The execution may have suffered a bit due to the addition of the work in my previous post, but it’s still pretty decent. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I miscalculated the letters and had so much extra space that I had to add the big butterflies, and then miscalculated again and had to add the little butterflies. Plus I miscalculated a third time and ended up with 6 little butterflies rather than the 4 I meant to make. But it’s better this way.
Just found some stuff from last year that I never uploaded, probably because, like most people in the pandemic and most artists all the time, I was a little bit depressed. But this is the bulletin board I made last fall when we thought they were going to reopen the schools, an event they kept (rightfully, intelligently) bumping back, although now it looks like they’re definitely going to reopen after spring break (which would probably be OK if schoolteachers were 1b and were all vaccinated; what a mess). And I’ll have to make a new bulletin board because this one is already blowing apart.
Will schedule at least one other post of old art for later this week. I actually have made and sent so many cards in the pandemic, and most of them I didn’t even take the time to photograph individually. Somewhere, I have an image of a bunch of painted cards, and I might upload them if I can find them.
Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you hate people or not.
I am trying to love people.
This was a pretty simple piece. I used Sharpie for the black parts (excluding the eyes), which saves a lot of time. I sort of wanted to make the chest part rainbow, but I also sort of wanted to go home, and home won. From a technical perspective it’s not one of my most amazing boards, but from an aesthetic point of view (particularly the aesthetic point of view of an elementary school student) it’s a raging success.
As I adding the stapled details some third graders came to admire my work and asked me what the dragons’ names were. I told them to feel free to name the dragons themselves.
One girl said, “The baby’s name is Shadow.”
So her friend decided, “The big dragon is Midnight.”
Shadow and Midnight. Names that work equally well for black cats as red dragons, apparently.
For this year’s winter bulletin board, I was inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, which is a national emphasis on coziness during the darkest part of the year, often involving hot cocoa, but I wanted to give it a local spin. Of course, snow in Tucson is rare and scanty when it comes, but up on the mountain it falls in abundance and people who enjoy things that are cold, wet, and inconvenient can go up there and get whatever it is that people who didn’t grow up in the midwest and don’t find the cold debilitating get out of it.
All my bulletin boards are intended to be secular (well, OK, some of them subtly reflect my personal views of pantheism with a sprinkling of paganism and Buddhism, but they are never meant to reflect anything beyond the most superficial trappings of Christianity) but people will insist on attributing everything to Jesus. Apparently the Christians have a monopoly on the word “peace” now? It’s not for Christmas. It’s for winter. We could all use peace and coziness, regardless of whether a fat man in a red suit has ever brought us presents.
This started out as a much more ambitious idea in which lion-wizard and lion-scientist were in a lion-workshop/lab with all kind of arcane equipment and books and whatnot, but this is what came out of the paper. The kids loved it. Due to scheduling issues, I wanted something that could play through All Souls’ even though I had to put it up mid-September. The lettering isn’t my greatest because I had a time crunch and had to the entire thing in 1 day. It took about 6 hours, but some of that time was me discussing a commission with someone else in the building.
Wizard lion and scientist lion, learning forever.
How can it be summer already? But it is. School here ends May 23rd, and I’m off to present my thoughts about Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics in Michigan, so I decided to clear this off my plate in a simple but elegant fashion before I left. I’ll do something fancier in the fall. I’m trying to dream big, like I did as a kid, and I hope the kids at this school are too.
The top font is called Indie. The bottom I just drew freehand.
I’m not comfortable with creating religious content, and since this design needed to include the Mission San Xavier del Bac, I wanted to make it clear that we were looking, as the lyrics suggest, at a picture of a child with wings, not an angel. I thought giving her rainbow hair and rainbow wings would eliminate confusion, but no sooner had I finished worked, a small child came by, excitedly pointed at my work, and said, “It’s an angel! An angel with rainbow hair and rainbow wings!”
Ah, well. I’m used to being misunderstood. Also, angel people see angels everywhere.
Of course, this bulletin board is inspired by the Paul Simon song, “Under African Skies,” from the amazing 1986 album Graceland, which he recorded with a variety of musicians, many of whom were South African. This track features 3 South African artists as well as the vocal work of Linda Ronstadt. The entire verse goes as follows:
In early memory
Was ringing ’round my nursery door
I said take this child, Lord
From Tucson Arizona
Give her the wings to fly through harmony
And she won’t bother you no more
While many people, no doubt, wish that the children around them would be less bothersome, obviously I couldn’t hang that line up outside the elementary school library. The basic function of people in an elementary school library is to be bothered by children. I mean, not bothered by them per se….
Anyway, the school or their supplier changed the shade of the blue butcher paper, resulting in less contrast between the text and the background than anticipated. I guess I can’t do green on blue anymore. My first pictures, taken in artificial light, were unusable; you could barely see the letters, let alone read them. With better lighting and a DSLR I got some usable images, although I had to do a lot of color correction, and it’s still not as good as the phone picture I posted on Instagram with the Juno filter. But it is readable. I couldn’t find the name of this font; it was just a thumbnail when I Googled “musical font” and the link didn’t work so I can’t credit the source.
If you find yourself in Tucson, Arizona, I recommend a trip to the mission, one of the oldest buildings in America. Don’t come during Catholic holidays, because the Mission is still in use and you’re not supposed to wander around during mass, but the rest of the time it’s an interesting place to explore. There’s a museum, and a tiny chapel full of candles and saints, and a wooden statue of Saint Francis that people get real cozy with, and a gift shop, and a grotto you can hike to with a shrine to Mary. Also, if you come in decent weather in the middle of the day, there will be a bunch of Tohono O’odham people selling fry bread out front. If you are a person who can safely consume white flour and oil, it’s a real pleasure.
Well, I’m in love with this style of paper cutting, except, obviously, it would work even better in metal. It’s weird that I’ve never even attempted anything like this before; was actually way easier than I thought, probably the only bulletin board I’ve ever done that actually took less time than I’d estimated. The whole thing still took 12 hours over 3 days, but cutting out the details (with a scalpel) didn’t take much longer than sketching them out.
You can view some process pictures on my Instagram feed if you want to see that, along with some closer imagers of each design.
The quote is slightly messed up, probably because I never sleep as much as I need to. There should be another definite determiner between “in” and “contrast.” Still, pretty good stuff. Some kid will probably rip some of the details; they’re very fine and I wasn’t able to hit every spot with glue. It’s too tempting for the littles. After the break, I’ll go back and secure it a bit more.
Speaking of the break, I’m grateful that I didn’t have to get anywhere near an airport this week.
This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! La la la!
Pretty often, the Halloween design is the bulletin board I’m most looking forward to. This one definitely was. I knew I wanted a raven, so I knew I had to do Edgar Allen Poe. The sticking point there was picking the right stanza; the poem is a lot longer than I remembered. I guess it could have worked with just “Quoth the raven ‘Nevermore’,” but where’s the fun in that? You don’t get very much poetry in 4 words.
Then again, cutting 170 paper leaves with terrible plastic scissors was nothing compared to the 4 straight hours I spent inking this bad boy. The raven himself was fairly simple. I sketched him out on Monday, cut and pasted him Tuesday (lost a lot of time because the Girl had hours of math homework to get to), fixed him up a bit more on Wednesday and blocked out the letters (in true Halloween horror fashion, I lost a lot of time on Wednesday because the school had a freaking hard lockdown because there was an active shooter across the street; The Man says it was an accidental discharge but tell that to 400 crying children who have just spend the last hour hiding quietly under their desks in a dark classroom), sketched out the lettering on Thursday (lost more time because the Girl had conferences at a different school in the suburbs and also some jerkface kid had pulled out 30 or 40 staples and tried to peel the raven off), and then strapped myself into my iPod and went at it with a handful of permanent markers on Friday.
It was 4 hours straight with no more than a few minutes break here and there to stretch. Made a lot of mistakes toward the end. It is what it is. I don’t have a name for that font; it’s just something that came up when I Googled “fun Victorian fonts for kids” and started clicking.
Sadly, the kids are on autumn break, which is a thing here. I always wanted an autumn break was I was a kid, and was always told to shut up about it, that I didn’t need a break because school just started. Kids today are lucky with their autumn breaks and their regular early dismissal days. But not so lucky with their active shooter hard lockdowns. Anyway, good thing their break had already started and the teachers just had grading day, because there’s no way I would have finished this if I also had to deal with children.
Anyway, you can read the complete poem here, and you should if you haven’t.
Seriously, my hand hurts. Happy Halloween.
They asked me to do an extra bulletin board for the nurse’s office. The health aide had painted the bulletin board and added the paw print border and the letters but then she didn’t know what to do with the rest of the space, so the attendance clerk’s idea was to let me fill it in. Which I did. I couldn’t find any pinking shears so I ended up buying a set of 12 “decorative scissors” for $13 just to get the ones with the zigzag edge, and let me tell you, you get what you pay for. Those scissors were just awful, but I wanted to make the leaves jagged like rose leaves are.
I had the Girl to help out one of the days, so she cut 30 leaves, which is more than I thought she’d manage. I cut 170, making 200 leaves total. There are 27 roses, 12 ladybugs hiding in the foliage, and 6 yellow butterflies. This one took forever, in part because each little component was time-consuming, and in part because I was so busy last week that I never had any long blocks of time to focus.
As I finished, I told the aide, “Let me know when the kids destroy this one and I’ll make you another.” And she said, “The kids are not allowed to touch it!” And I said, “Yeah, but they will.” However, it will last longer than the designs I do in the breezeway because it’s inside, protected from the elements, and there will never be unsupervised kids around it. Any kid who gets near this delicate papercraft will necessarily be no more than 5 feet away from an adult. So I give it until at least next fall.
If you want to see some close up pictures of the flowers you can check out this little gallery on my Instagram (taken with my Moto X4). If you like flowers, cactus, pets, food, or my art, you should totally be following my Instagram. I’m hubris_and_smoke.