How did your process of working with flowers and natural materials begin?
My husband and I were bored during a layover and had a pack of Chiclet gum that I made into a handbag and posted it on instagram — people loved it! I started using fresh flowers and other natural materials that had a bit more textural interest than gum . . . the encouragement grew and so did my motivation to get creative — so @moomooi was born!
ARTtv is the brainchild of Ron Pippin, an Austin filmmaker and father of two. Ron conceived the show to inspire kids to be creative, encourage them to draw, write, make music, make stuff, and have fun.
“We want to do what Children’s TV Workshop did for younger kids, but with way more emphasis on finding your creative center. We all have one. When you find it the world becomes a better place.”
ARTtv launched last month with a spotlight on writing, participating in YouTube kids’ #Readalong for the month of June. Check it out:
I’m a fan of ARTtv — I think it’s great what they’re doing because I believe in the importance of art in our culture/life. Our own Weekly Doodle Challenge was inspired by a drawing suggestion that Ron made, and I’m really glad to have Ron Pippin today on 3 & 1/2 Questions.
HI Ron. Can you tell us how ARTtv began?
Seven years ago I started looking at what shows were available for our kids to watch. The kids were three and four at the time and liked Sesame Street and Electric Company. I grew up on those show, too, and I noticed that after our kids outgrew PBS, there are not enough smart, fun learning shows for older kids anymore. When Bill Nye came out, that was great. ZOOM was this funky, low budget syndicated 70s PBS show from Boston on our local PBS Station in Dallas. My brother and I never missed a show and it inspired us toward different creative pursuits. Plus, it was an interactive show. They would ask you to mail in ideas. These shows inspired me as a kid and still do. I became a commercial director and animator because of these shows. When we were in high school, friends would gather around MTV every day until we had to go home for dinner. This had a big impact on me because I loved music. Now it had pictures.
The decline in arts education funding is a travesty for our kids. Everyone knows the arts are rich in skills kids need to be well-rounded. So many parents send their kids to supplemental music, dance or theater classes because they aren’t getting enough in school and these parents understand that arts matter. Of course, the kids whose parents can’t afford it get the short end of the stick. Outside Voice and ARTtv are working to get the arts to kids who aren’t getting equal access.
So, ARTtv is some hybrid of ZOOM, Sesame Street, Electric Company, Billy Nye, Monty Python and MTV. We teach kids to create and observe.
What is the biggest challenge of producing the show?
ARTtv is a labor of love. The project makes no sense in the context of a work/life balance because it’s like having a second full-time unpaid job. But kids deserve better. And I believe in what we’re creating and our mission to keep growing arts resources for kids. In time we will find the sustainable support we need. And we’re creating our own original works and exploring new disciplines as creators. So it’s liberating to try.
After 25 years making work for others, it’s so much fun to make up your own work. We’re writing our own songs, pairing teen poets with professional animators. There are infinite possibilities for new things we make. And I’m proud to be helping bring young creators work into the world. That feels like something worth waking up for. I think an arts-rich life helps kids on their journey — emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
I also find growing an audience is hard. If I was smart, I would feature more cute animals and gamers, I think. We did just pass 30k views, which is a great start to our channel.
What is your dream collaboration or project for ARTtv?
My dream would be that kids all over the world are watching our show and collaborating virtually on projects. We’re not just building a show, we hope to build a community of kids and parents who can help put the arts back in the education conversation.
Please complete this sentence: My favorite thing to draw is ____.
“Exquisite corpse” drawings with our kids. One of us starts drawing, finishes a little something and passes the pen to the other. And we keep doing this until we get hungry or run out of paper. The results are usually hilarious. Drawing is one of our favorite bonding activities. We can do it anywhere, it’s free and we can do it together. And I don’t feel judged for my lack of real drawing skills because my kids just want to hang out with me.
Thanks Ron Pippin for stopping by KCD and for creating fun videos for kids! Please check out and subscribe to ARTtv channel here.
If you’re in Austin, Texas, don’t be surprised if Carin Channing introduces herself to you, and then asks you to doodle with her. She is the creator of “Doodling with Strangers,” part of her Doodle Outreach — a mission to “help others discover the joys of being creative every day.” Carin boldly approaches *gasp* unfamiliar folks, armed with pen and paper and doodle prompts at the ready. Watch as they doodle together!
How did you come up with this idea to approach strangers and draw with them?
In the spring of 2014, I was feeling some frustration at wanting to share doodling with the world, but I wasn’t reaching beyond my immediate circle. I went to see Joe Cross (aka Joe the Juicer, of the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead) who was in my town on a book tour. I told him that I wanted to be to rest and creativity what he is to juicing. He helped me make a few key decisions on the spot, and he suggested that I start taking paper to restaurants and to inviting people to doodle and then have someone film their responses. A few days later I was doodling at a juice stand, and I saw some people who seemed potentially willing. I approached them, and Doodling with Strangers was born.
Is it challenging to get people to feel comfortable to do this with you and agree to appear on camera? How do you get the courage to approach strangers? Was this initially hard?
Even though I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done this, I still feel a little funny if someone declines to doodle. It’s like I can’t comprehend that someone wouldn’t want to doodle, and I feel a little bit exposed. I usually remedy that by finding someone else to doodle with right away.
I usually say to people, “Hey, do you want to do something fun while you’re waiting for your drink (or whatever’s going on)?” Sometimes I flash the crayons. That usually gets people to participate pretty quickly. I sometimes feel a little awkward asking if they’d be up for making a little video, but I’m getting more used to that. And no one has ever declined to make the video.
I’m not shy, so approaching strangers is pretty easy for me. I also try to size up the people I approach before I move in. It’s not totally random, and I’m pretty good at guessing. Plus, I know that I’m bringing something that is highly likely to cause benefit in the moment, so that gives me confidence. I can remember once in a bookstore, I really had to muster the courage to ask someone because I had to interrupt what he was doing (he wasn’t just waiting for a chai at Starbucks, he was looking at books). But it went great!
What is your motivation or mantra for doodling with strangers? What do you hope to gain from this experience?
The Doodle Outreach mantra is “Connecting the world through simple creativity,” and my personal tagline is “Helping people discover the joys of being creative every day.” I’m motivated by how good it makes me feel. It raises my energy on the spot when I interact with people in this unexpected way; that also yields fresh, original art. I’m also motivated by benefit to the strangers: they get to relax, have fun, connect deeply, take a break from their phones, do something unexpected, open up the creative channels of the brain, and have a nice, organic interaction.
Lucky for me, what I hope to gain is starting to happen. I’ve craved more non-technology interactions, and I always want to create. Doodling is such a quick and easy way to keep the creative juices flowing without any seriousness or significance around it. I make tons of stick figures! I meet lots of people I never would have talked with otherwise. To really have this movement spread, these are the kinds of ripple-creating actions that are vital. I want to doodle with everyone! I also love the magic and the unknown of it. I never know what kinds of people I’ll meet or what connections will unfold from there.
Please complete this sentence: I like to draw ____.
My little meditating chick — she’s my resting mascot.
Carin has actually doodled with us too (here and here)! We love her enthusiasm and bright spirit, and are so happy to have her on our blog! Check out her doodling adventures here. And doodle with her on our Weekly Doodle Challenge.
Once in awhile, I see someone’s work and am blown away. Like when I saw Bill Sullivan’s work, or recently, when I saw Shari Mallinson’s drawings. Her attention to detail is sublime! So of course, I had to share her work with you and am so pleased that Shari agreed to have a chat with us too!
3 & 1/2 Questions: Shari Mallinson
Shari joins us from Vancouver, British Columbia, where she is a multi-tasking artist — well-versed with a pencil, camera, brush, and a word-smith to boot! Talent runs in Shari’s family; she is the daughter of late artist Sharon LaRae Gordon and also the niece of late artist and photographer, Carol Mallinson-Johnson.
Hi Shari. Were you encouraged to draw when you were little? Who were your early influences?
My mom was an artist, my aunt was an art photographer and a family friend was artistic so they definitely influenced me initially but the people who REALLY encouraged me to actually pursue drawing (and art) as a kid were my elementary and junior high school art teachers. Particularly Mrs. Cowley, Mrs. Palmer and Mr. Wakeling at Ranch Park Elementary School in Coquitlam.
They saw how art made me come alive and constantly put me in art shows/special art classes, gave me special projects, submitted my work to contests, and said kind and encouraging things about my artwork. (In a few cases acted they acted as my manager when institutions and individuals wanted to buy my work.) I don’t think they ever knew how important they were to me or the impact they had on me or my work. I can never thank them enough for the faith they put in the quiet kid who barely spoke but loved all things art related.
I’ve been creating for so long I don’t remember wanting to ever be anything other than an artist. I went through a phase where I wanted to be Indiana Jones but once that wore off it really came down to whether I was going to pursue art or acting. Even at the age of 12, after having parts in school plays and showing up in the background of popular TV shows and hanging with celebrities, I realized I was too sensitive an individual to withstand the scrutiny actors undergo. Particularly women. I’ve always been more comfortable in my skin as an artist.
Can you tell us a bit about how you like to work?
I initially start with a spark of an idea or inspiration so it all begins in my mind. I then use photos, real people and animals for reference work for my art (whatever I can get my hands on). I watch music videos and listen to music while I work. I then sketch out what I’m going to draw and work in layers. Starting drawing and shading lightly and building to darker shadows and lines.
Do you have any advice for kids who want to draw like you?
The advice I give most of my drawing students is to have faith in yourself and your abilities and have fun. You are ALWAYS good enough no matter what point you’re starting at. I hear a lot of students say they aren’t good enough and I believe if you’ve already decided not to be good enough, you won’t be. Decide you’re an artist and be one. Practice whenever you get the chance. Whenever you have a spare moment. (On the bus, waiting in your dentist’s office, in the back seat on the way to school etc. Just don’t do it in Math class. Your teachers and parents like it when you pay attention and Math is what will help you budget money for your art supplies and figure out how much you’ve made from all your drawings and paintings.) Remember: The only person you’re competing with to get better than is yourself. If someone wants to pursue art as a career I’d tell them to do it. Believe you can and make it happen. If art is your passion, fills your soul and makes you happy do whatever it takes to have it in your life daily.
Please complete this sentence: I like to draw ____.
absolutely whatever fills my imagination at any given moment in time
Thanks for stopping by, Shari! If you want to draw like Shari, she has some tutorials on her website, where she shares more of her process. (Shari also contributed to our #thebigdraw #exquisitestory too!)
She’s also currently working on the release of her first adult coloring book, which will be available in 2016, but you can get a sneak-peek sample by signing up here.(Please note: coloring pages are intended for kids over 18, and contain images of glasses of wine.)
HI Doodlers! I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Gemma Correll as our guest on 3 & 1/2 Questions! I have been a fan of her funny cards and comics for a few years. She is one of those artists I admire online, and think, how cool would it be to have them for a friend?
How did you “research” this book? (Did you take many camping trips?)
I live in an area of England surrounded by countryside, so it was quite easy for me to go out and hike in nature. I must admit that I didn’t take any camping trips, although I have done in the past. I also thought back to my days as a Brownie and a Girl Guide, and the camping trips I went on as a child. We went on a lot of family holidays to Scotland, which involved lots of hiking and walking in nature (and in the rain!) — Also, I’m lucky to live near the coast here in Norwich, so I was able to go and look at shells and sea life in person.
How is drawing outdoors different than drawing indoors?
Well, there’s the weather to contend with (especially here in the UK!) — also, there are more opportunities to draw from real life, which is always better than drawing from photos. When drawing outdoors, you learn to draw quickly and without worrying too much about mistakes, because you never know when the squirrel is going to move / when it’s going to start pouring down with rain.
How did you get the bear to pose for the cover? What song is he playing?
I had to bribe him with fudge. He’s playing something he wrote himself. Did you know that bears are very talented composers? Although they struggle to pluck the guitar strings since their paws are so big.
Please complete this sentence: I like to draw ____.
Thanks so much Gemma Correll! Don’t forget to check out Gemma’s Four Eyes comics at GoComics and medium.
All images by Gemma Correll, courtesy of the artist
Colleen Kong, a New York-based artist, is the creative force behind Kongaline.com. According to Colleen, “Children Are Beastly,” and she personifies their mischievousness through illustrated monsters. To get inspired for our first Show & Tell Call for Entries, “To Boo or Not to Boo,” we asked Colleen a few questions:
3 & 1/2 Questions: Colleen Kong
What influenced the way your monsters look?
My last name is “Kong-Savage.” It sounds like a giant gorilla with very bad manners. I wondered, “if a kong-savage was a character, what would it look like?” My very first savage was simple, hairy, and had an attitude:
How do you give your monster characterization/personality?
I wondered, “what would my savage do when he wasn’t throwing a fit?” I also wanted to add more detail, so I beefed up his arms (I was still thinking of gorillas) and gave him some big teeth (because he IS a monster). I couldn’t decide on a color, so I tried a whole bunch of them, and I came up with this:
And then because I still couldn’t decide on a color, I figured I’d make a whole population of these beastly monsters so that I wouldn’t have to settle on a single shade. Another advantage of having more than one beastie is that they now can have families and friends.
There’s a whole bunch of ways I can render these characters.
I can collage myself a beastie: cut it out of paper, using different papers for different parts, then glue all the pieces together
Or if I need to make a black and white picture, I can do a line drawing with a pen.
Sometimes I want to use the computer, so I’ll draw a thick black outline with a brush pen. Then I’ll scan it into the computer and color it in using a program called Adobe Illustrator. Because it’s now on the computer, I can change colors over and over again with a click of a button.
What would you do to make a monster scarier or friendlier?
To be honest, I don’t make my monsters that scary—I mean no scarier than your mom is when she’s mad at you for drawing a mustache on your brother with permanent marker. But as you know, some facial expressions are scarier than others. Would you rather be stuck in a room with someone with friendly eyes and a smile or a furrowed brow and a frown?
And if anyone comes at you with angry red eyes and a snarling mouth full of sharp teeth, you would probably leave the house.
Please complete this sentence: I like to draw ____.
Beasties and naughty children.
We do too, Colleen! See Colleen’s monsters and more of her work at kongaline.com.