Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MORE Face Jugs!

Before painting
In a previous post I shared our Face Jug project made from recycled jars and clay. The artists worked really hard on them. They were so incredibly varied and whimsical. Some were a little crazy looking, which is pretty appropriate considering how insane traditional face jugs can be.
 Here's a few more to share with you all. 

Face Jugswaiting for their glaze to dry.
Add caption

Still to be painted.
Whiskers were made from
paper clips. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Comic Book Class 101

I've been teaching Comic Book Class through our Town Recreation Department. Those of you who know me may be surprised. Although I am an illustrator (see? I even have a WEBSITE!) I have never been a comic book artist. I do, however, love comic books. My love started back in the 1980's when I'd snarf up copies of RAW Magazine, a compilation of alternative comics compiled by Art Spiegelman of MAUS fame. I became a huge fan of graphic novels but it wasn't until I had my boys that I began to appreciate more traditional comic books.
Sketching out some ideas

Now, of course, my 9 year old and I are regulars at the local comic book store. After about a billion visits to the store I found myself reading up on how comic books are made, a little about the history, and a lot about the art. And I saw my son start to create his own comic books. I tried to guide him a little on how to put together the story, how to use lettering creatively, how to include action and details, how to work with pacing and planning, later on how to ink and color. Suddenly I had the structure of a class. 

It's a class that is a pure joy to teach. The kids come in excited, ready to work, enthusiastic to share. We do exercises in story crafting, layout, sketching, figure drawing, adding expression and much more. Each artist
creates a book that I send out for printing. 

Here's a sample of some of the wonderful work created by the Picasso's Basement Comic Book artists.
This group is entirely made up of 2nd-to-4th graders!

 I'm fortunate to know some amazing artists who have come to share their work with our class.

Marvel Comic Book Artist Bob Budiansky visits and wows the class!

An animated group after an activity that focused on details in our stories!
I can't wait to share more of their work with you!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Face Jugs and a Hurricane

Last night I dreamt that a nasty hurricane hit the East Coast, knocking out power, taking down wires, leaving people cold and cranky and bored and hungry. And then I woke up and remembered that it all was real. Such a crazy time and this Thanksgiving I had to be thankful that the worst that happened to my family was losing heat and power and having our schools closed. We were cold and bored but we had friends that lost property, faced terrible cleanups, were left temporarily homeless. Many people lost their homes, their cars, and were left in terrifying situations. I'm truly grateful that my family remained together, safe and secure.  I'm also grateful for the workers at the utility companies, the townships, and the volunteers that are still working trying to help get everyone back in their home

Last week my kids finally returned to a full week of school. And as I clean out my studio and straightened up my supplies (which, being in the basement, all ended up on top of my work tables to protect them from any possible flooding) I've found many projects that I should share.

I always like to break up my posts so I'll share one with you all here and post more later. 

So let's talk about FACE JUGS.

Jugs and urns with faces on them can be found in many cultures going all the way back to the ancient Greeks and the Egyptians. They were often crafted by African American slaves in America and there's speculation that they were used almost as a burial memorial because slaves were not allowed proper funeral markers. They later became a common American folk art. They are often grotesque or goofy and sometimes feature human teeth!

The Picasso's Basement artists looked at many pictures of the jugs. They each chose a recycled glass jar or bottle to work with and a big ol' hunk of Prang Das Modeling Clay which is  a little pricey but excellent because it doesn't crack and crumble like most air-dry clay. (Just see my Terra Cotta Warrior post to see what disasters await when you use the wrong clay.)

Zombie Pig Pencil Holder Face Jug/Front
They painted them with acrylic paint and later glazed them with Modge Podge.
Zombie Pig Pencil Holder Face Jug with 2 tails/Back

I always encourage the Artists to just go to town with their imaginations. I think you will see that they certainly did! I'll feature some more of them on my next post.