For any budding cartoonists out there, have I got the book for you! Written by the top dudes at the Center for Cartoon Studies, Adventures in Cartooning is a fun, unique approach to teaching kids the basics of comic strip development. What’s refreshing about this l cartooning how-to is that it focuses less on “how to draw” (remember those books that would have you start with a circle, draw two triangles and three lines on each side and voila you have a cat?) and spends more time on the fundamentals of cartoons: speech bubbles, speed lines, motion indicators, etc. And the format is fabulous – the book actually tells the story of a knight, a horse and an elf – and teaches these comic lessons as the story unfolds. This is a great book for interested artists and a super-duper birthday gift for future cartoonists. All in all, a gem of a book!
Now, i’ll admit…i’m a sucker for Tomie dePaola. Strega Nona. Amazing. Big Anthony. Hilarious. But the artist in me must say that his little book, The Art Lesson is my all-time favorite. It is the wonderfully autobiographical tale of Tomie’s own experience as a child artist and the differences between two art teachers. One who limits his creativity and the other who’s a little more bohemian, a little more willing to let him use all the colors in the 64 crayon set. And as an art teacher now, I can truly appreciate the difference between Miss Landers and Miss Bowers. I think we’ve all had a Miss Landers and a Miss Bowers in our lives. And I hope, sincerely, that I am one who allows her students to express themselves independently and creatively – and, therefore, brings out the artist in each of them. So, here’s to Tomie…here’s to art…And here’s to using all 64 crayons