I have been doing most of these Saturday art posts from my WordPress library of images. I generally try to organize around a theme. Having exhausted myself at Vivian Field Middle School yesterday, school-ish pictures are my theme for the day.
I have a tendency to think in pictures, and these are all school thoughts of one kind or another.
Some of my favorite students over the many years in the classroom were major nerds.
I liked them mostly because they were the same exact species as I was when I was a monkey-house-aged student.
Monkey-house is a synonym for Middle School.
Wally shared my obsession with Japanese anime and could draw them better than I could. He was a major nerd. And a totally enthusiastic learner whom other students treated like he was radioactive. I always had time for him when he needed to talk to someone. He was a teacher’s kid at a time when my own son was still little.
This will be used for several things. Most importantly it will become a part of the cover I make for my Work In Progress, The Boy… Forever.
The villain of this story claims to be an undead Chinese wizard. It is a claim that may be totally bogus, but it is a part of the idea of his villainy that needs to be illustrated to help me get to the roots of my theme; “No man lives forever. But if they accidentally do, it helps to be secretly a dragon in human form.”
Pen and ink, black and white drawings are the place where my art career started. Line drawings like the ones in the newspaper cartoon pages. I collected newspaper comics. I copied them. I drew Blondie Bumstead and Moonshine McSwine naked. I drew Pogo Possum, Popeye, and Hagar the Horrible. I also drew Steve Canyon and Buzz Sawyer. I still draw Mickey Mouse. I learned cartoonist skills from the best in comic strips and comic books.
My daughter forgot her pencil case in school over the weekend. Now, for normal students, this is no really big deal. But for the Princess, like it is for me as an amateur artist, the pencil case, with her colored pencils and pens in it, is one of the most necessary things for life.
Of course, we did not have an opportunity to go back to school for her pencils and pens. So, panicky, she texted her teacher whereupon the pencil case in question was found and put aside for her until early this morning. She then stole my pens and pencils for the weekend, depriving me and causing me to be the one with the anxiety disorder and heart palpitations.
Of course, pens and pencils were always a critical issue when I was a teacher for 31 years, plus two years as a substitute teacher. Unlike the Princess, students in an English classroom NEVER have a pen or a pencil to write with. I swear, I have seen them gnaw pencils to pieces like a hungry beaver or termite. And they chew on pens to the point that there is a sudden squishy noise in their mouth and they become members of the Black Teeth Club. (Or Blue Teeth Club for the more choosy sort of student.)
Having students in your class who actually have pencils and pens to learn with is a career-long battle. I tried providing pens for a quarter. I would by cheap bags of pens, ten for two dollars, and sell them to panicky writers and test takers with a quarter (and secretly free to some who really don’t have a quarter). I only used the pen money to buy more cheap pens. But that ran afoul of principals and school rules. A teacher can’t sell things in class without the district accountant giving approval and keeping sales tax records. Yes, the pencil pushers force teachers to give pens, pencils, and paper away for free. I finally settled -on a be-penning process of picking up leftover un-popped pens, half-eaten pencils, and the rare untouched writing instrument apparently lost the very instant the student sat down in his or her desk. These I would issue to moaning pencil-free students until the supply ran out (which it rarely ever did) at no cost to myself.
I also tried telling them repeatedly that they had to have a writing instrument, or they needed to beg, borrow, or steal one. And if they couldn’t do that, I’d tell them, “Well, you could always prick your finger and write in blood.” That was a joke I totally stopped using the instant a student did exactly what I said. A literalist, that one. And it turns out you can’t read an essay that a student writes in actual blood.
But, anyway… My daughter is safely in school now and no longer panicking because she has her precious pencil case back in her possession. And she probably will not ever make that same mistake again. (And she will probably not return my pens and pencils either.)
When I am trying to organize some book magic, I tend to light the scented candles in my bedroom and get out the old sketchbook, as well as some fairly recently purchased pens and ink. Yes, I mean, I do storybook magic by drawing. This explanation comes from a teacher who no longer has any class, a nudist who never goes naked anymore, an atheist who believes in God, and a wiseguy who knows he’s really a fool. Magic is 99% hard work and 1% drawing pictures.
So, if you have drawn the proper conclusion from that first paragraph that Mickey is being a stupid old idiot again and he doesn’t really know anything about magic. I beg to differ. I started experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer and indications of another serious lung infection brewing up a couple of years ago. I decided then not to take my complaints to the doctor because I have no money left to spend on health care for myself. Either diagnosis, if it is accurate, is a death sentence for me under Trumpcare. I would rather simply drop dead unawares than have to live with an actual looming deadline that, once passed, I would truly be dead from. So, I have gone about my daily duties and flights of fancy without worry. And, miraculously, I woke up this morning still being alive and able to write. That is magic, isn’t it? I think it is.
Both books are free if you buy them through Kindle Unlimited.
My inevitable conclusion to this experimenting was that I can create a book from black and white drawings and mix in paragraphs that tell all about Tellosia, the fairy kingdom that exists within my boyhood hometown in Iowa. A sort of field guide, if you get what I’m getting at. And I could mix in the black and white graphic novel I have been working on for more than a quarter of a century, The Hidden Kingdom. It might actually attract some readers based on my artwork and its reputed popularity with people who don’t have to actually pay for it. It might be a way to actually sell some books. So, I am going to try it, and you can’t stop me.
I have taken up a foolish notion that I can create a picture book in pen and ink about the fairies that live in the fairy kingdom of Tellosia. Here’s a first experimental picture, a picture of the Scribble Witch Fairy Fay. She is a large butterfly child. She is a full three and a quarter inches tall when she stands upright. I tried to talk her into writing the script for this new book idea. It didn’t work, as you can see. Working by candlelight makes her sleepy. So more of this story will have to wait for another day.