about a grim reaper and his son who didn't want to 'take over the family business'. Funny how I attract the kids who have their own death-inspired characters! (I swear, I AM NOT GOTH!!)
Bernyce Talley had her own little fan base watching her draw. It's interesting to me how at our gigs the girls will hover around the women Cartoonistas if they're around. Makes sense though, as girls will feel more comfortable among a fellow female artist (I think). And it's very important for young girls to see female artists as equals to the male artists. Me and Jim always talk about how our diverse group of artists is such a strength.
One young girl I heard was very saddened that she didn't win one of the raffles (sniff), so dear Bernyce actually made a special drawing for her! Who says the Cartoonistas ain't a bunch of softies?!
Two of our Cartoonistas, Grasiela Rodriguez (l) and Bernyce:
At one point Renato decided it would be a good idea for me to hold an impromptu 'comic book mini workshop' for the kids! So, after regaining my composure, I decided that I would do the ol' one-page-three-panel-story-bit! Kids flocked to the table in the back and most of them got busy coloring a Cartoonista coloring handout we give out. Some actually participated in the story lesson, while others just jumped right into doing their own stories. But it did give me the chance to interact with some of the kids in at least poking around in a very basic storytelling exercise. One of the kids later asked me if I was going to raffle off the sample sheet I drew, so I just gave it to him! One of the kids who helped develop the story I drew was this very young girl who ended up drawing her own cover for the kid-pirate-finds-treasure comic we created:
Now that I think about it, there may have been a slightly higher percentage of girls in attendance than boys. C'mon boys, put down them dang video games and baseball bats and get to these Cartoonistas events! Just imagine that, first a black American president, then a cartooning industry populated by a majority of females!
Below is a pic of Jim raffling off his wrestling piece. In truth, everyone was a winner today. The Cartoonistas had a capacity crowd to interact with, the Nuvein Foundation was able to sponsor a very successful community event, and the West Covina Library was able to provide a free, interactive event to their patrons.
I was also able to talk to a mother and her 16 yr. old son about one of my workshops. They just happen to be in the library today, and came to the event. The son likes to make comics, but has no place in his area to learn more about comics creation. It was nice being able to share some knowledge about self-publishing and independent press to a kid who has done some research himself, but wants to learn more. And it was really satisfying to see how much his mother is supporting him in his efforts. Hopefully I see him in one of the workshops. I also really enjoy talking to some of the kids who are more seriously into their art. I can tell they really like being able to talk to an artist about techniques and their own ideas about art. As a kid I didn't really have any exposure to 'comic book artists', at least face to face. So I do appreciate the opportunity to interact with these younger artists and help in useful ways.
I have to say, with all humility, it's a gosh-dang good feeling being a Cartoonista! Thanks to everyone who made this a success!