We are pretty sure that only one SMUDGE exhibitor has been on Animal Planet!
We are excited to be offering free art workshops in the Education Lab at Artisphere all day at SMUDGE on Saturday, March 14. This one should be awesome!
1pm-1:50pm – Designing Characters with Jade Feng Lee
With well designed characters, we should be able to tell something important about them just by looking at them. Shape, line, texture, and color are all chosen carefully to tell specific things about a character’s personality and background story. In this workshop, we will examine these attributes in popular cartoon and comic book characters, then design our own characters based on a random trait generator.
This year’s SMUDGE Comics Arts Expo will expand to include animation and documentaries in Artisphere’s Dome Theatre. Our featured full length doc is Root Hog or Die – The John Porcellino Documentary.
Shot over five years, ‘Root Hog or Die’ is a full length (108 minutes) documentary about independent cartoonist John Porcellino. For 25 years, John has self published his ‘King-Cat Comics & Stories’, and has steadfastly held to his DIY roots. This film includes interviews with over twenty of his fellow cartoonists, friends, fans, and loved ones, and digs into how an independent artist attempts to live and work in our modern world.
This documentary is being show courtesy of Kilgore Books & Comics.
Cuddles and Rage uses a genre, which I have never seen before – mixed media and photography chronicling the adventures of the food and animals living in Snuggle City. Cute? Yep. Disturbing? Little bit. Visually fun and exciting? Absolutely! We asked artist, Liz Reed, (half of this husband-and-wife-team) to share some childhood creations with us, and chat about all things cute and disturbing.
Jess: I love looking through your dioramas! The candy corn doesn’t look too happy about his day. That guy is one of my favorites. Do you have a favorite diagram you really enjoyed creating? And why?
Liz: My all time favorite diorama is “Hot Date.” I love that one for so many reasons. I really wanted to use this adorable teacup that I’d bought in one of our dioramas. I had an idea of two marshmallows on a date and wanted to put them all snuggled up in a cup of cocoa. I sculpted the marshmallows, made some cocoa, and placed them all in the teacup. The marshmallows started flopping over and wouldn’t hold still for the picture. When making dioramas, part of the challenge is getting your pieces to stand the way you want them to. In effort to create a base for the marshmallows, I stuck half of a banana in the cup for them so sit on top of. Once the picture snapped, I was in love. My favorite thing about posting a diorama is hearing the stories that others create in their head. People go deep. They dig into how the marshmallows met, what they talked about on their date, and usually point out that they will die a slow death together in the name of love. It’s awesome getting to share your imagination with the world.
Jess: Your childhood pig sculpture is adorable! Do you remember creating this as a kid?
Liz: I remember making him in 6th grade art class. I specifically recall messing up on the blue in his eyes and trying to cover my mistake by turning the blue into tears. It gave some good emotion to the piece and my teacher probably thought I was going through a phase.
Jess: I can see where your knack for cool, sculptured diagrams originated. Tell me more about your love of all things cute … and a bit disturbing.
Liz: I am a huge fan of horror movies and all things super cute. Why not marry two? I’ve always been attracted to really dark humor. I love the challenge of looking at an object and wondering what its daily struggles may be. I like to think of Jimmy and I as anthropomorphizing experts.
Jess: What inspires you when you are drawing?
Liz: My husband is my biggest inspiration when I am drawing. His sense of humor is crazy. Every night we lay in bed with our sketchbooks and try to get each other to laugh. We also create mini-stories with the characters we doodle and see how much we can play off of one another. Most of the characters on our site all came from his head. I like to take his designs and add extra layers of details to them and turn them into adorable sculptures residing in the weird world of Snuggle City.
Jess: What advice would you give parents whose kids love to draw or sculpt?
Liz: I would tell parents to encourage their kids to sculpt and draw more. Take them to conventions where they can talk to other artists and learn more about their craft. I went to Baltimore Comic Con a few years back and bought a custom drawing from an 8 year-old. He was selling his customs for a dollar. I was amazed at the deal. He drew a portrait of Thor for me, and I have the picture hanging in my art studio for inspiration. You are never too young or too old to start making a career out of your art.
Jess: Bonus Question – So why doesn’t Middle-Aged Pig wear pants?
Liz: So … I was pro-pants when we created the character Middle-Aged Pig (aka M.A.P.). M.A.P. was ultimately Jimmy’s character so he got final say on the lack of pants. I always thought M.A.P. would get super-cold without pants so I made a diorama called “I Should’ve Worn Pants” where M.A.P. is sitting at a bus stop in the snow pant-less. It was fitting for his little world. I asked Jimmy why M.A.P. doesn’t own pants and he said, “Name me a pig that wears pants.”
Hey there! It was really fun to be at the Smudge Expo a few days ago! Here’s some more Billy.
At the first ever Smudge Expo we introduced our Draw Something area with tons of drawing prompts for kids and adults to take a challenge and draw something. It was a really popular area at the show, so we are introducing it to the blog. Once a week, we will give you a new Draw Something prompt, you can scan or take a photo of your work and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to our Facebook wall. Be sure to include your first name and age (if you want!). You can also use the Doodl widget on the right side of the blog if you like!
This week’s prompt is:
Draw Something with Seven Tails
Tina: Advice for parents who want to support their kids to tell stories through comics?