05/02/2011 at 6:35 pm 7 comments

Did I mention I was a teacher for two weeks this past April? I was. At an elementary school, no less. The kind folks at Oriole Lane School here in Wisconsin hired me to be their visiting artist-in-residence. I was asked to develop a curriculum for grades K—5, and spend two weeks teaching said curriculum. There were three projects, divided among the grade levels (K & 1, 2 & 3, 4 & 5), all using stuff people were going to throw away– old cereal boxes, scratched records, and the sleeves each record came in. And there were bigger lessons taught, too. But we’ll get into those in a later post.

A few days ago, a selected panel of judges drove out to the school and judged the projects we made during those two weeks. And tomorrow, as part of the school day, there will be an awards assembly to announce the winners. I personally don’t know who won, yet, but I wanted to contribute to the prize packages each kid will receive. So I bought them all sketchbooks:

No, I didn’t buy them like that. I had to spruce them up. Some quick stencil cutting, a lil’ mid-afternoon spray-painting, and we were off to the winner’s circle.

I hate that Utrecht slaps their logo on the sketchbook. So tacky. But the spray paint covers it well enough. And my idea was to have a little monster and a word bubble that the kids could write their own names in.

But this wasn’t special enough. Not for MY students. So each book has a personalized first page from yours truly. The first batch are the “best of” for each grade, and the judge’s choices:

I got bigger sketchbooks for the “Best Overall” and “Best Overall (Runner-Up)” category:

One last thing: After a day or two of teaching, autograph requests started happening. It’s a very weird thing to be asked for an autograph, but a FLATTERING weird thing. And I will never tell someone “no” when it comes to that. At the very least, it will let me show off my fancy penmanship.

But rather than sign autographs after each class, I promised the kids I’d bring them something the day of the assembly. So I sat down, pen in hand, and filled a page with doodles of all the things that seemed to pop up in class, as conversation, or as subject matter during end-of-class drawings I’d make for the kids on the chalk board. I called my magic pals at Clark Graphics, had them print up 500 of these bad boys, and tonight, I’ll be sitting in front of the television, signing all of them:

Can’t wait to see all my little friends tomorrow…


Entry filed under: Event, hand-lettering, Illustration. Tags: , , , , .


7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. abby  |  05/02/2011 at 6:53 pm

    you are so awesome. for real.

  • 3. Julie Luettgen  |  05/02/2011 at 8:40 pm

    I can’t wait to see all the art work. Got a sneak peak at school last Thursday of the records. So neat. My kids are stoked! Well not really, but very excited. So are we. Thanks for doing this.

    • 4. dwellephant  |  05/02/2011 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks for having me! It was an absolute pleasure. Great group of kids out there.

  • 5. Erik Rose  |  05/02/2011 at 11:37 pm

    You’re doing a great thing here – makes me proud to know you!

  • 6. Alicia Joynson  |  05/03/2011 at 2:01 pm

    What a great post. I am sure this was and experience that both you and the classes will never forget.

  • 7. Layla  |  05/06/2011 at 9:47 am

    You are a true inspiration. Those kids will never forget you!


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