Teaching Cartoons to Kids at Cleveland’s Natural History Museum

Artwork by Jake - one of the kids in my class.

I had a wonderful opportunity to be hired through ZAP Entertainment to teach a couple cartoon classes to a group of 25 kids for their summer camp classes at Cleveland’s Museum of Natural History. What a boot camp this was for me – a good way to get my feet wet when it comes to teaching art to children.

I taught two one-hour classes a week, for two weeks (a different group of kids each week). The first class I titled “Superhero YOU,” which put emphasis on the fact that we all have superpowers (talents/skills) – and having the kids illustrate what they think their own super power might be. The second class was focused on teaching how to draw expressions.

It was very fun, and I learned much from the experience.

I had to share one of my favorite pieces drawn by one of the first-week students, named “Jake.” I had a handout that showed a series of Calvin cartoon expressions to get my point across, and this kid loved the sheet so much that he decided to duplicate it! This boy was only in the 2nd or 3rd grade – I was impressed.

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Writing ~ “The HARD is What Makes it Great.”

Les Roberts, an admired local Cleveland writer, often visited my creative writing class years ago. He gave wonderful motivational speeches on writing. After hearing him I wanted to run home and WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. There is a quote he mentioned in almost every talk he gave, by Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own. Watch the video above to get the full effect. The quote is about baseball, but it ALSO heavily applies to writing as well. If you are a writer, you’ll understand. If you are a writer, you don’t feel complete without expressing yourself on paper, whether it is in your journal, or plugging along on your next short story, poem, article, or novel.

I’ve never really thought writing as fun – it’s just something I have to do. Why? Because I am a writer. I can’t explain it. Before I knew how to read, I gazed into picture-less books, wondering what the mysterious symbols meant. I wondered why some letters and words were grouped together. I wondered why sometimes there would be only a few words on one line. What are the rules of writing? I wondered.

Writing is hard. It has never come easily to me. I always felt jealous of the prodigies. But I can never leave it. Why? This quote says it all:

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The HARD is what makes it great.”

2010 Artist’s Way Retreat at Lakeside ~ Sept.24-26

The deadline for the early bird deal is coming up, regarding the 2010 Create-A-Way Artist’s Way Women’s Retreat!

The theme for this year’s retreat is RELEASE.

Something new offered this year: FREE GIFTS for registering early (by June 30)!

Check out my Create-A-Way website to view photos from our past retreats (click on “RETREATS ARCHIVE”), and also for registration information.

Purchase Artwork by David Fedan ~ My Hubby!

Perception of Beauty ~ by David Fedan

Please visit FineArtAmerica.com to view my husband’s page, and purchase a print of his work! I have helped set up a page for him because I love his work so much, and have been longing to show the world his marvelous talent!

Please visit his website as well to view other work he has done. I’m so proud of him! His latest piece, shown above, is my new favorite. He calls it “Perception of Beauty,” but I lovingly call it his “Fairy Drawing.” I look at it and I see a beautiful fairy peeking out from a garden. I LOVE it.

David and I met in art school, ended up in the same department, and now we are both professional artists. I was very happy that I got to know him as a friend BEFORE seeing what an incredibly talented guy he is. When I discovered his amazing rendering super power, I felt like I was dating the quarterback at school (since our art school had no sports team, that was pretty much it).

I’m very proud of David, and always have been.

Here’s to you, David! Love you!

Dreaming On ~ With SARK’s Dream Boogie!

I have SO enjoyed my experience with SARK’s Dream Boogie. I have attended the spring session, and I’m happy to go ahead and sign up for the summer session as well. I highly encourage you to sign up, too! This week’s first class is FREE, so at least sign up for the free class to sample what it’s all about!!

Going in to Dream Boogie, all I was hoping for was to gain some direction for my dreams and also to gather more inspiration and motivation to move forward with my dreams. What I received from the experience was SO much more than I expected. I began to dream bigger than ever, brainstorming NEW dream ideas, and then came the epiphany of WHICH dream to focus on first (my angels helped me out with this part, I believe).

The biggest surprise from this Dream Boogie class was what I got out of the Boogie Bean Community forum. I have always felt like a loner when it comes to dreaming, feeling like dreams are to be kept inside – not to be shared with the world until they start to take real form. NOT TRUE. Thanks to this class, I have learned to LET MY DREAMS OUT OF THE BOX. Yes, I will keep my dreams to myself when I feel they are too fragile to meet the world ~ but I’ve learned that I need to share my dreams with others at some point, in order to gain SUPPORT.

SUPPORT ~ this is the biggest advantage I’ve gained from Dream Boogie ~ SUPPORT for my dreams. I cannot thank my fellow Boogie Beans enough for the support they’ve given me through this program. I’m looking forward to meeting more NEW Boogie Beans who sign up for the summer class, too!

SO ~ the message I want to share from my experience:

Do not keep your dreams trapped inside you. It’s good to do that when your dream is still in the gestation stage, but at some point you will need to share your dream ~ even with one person (someone you trust to be supportive). This helps to nourish your dream, and will allow it to grow and develop. DREAM ON!

In Honor and Memory of My “Dream Supporting” Grandmother ~ Ruth Wendorff

Ruth Wendorff ~ Wonder-Mother, Writer, and Crafter

Last week my grandmother passed away (at 90 years old). Although I did not have a close personal relationship with her, she greatly influenced my life in a special way. I must have been nine or ten years old when Grandma Wendorff first introduced me to The Writer’s Market. She noticed my passion for writing and took me seriously enough to teach me how to use and translate editing symbols, and taught me how to write a query letter. By age twelve I was on my way to writing my first novel-length book. It was 104 pages typed, using my dad’s electric typewriter (we didn’t have a computer). At age thirteen, I sent my book out to publishers, received several rejection letters (the first one was very encouraging, and the last one was a postcard with my name written in the blank). Grandma told me never to be discouraged by rejections. She was the first to tell me it is all part of the writer’s life.

I am still on my path of seeking publication of my work, and have moved forward to self publishing some of my whimsical booklets as downloads. I also see this blog as a form of self-publication. Grandma self-published her own book, “How to Make Cornhusk Dolls,” and she had a couple novels she also had in the works, seeking publication. She was also involved in writing cookbooks and had many articles published. She was a professional writer and editor. A good mentor for me to look up to.

I am in the process of rewriting the book I wrote when I was twelve (the story of my childhood move from Canada to the States), and I shared a snippet from one of the chapters at Grandma’s memorial service. When this book ever gets published, I’ll be dedicating it to her. Here is a fragment from what I read at her service, in honor of her support for my writing passion and dreams:

Grandma was a writer, and encouraged my interest in writing as well. Every visit, she brought me to her little writing room packed with file cabinets and introduced me to her typewriter. She handed me a stack of scrap paper and instructed me to type away to my heart’s content. I loved Grandma’s old typewriter. It was a trick to snap the metal alphabet hard enough to stamp the inky tape hard against the page. There were times I got carried away, hitting the keys with such force, the letter “O” stamped holes right through the paper.

My favorite part was finishing a typed line, hearing that “ding” to announce I reached the margin. Then I’d flick that big silver lever to turn the page up a notch and fling the rolled page back to the beginning of the next line. It made the act of writing an event. And how glorious it felt to pull the page out and see my own words in professional type.

Thank you, Grandma, for recognizing our mutual passion, and for taking me seriously as a writer at such an early age.

You were one of my first DREAM SUPPORTERS.