Tag Archives: lions

Back to School 2018: Lions Launching!


“Launching” and “stellar” are probably big vocabulary words for a sizable portion of my intended audience, but they’re coming to learn, right?

I’m on a roll with these retro rocket ships!

When I first started doing bulletin boards I never wanted for inspiration; there was always some big idea that I couldn’t wait to try, but now that I’ve been at it 9 years (NINE YEARS!) (averaging 5 or 6 a year, so let’s say about 50 total) and I hate the idea of repeating myself, at least in the same forum, sometimes I have to reach a bit for new material.

The school where I volunteer starts up Thursday, so I had to cram this into my schedule (Tuesday night was the big back-to-school, sign-up-for-the-PTA, eat popcorn and wander around the campus open house, and I managed to get the bulk of the work finished before the school was deluged with parents and kids) not knowing what the plan was, but once I got there I remembered how much fun I had drawing the retro rocket for my “The Future is Non Binary and Intersectional” T-shirt, and once I had that idea, the rest of it fell into place. The rocket and the lion cubs and the paw print and the flames were easy to design: a lot of these elements were ones I had worked with before and the Girl helped me on the first day. She’s really good at peeling excess rubber cement off things.

Then I went back the next day and did the lettering. Something was clearly disconnected in my brain because I measured the space available, calculated how big each letter could be, and then completely disregarded my own calculations and made each letter about 5 centimeters too wide. Thus the bizarre/organic spacing. My original plan was to cut out some of the text that ended up in the word bubble, but the families were already there and it’s a lot of letters that wouldn’t have fit anyway and I decided to just hand ink it and slap it on as a word balloon, which took 5 minutes, versus the 2 hours sketching and cutting would have taken.

The principal loved it. All the teachers loved it. Someone called me “faithful.” As I was leaving the school, I saw a parent taking a photo of my bulletin board! Also a kid trying to read it out loud who clearly didn’t know the words “launching” or “stellar.” Success!


Brave Back-to-School Bulletin Board


The great thing about this is that, the more you doubt it, the truer it is. Theoretically.

Once or twice a year, my insomnia gets so bad that it comes full circle and after a week of falling asleep around dawn, my circadian rhythms get pushed back so far that I literally miss my window of opportunity for that night and never get to sleep at all. Last night hurt. Probably by 10 a.m. or so I could have slept, but at that point it makes more sense to power through for another 12 hours and get back onto a schedule that puts me in alignment with the majority of humans.

But I had to make a bulletin board! On zero hours of sleep! Fortunately, I had hung the orange background Friday and cut all the letters Monday, so I just had to reinforce the background, space and attach each individual letter, and then get some graphic elements. Due to the no-sleep, walking-around-basically-hallucinating situation, the lion cubs somehow came out half the size they were intended to be but by that point my brain was done. I scarcely felt competent to hold scissors, let alone pilot a car, and I really needed to use the reserve for the driving part, since The Man randomly stopped by, hung out for a while, and then left the Girl in my keeping.

So, I feel like this design could have been 10 times better but I also feel like it’s good enough, and if I get tired of looking at it I can change it later. School starts Thursday in my district (the kids to the south went back last Thursday; the kids to the north, including the Boy and the Girl, start next Thursday). The teachers all seemed to like it.

Normally this is a weird color combination for me. I don’t care for orange unless it’s food and typically I only like secondary colors if they’re right next to their primaries, but it’s just as with the mandalas: I forced myself to choose a different color (orange, to go with the yellow lions) and then convinced myself that purple would stand out against orange, and it really did.