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Scribble Artist Interview with ShaoLan Hseuh!

Shaolan Hsueh, Chineasy, Kickstarter@Robert Leslie 2013

Shaolan Hsueh, Chineasy, Kickstarter@Robert Leslie 2013

Scribble Town (ST): Here with us on the Scribble Blog is ShaoLan Hseuh! ShaoLan’s creativity and energy to build Chineasy is extraordinary.  Let’s hear her story!

ShaoLan Hseuh (SH): Hi, my name is ShaoLan Hseuh and I am an entrepreneur, investor, writer, traveler and dreamer! I am also the creator and founder of Chineasy, a Chinese language methodology that will help you learn to read what many consider to be one of the hardest languages in the world to learn! Chinese!

ST: Where are you and what are you up to these days?  What does a day with ShaoLan look like?

SH: At the moment every living breathing moment is spent either working on Chineasy or with my family. With Chineasy’s Kickstarter campaign now over (having successfully raised nearly £200,000) I am now working on the hard part – fulfilling the delivery of all of the gifts I promised!

A day with me: I am a very early riser (you have to be or there just isn’t enough time in the day!), I am very into exercise and eating well and if I am not weight lifting or drinking chilled green tea then I am either with the members of my Chineasy team of my children – when they aren’t at school of course!

Chineasy Mountain

Chineasy Mountain

ST: What is Chineasy?  How did the idea for this new endeavor begin, which is so different from your past experiences?

SH: The Chinese language has long been considered the most difficult major language to learn, largely on account of the vast number and complexity of its characters. Being a Taiwanese native now living in London, this is a fact I am acutely aware of. When I began to teach my British born children Chinese, I realized just how difficult Chinese characters are for a native English speaker to learn. It was like torture for my kids! So I spent many years looking for a fun and easy way to teach them how to read Chinese. After years of searching, I realized that none of the methods out there were engaging or efficient enough. So I created my own!

Chineasy’s goal is to allow people to learn to read Chinese easily by recognizing characters through simple illustrations, but also to bridge the gap between East and West. As the best way to understand a culture is to start with its language.

Chineasy works on a simple building block principal. When you know a few key base characters (or building blocks) you can start combining them to create more complex words (compounds) which, when combined, allow you to create simple phrases and stories. It’s that easy!

Chineasy Mouth

Chineasy Mouth

ST: From what I have read online, you wear many hats and have accomplished so much across many fields.  Please let us know about this adventure you are on. How did you go from Taiwan to London?

SH: It was a very long adventure and it is one I still haven’t finished! As I child I was raised by two very artistic parents and, like most children, chose to study something as far removed from my parent’s interests as possible! As an MBA student in Taiwan I published a series of best selling software books, which were awarded ‘book of the year’. Using the royalties earned from their sale I founded my first software venture pAsia in 1995, which I grew from a team of 2 to a team of 250 by 2001. After moving to London in 2002, I began investing in and advising young technology companies through Caravel Capital, which I founded whilst studying at the University of Cambridge. Following a sabbatical in which I traveled the world I came back to London and decided to try my hand at something new. Today, I am still highly active in assisting young businesses, but I have also expanded to the mentoring and support of education, arts and culture (I am on the Business Advisory Council of Business School in Oxford University and Development Advisory Board of Victoria and Albert Museum). As a social venture, Chineasy is the culmination of both my entrepreneurial experience and my artistic childhood.

Chineasy Fire

Chineasy Fire

ST: Was there somebody that encouraged you to be creative and business savvy?  Also, how do you collaborate with the designers of Chineasy?

SH: Although everyone could be creative, having right environment is crucial. Everyone could be ‘trained’ being a savvy business person, but having good intuitive and constructive environment certainly helps. I happened to grow up in an artist family and loving arts throughout my life. I was also lucky enough to work with world class business leaders and global thought leaders. I am inspired by many people through out my journey. Many of them became my life long friends and consistently encouraged me to be ‘myself’. Being yourself and knowing what your ‘calling’ is helps you to have the vision beyond what people normally see in their ‘career’.

Originally I planed for Chineasy to be a purely personal project for my children and friends, but when I was invited to talk at TED, I started asking several illustrators to implement my creation. One day I chatted my friend Crispin Jameson, who is the director of an agency in London called Brave New World [BNW] and he recommended Noma Bar. This was how I started working with various parties in addition to Chineasy team.

ST: When you develop an illustration what is your creative process like?  What is your process for getting work out of your head and what are some favorite tools you like to use to create?  I especially love your color choices and the relationship between the image and character is so clear!  I wish I had these when I was learning Mandarin!

Chineasy Tree

Chineasy Tree

SH: The truth is it is a long and thought out process, these illustrations are much more than pretty pictures – as our three designers will tell you! Each character we create has to follow the same three guidelines: 
they have to look stunning, be stylistically consistent with what we 
have produced before and, most importantly, they have to be 
educationally effective.

Traditionally ancient Chinese was mainly Pictographic (the symbols were drawings of what they represented) yet over the past thousands of years, many of those pictographs have morphed into very different shapes from their original forms. Instead of trying to reproduce all of the historical links I use a totally refreshing approach to interoperate pictographs, as our illustrations have to be something westerners can associate therefore easier for them to remember.

Chineasy Character Development

Chineasy Character Development

Before we even start designing our team (which is made up primarily of myself, my two in-house designers, my project manager & research assistant) researches the definition, 
origin and history of the character. We then move on to the applications (for example, how to build more characters and phrases) and finally 
we consider how to make stories out of them. After this research our designers create their different interpretations 
of the character. We always have several versions and numerous drawings for each. Between us we then discuss, debate and bounce 
ideas back and forth. When we come across a challenge (which happens with nearly all of them), we discuss, sleep on it and play around with different combinations of colours, or designs.

Chineasy Sun

Chineasy Sun

Finally, whenever a new illustration is created, I show them to my children. If they can guess the answer immediately, I know we’ve got it right. If they struggle, we go back to the studio and do it all over again

ST: When you create a new Chineasy illustration do you take into consideration not only symbolic representations in Chinese characters, but also tonal sounds?

SH: Chineasy was started as a tool to teach my children how to read Chinese, not to speak, and so the illustrations are meant to act as a memory tool in literature not for sound. I am plotting a new method to teach people how to speak, which will be my primary project next Watch this space, soon I will be able to teach you to speak as well as write.

ST: What are some other hobbies or interests you like?

SH: Unsurprisingly, for someone who has done so many different things, I have a lot of hobbies! I like to keep busy and I believe that health is incredibly important! I spend a lot of time doing sports: skiing, swimming, weights, rock climbing. I love music and performing arts. This summer I did some painting class with my children. I would also love to teach them how to do calligraphy one day, just like the way my mother taught me. Everything. I am also very interested in Eastern medicine and spent some times studying acupuncture (that’s when you use needles to cure ailments, you can end up looking like a pin cushion). I am also a very big traveller and believe that you should experience the world through your own eyes if you can – not through foreign press

Chineasy Moon

Chineasy Moon

ST: How can we start using Chineasy?

SH: Its easy to become a Chineasy user. At the moment I update a Chineasy facebook page daily and already have a thriving community who seem to pick up every character I teach – it is very heartening!  I also have a website (chineasy.org) which anyone can access free of charge, as well as my newsletter which goes out to the community once a week! Now that our Kickstarter campaign has been successful I am also happy to announce that I will be having a beautiful, and educational, book published in Janurary 2014. This book will be available in both e and print formats. We are also going to produce loads of learning tools, such as flashcards and computer screensavers!

Chineasy is a gateway into the language, it is meant to help people who wish to learn, but who have always been thrown by the languages complexity. My children have learned at least 300 characters using this method and that is without vigorous lessons.

ST: I’m ready to start learning Chinese with Chineasy! Thanks ShaoLan! http://www.chineasy.org

Chineasy Person

Chineasy Person

Chineasy Door

Chineasy Door

 

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Scribble Artist Interview with Andres Amador!

Jersey Beach Art Festival. Andres working. Photo: Stepane Gimenez Photography

Jersey Beach Art Festival. Andres working. Photo: Stepane Gimenez Photography

Scribble Town (ST): The world is your canvas!  Visual artist Andres Amador proves that to be true with his landscape art whose primary canvas currently is the beach.  After you read more about Andres I think you’ll be inspired to create with the earth and appreciate it for all its beautiful components that make it fresh, colorful and alive.

Andres Amador (AA): I call myself an Earthscape Artist, though this feels to more capture the heart of my pursuit- engaging the natural world at the landscape level using natural materials.

ST: I think Earthscape Artist encapsulates what you are doing and what the art is about!  Where are you and what are your days like?

AA:
Currently I reside in an open-walled, safari-style tent on a family homestead farm outside Grass Valley, California. When I am not working on the farm, I am working on projects for clients and developing the next iterations of my art.

ST: You live and work with nature- both with sand and soil.  When did you start creating beach murals?

AA:
I started in 2004. The idea came to me as I was studying crop circles and sacred geometry while on vacation in Hawaii. I was on the beach explaining concepts to a friend when, like a bolt from the blue, I saw what could be possible on the beach.

ST: Wow! I can imagine the blue bolt came straight out of those Hawaiian blue ocean waters! You never know how these ideas will volcano out from your imagination. When it comes to visualizing your projects, does the place inspire your style or is it the purpose of the drawing that takes precedence?

AA:
In general the design is primary. However, there have been opportunities in which the shape or limitations of a location suggested a certain way to work with it. There have been rare moments in which a location inspired a design.

Inspired by the cave and the narrow channel leading from the cave to the larger beach. I started way at the back of the cave where the sand started. In my mind the cave was breathing flames which turned into vines, then flowers off of which bud planets and stars. Plemont Beach, Island of Jersey. during the MyMemory.com World Beach Art Championships.

Inspired by the cave and the narrow channel leading from the cave to the larger beach. I started way at the back of the cave where the sand started. In my mind the cave was breathing flames which turned into vines, then flowers off of which bud planets and stars. Plemont Beach, Island of Jersey. during the MyMemory.com World Beach Art Championships.

Currently, now that I am using a remote controlled aerial camera, I will have the opportunity to truly work with the landscape- to know what it looks like from vantage points higher than I have been able to see from before and to capture the imagery. This is the cutting edge of my art development and has me quite excited.

ST: It’s great to see how technology is advancing your artwork not only with documentation but also with accessibility.  I can really see how the cave and the rocks guided the flow of your design elements!  What other forms of creativity do you do?

AA:
At the moment I am appreciating origami- its tough! I also love contact improvisation dance, in which I have been developing a signature style. Sculpture weaves in and out. Cooking is a major love. Many creative thoughts pass by me all the time, like butterflies flitting about. It feels as though I am capturing and expressing such a tiny percentage at any particular time. As my major expression at the moment is the earthscape art, many of my ideas turn towards pushing its boundaries. Often this means entirely new lines of creativity being born and adapted to the beach.

ST: For a person that has so many different creative interests, sometimes it’s also good to just put more attention to one project or medium. How do you start planning your projects?  Some have been very big productions requiring a lot of help from others! What is then your process for creating it on the beach?

AA:
The main thing I do is somehow capture the idea- whether as a sketch, a written note, a phone message to myself, a recording- whatever I have on hand. For the past 10 years I carry with me practically all the time a pencil case with pencil, sharpener, and flash cards. I have found flashcards to work the best for me. With them I can do many sketches of ideas and make variations then later group them into categories and later still select a few that would make good candidates for being on the beach. I also carry an iPod touch, the kind with a camera. I use it for taking notes, for doing recordings, and most usually for taking quick photos of inspirational imagery.

Andres Amador's example of a flash card with a design sketch.

Andres Amador’s example of a flash card with a design sketch.

If there is geometry to work out then I will use Illustrator on the computer as it makes the process, and being perfect, very easy (with the geometric designs perfection is important).

Once on the beach I will turn to a number of techniques. Often I am coming up with new ones to fit the needs of the design. In general though, the main thing I am working with is keeping a sense of what is happening around me while I work from the inside. Its an acquired skill, keeping it together. With the geometric is about knowing the steps I have set for myself. With the organic designs its about knowing the process I am engaging, which shifts according to the design. I am always learning more. Now that I am using an aerial camera, the scale can go even larger, which means that the lines that have generally been good enough now much be much much larger to be visible. So there’s a constant re-orienting. For me that’s part of the fun. There is no ‘way’ to do it. It’s a constant exploration.

Here’s a guide I made to create a geometric design,

Torus-recreation

Torus-recreation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

which became this:

Ocean Beach, SF

Ocean Beach, SF

Below is a photo of an organic design.

Ocean Beach, SF

Ocean Beach, SF

ST: I really like the impermanent aspect of your work. So much effort only to last for a short time. I wonder in what ways do you document your work (to make it permanent : ) ).

AA: Impermanence was not an aspect I was looking to engage when I started. But its the overwhelming feature of the artwork. Often as I am working on a piece it is being simultaneously washed away. I was being filmed recently and as I finished and the film crew was flying a camera up, a huge wave bit into the art- too soon! We had to redo the creation the next day (fortunately we had that option!). Prior to this art form I was doing large sculptural installations. I still have a garage full of my art. I can’t let it go! With the beach, I have no choice, which is refreshing 🙂  Of course I do take care to capture my creations and so am dealing with digital detritus(!)

If someone didn’t know how large my works were, the designs alone would not be so impressive. But knowing that so much effort went into something with such a short lifespan creates a different impact. Attention is given to the work and the reasoning behind it. Philosophically, the aspect of impermanence has had a big impact on me. In the end, our own existence is temporary. Nothing that is made will last forever. We subconsciously anchor ourselves to what we feel is solid in the world. We act as though the lives we live have stability to them. But that is an illusion. When upheavals in life happens we are reminded that the only thing we can count on is change.

It can seem as though making my paintings on the beach is a pointless act. But in reality, all acts are ‘pointless’ in that there is no inherent meaning. When we are able to stand tall and enthusiastically create from our hearts unencumbered by such concerns, aware that all our acts and achievements are but drops in the rain but engaging regardless, the offering becomes even more powerful, more poignant, more infectious. It doesn’t matter what we do- if it is done as an expression of love- that is its own validation and it is then a true offering to the world.

ST: Even if your beach murals have faded, they have made an impact on who has experienced them. Have you done collaborative beach murals with other artists?  I got an idea- what about collage beach murals?!  Your murals would be a perfect stage for a performance- instead of a curtain you can draw the next props to set the scene!

AA:
I’ve done lots of collaboration. I love collaboration- the mixing up of ideas and abilities. At the moment I am collaborating with the director of the Santa Cruz Symphony. I am always open to interesting collaborations. And I have done performance within the artwork [see image below]. I look forward to other opportunities to do interesting things within the art I create.

‘This Constant Yearning’ dance performance

‘This Constant Yearning’ dance performance

Over the years the art has dictated the documentation. As I got more serious about the art, I had to get more serious about the recording of it. I’m working on the next iteration of that trend as I shop the next level of camera I wish to use. I recently did a memorial ceremony artwork [see image below] that had about 200 participants, which was very powerful.

Ceremony artwork by Andres Amador

Ceremony artwork by Andres Amador

ST: Please tell us more about your Playa Painting Workshops.  How can we get involved?

AA:
I haven’t been as active with the workshops since I moved from the San Francisco bay Area. However I do work with groups and very much enjoy working with schools. I am also looking to do some very large creations for which I will be putting out calls for assistance. The best way to be involved with something I do is to join my facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/AndresAmadorArts

ST: Thanks Andres for all your insight and inspiration!  Scribblers, here’s an activity Andres came up for you to start with your own Earthscape Art.  Click here to have a look.  See you by the shore!

Scribble Artist Interview with Carly Kasner!

Scribble Town (ST): Carly Kasner shows us how animations bring to life more imagination than we could imagine.  It is easy to see in her artwork and her approach to creativity!

Carly Kasner (CK): Hello Scribblers, I come from Long Island and graduated from FIT, May 2012. I am a graphic designer with some essence of illustrator mixed in. From the time I was little till this very day, I have had a special connection with cartoons, which inspires and or impacts my work today.

Anime self portrait of Carly Kasner

Anime self portrait of Carly Kasner

ST: How are you spending your time these days?

CK: I am currently interning at The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York City. It is a non-profit organization that provides mental health and social services. I design various flyers, books, and print/e-mail invitations there. In my spare time, I have been recently involved in t-shirt design contests between the websites threadless.com, and welovefine.com.

In addition to that, I occasionally create my own characters for fun. In recent years, I do consider my work to be more digital but I still highly respect the traditional methods as well as the digital I utilized InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator as my main digital formats I use whatever tool(s) will get the job done in the best way for my idea/client.

Monster's Inc scribble shirt by Carly Kasner

Monster’s Inc scribble shirt by Carly Kasner

ST: Designing t-shirts sounds really fun and it must feel good when you see somebody wearing one of your ideas. When did you start illustrating / scribbling / being creative?  Was there somebody that encouraged you?

CK: The beginning of my creative era was around kindergarten I stumbled into my interest of drawing through the inspiration I got from cartoons and my love for doodling. I used to like to draw dogs. I feel that I was born with a love for drawing.

ST: Your love for dogs is seen in your North Shore Animal League Logo.  I really like how you’ve nested the dog and the cat together.  It’s as if they were hugging each other.  It’s a very clever design!  Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?

North Shore Animal League logo by Carly Kasner

North Shore Animal League logo by Carly Kasner

CK: I think my inspiration can come from different sources and/or artists, but I think my, main root was the endless hours I spent in front of the TV growing up. I was a 90s child and some of my favorite cartoons were Courage the Cowardly Dog, Hey Arnold, the Rugrats, and The Angry Beavers. I was inspired not only by the characters image; I was inspired by the stories that molded the characters personalities. And as I got older, I became inspired by Japanese cartoons and comic books a.k.a. anime and manga.

ST: What other forms of art do you practice?

CK: In high school, I did some ceramics, collages, oil painting, and water colors in recent years, I am still partial to the sketchpad and pencil. I try to use that for my creativity as much as possible and even though I haven’t practiced it much lately I am also fascinated by watercolors.

ST: What is your favorite movie?

CK: My favorite movie is Hayo Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

ST: I also really liked Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle.  The story and images are unforgettable!  Carly, please share any tips, advice, or ways of encouraging scribblers.

CK: I struggle sometimes with accepting mistakes but it is important to accept mistakes and to learn from them. Try not to let them discourage you. I try to look at mistakes as boundaries to define what not to do next time. Keep in mind that you can’t get something right unless you get it wrong.

ST: Thanks Carly! That’s great advice!  Making mistakes is a big part of life and making art.  At least we can say we tried 🙂

Sweet Bots by Carly Kasner

Sweet Bots by Carly Kasner

Scribble Artist Interview with Clark Sorensen!

Scribble Town (ST): Clark Sorensen is a man of his heart, many trades and talents! He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture from the University of Utah.  Before settling in California he lived in France for a couple of years.  Clark has been a costume designer, illustrator, and computer animator, working primarily on video games.  He probably has had a hand in one of your favorite video games!  Clark’s playful attitude has led him back to sculpting and painting where for the past 10 years he has devoted his full attention to creating art.  His unique series of urinal sculptures has given him worldwide recognition and now he has caught Scribble Blog’s eye!

Clark, where are you and what are you up to these days?

Clark Sorensen (CS): I am living and working in San Francisco.  I’ve been a full time artist for about 10 years working primarily in porcelain.

Portrait of Clark Sorensen

Portrait of Clark Sorensen

ST: How did you discover working with ceramic and was there somebody that encouraged you?

CS: My first try at clay was a wheel throwing class when I was a youth, maybe 8 or 10 years old. There was a small art center near my house and I took some kind of art class every summer. In college I pursued a fine art degree in sculpture and ended up gravitating to ceramic sculpture, largely because I liked the teaching style of a professor named David Pendell. He wasn’t one of those teachers who wants you to copy his style or ideas but encouraged individuality.

Urinal Group by Clark Sorensen

ST: I hope everybody gets the opportunity to find such an encouraging teacher such as David Pendell!  When did you start creating handcrafted urinals and sinks?

CS: About 13 years ago I was hit with the idea to try to make a urinal. The more I thought the more I liked the notion. My first pieces were duds and it took me several years of trying to produce a successful, working urinal.

ST: The best ideas really do just hit you on the head!  I love on your website where it says, “Answering Nature’s Call!”  Please tell us more about your motivation and technique.

Venus Fly Trap Urinal by Clark Sorensen

Venus Fly Trap Urinal by Clark Sorensen goes for $11,500. "It is the most recent addition to Sorensen's line up of whimsical urinal. This carnivorous plant comes with a full set of spikes. They look dangerous but are made of friendly silicone rubber. Pedestal is included." Read more about it on http://www.clarkmade.com/urinals.htm.

CS: I have always loved making things – anything. As a child I remember wishing I could be marooned on Gilligan’s Island because they got to make everything from scratch. I like to think I harness that spirit as I’ve had to experiment with my clay and glaze techniques in order to succeed. Some problems have taken me many years to solve. Even though I am an artist, part of the time I feel more like a scientist. I’m often glad that I learned algebra and geometry and chemistry.

ST: One may not think, but math and science really does come in handy when making art.  Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?

CS: I am always thinking and evaluating. I have many sketchbooks full of future ideas. If you’ve ever been to a great art exhibit, concert or museum and found yourself looking at even a garbage can as if it were art then you know the mind-set I try to have all the time.

ST: I wonder what is the last forest or place of nature you walked through and thought, “this would make a great urinal.”  If you have a story, please share.

CS: I am thinking that all the time. Whether it’s in a garden, the hardware store or the grocery store. I don’t only think of urinals really. I have lots of ideas for sculptures and projects but only so much time. If I could only clone myself I think I could realize all these ideas.

ST: What are some tools you like to use?

CS: I always say that if you can’t find the tool you need then make it. I have a growing array of tools that help me make more tools. I am always carving a stick into the tool I need.

These 2 orange poppy sinks by Clark Sorensen were installed in a software company bathroom in Alameda California in 2008

These 2 orange poppy sinks by Clark Sorensen were installed in a software company bathroom in Alameda California in 2008

ST: What kind of music do you like? Is there something you are listening to at the moment while you make art?

CS: I listen to music all day long. When I tire of my music then I turn to Pandora and mix it up. Sometimes I’m in the mood for old 80’s tunes and sometimes I need a little jazz or classical. I’m all over the map and love to have new music introduced to me.

ST: Clark, what is a good piece of advice for our Scribblers?  Coming from somebody who really thinks out of the box I think you are big inspiration to many!

CS: I would say that there are so many more careers out there than the traditional ones, especially in the arts. Don’t be afraid to encourage yourself or your kids to dream outside the box. You will be surprised at the opportunities out there to animate, design parties, make monster movies, design flowers for famous weddings, carve ice sculptures for Oscar parties, design dresses for celebrities, on and on and on. not everyone will or should be a doctor or a lawyer. Dream dream dream!

I would recommend your readers seek out a film called: “Between the folds” a documentary about working with paper made for PBS. I have never seen a more exciting view of creativity and what some people are doing with paper. I also love to watch modern dance because it often makes me stay up all night thinking about art and expression.

ST: Keep on dreaming!  You heard him!  Let’s all continue on that path!  Thanks Clark for being with us today 🙂

Calla Lily Top View Urinal by Clark Sorensen

Calla Lily Top View Urinal by Clark Sorensen. Calla lily water free urinal using the URIMAT insert for a garden center in Germany.

Scribble Artist Interview with Timothy Young!

Scribble Town (ST): With us on the Scribble Blog is Timothy Young! Timothy has a long, creative career as an illustrator, graphic designer, toy designer, animator, puppet builder and sculptor and continues to surprise us with his imagination.

Timothy Young with Barney!

Timothy Young with Barney!

Timothy Young (TY): Hi! I live in Maryland with my family on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. My first book, I’m Looking For A Monster!, came out in 2008 and my 4th book, I Hate Picture Books!, has just come out from Schiffer Publishing.

ST: Where are you and what are you up to these days? I’m sure very excited about your book ‘I Hate Picture Books!’ reaching people everywhere! Please tell us a bit about your book. A little sneak peak please 🙂

TY: I Hate Picture Books! is about a boy named Max who is having a bit of a temper tantrum and is throwing away his picture books. Throughout the book Max describes how picture books have gotten him in trouble and all the while we see him either pictured in these books or showing what he is describing in the style of many classic children’s books that the reader will recognize. I really enjoyed poking fun at many of the books I have loved through the years.

I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young

I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young

ST: Throughout your years of experience have you found a favorite place to write and draw?

TY: I have a home office where I do most of my drawing. I write in many places, including when I’m mowing the lawn or driving in my car. That is, I think up a lot of ideas and write them down later on.

ST: I think writing while mowing the lawn is it’s own art form! What other kinds of art do you practice?

TY: I have done a lot of different types of art. I draw, I sculpt, I use the computer to design graphics and advertising. I use Photoshop to finish most of my illustrations.

A few character designs by Timothy Young

A few character designs by Timothy Young

I design toys and I have a new toy line coming out soon called HEDZZ™. I designed them and sculpted the prototypes. I’ll let you know more soon about where to get them. You can see more of my artwork at http://www.creaturesandcharacters.com.

ST: All of your characters whether they are in books or in the shape of a toy have such different personalities. What do you hope to communicate with your stories?

Timothy Young's Books

Timothy Young's Books

TY: I don’t start out with any specific message, I usually think of a character and a situation they find themselves in. If some kind of lesson sneaks in there, that’s a plus. Mostly I write books for myself and I hope other people like them too.

ST:What was your favorite storybook growing up? Or is there a character that you connected with especially?

Max Eating Green Ham by Timothy Young

Max Eating Green Ham by Timothy Young

TY: I loved Dr Seuss and P. D. Eastman’s books along with many others. Two of my favorites are no longer in print. I especially liked The Ice-Cream Cone Coot by Arnold Lobel and GWOT! Horribly Funny Hairticklers by Steven Kellogg.

ST: I can see your love for Dr. Seuss in your picture of Max eating green ham (look to your right). Dr. Seuss would have loved that! Your designs and inventions inspire us to go to adventure lands! Where do you get your inspiration from?

TY: Everywhere! I can’t stop these characters and ideas from running around in my brain.

Often times I just doodle things until they become a creature or a character who’s story needs to be told. These days I like drawing on really cheap tracing pads I buy at the supermarket. The paper is rough and I like the line quality I get with my drawing pencils. My favorite pencils are Creatacolor Nero extra soft #1s. Once I have a sketch I like I take another piece of paper and trace over my first to get cleaner lines. Then I scan it into my MacBook Pro and do all of my color work in Photoshop.

I wanted to let everyone know about my contest. If you can name 40 books of the over 250 that are referred to in I Hate Picture Books!, you can enter to win over a dozen autographed books by authors whose books are in my book. You can find all of the details at http://www.ihatepicturebooks.com/contest.html.

ST: Thanks Tim for the challenge! I’m up for it. On your mark, get set, go!

The cover of I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young

The cover of I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young

Scribble Artist Interview with Adrienne Moumin!

Scribble Town (ST): The first time I spotted Adrienne Moumin’s photo collages I was stunned by their design and beauty.  And then curiosity hit!  How did she do that?  Where are these images coming from and how is it so that from one concrete image it is perfectly cut and spliced and then re-contextualized all to have it’s meaning turned upside down.  Adrienne is here with us to share with us her creative story!

Adrienne Moumin (AM): I was born in 1961 in Brooklyn, NY. I work in film-based, hand-printed, B&W photography, and hand-cut-and-assembled, mixed-media photo collage.

Sculpture Garden Hirshhorn; 33” x 33” Hand-Cut-and- Assembled Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2009 by Adrienne Moumin

Sculpture Garden Hirshhorn; 33” x 33” Hand-Cut-and- Assembled Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2009 by Adrienne Moumin

I am best known for my Architextures series of handmade photo collages.  My favorite photographic subjects are NYC architecture and urban landscapes, and store window mannequins.

Adrienne Moumin at Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Pier 94 in NYC, March 21-24, 2013

This is me (with a selection of my Architextures photo collages) in my booth at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Pier 94 in NYC, March 21-24, 2013. I made a great many contacts in the architecture and interior design fields, as well as directly with people who buy art for their homes and offices.

My photography and collage have been exhibited in New York, and nationwide, for over fifteen years.  My work is in private collections in the US and internationally.

ST: Your photographs and collages have been on the move for quite a while now!  Where are you and what are you up to these days?

AM: I am based in New York, NY and Silver Spring, MD. I split my time between the two cities: showroom in NYC, and studio and darkroom in MD. I am continuing to work on my Architextures series, as well as coming back to the surrealist mixed-media collage style that I have dabbled in for years. I recently sold one of those pieces to someone who is wildly enthusiastic, and has encouraged me to produce more work in that genre.

ST: I like the name of your series, Architextures.  It gives a tangible feeling to the photo collages, but also a sense of having a strong structure to the series.  When did you start making collages and taking photographs? Was there somebody that encouraged you?

AM: I began working in cut-paper collage starting at about 8 years of age, using magazines and catalogs that would come to the house, to decorate whatever I could find.  A major project in childhood was decorating the top of a castoff bookcase with hand-cut magazine pictures. I began photographing seriously, and studying film and darkroom processes, in my ‘20’s. I have been completely self-propelled in my artistic endeavors.

Snippetree; 19" x 13 ¼" x 1 ½” Deep Hand-Cut-and- Assembled 3-D Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; Made from over 300 pieces cut from 10 duplicate prints; 2011 by Adrienne Moumin

Snippetree; 19" x 13 ¼" x 1 ½” Deep Hand-Cut-and- Assembled 3-D Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; Made from over 300 pieces cut from 10 duplicate prints; 2011 by Adrienne Moumin

ST: That’s great to hear that you have been making collages since your were 8 years old!  Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?  I really like your stories on your website especially the one under Architectural Detail.  You write, “Someone told me once that I was an architect in another life. I love the curves and the lines, the reflections and the tonalities, the solidity and transparency, and the man-made striving for esthetic and functional perfection, of architectural forms.”  To read more of Adrienne’s stories please go to http://www.picturexhibit.com/index.html.

AM: So many things inspire me!: Walking around the city, looking at architecture and urban landscapes; fashions worn by passersby; and store window displays.  And, of course, looking at the art of others, in galleries, museums, and online.

ST: Inspiration is one thing, but skill is another.  How do you hand print silver gelatin photographs?  What is the process?  I’m sure we are all interested in the magic of the dark room.

AM: I use an enlarger, which is a device that shines a light through the photographic negative, and projects it below onto the light-sensitive paper that I place there.  Then I put the paper through a series of chemicals in trays, to develop and fix that latent image. This is all done under a reddish-orange “safelight,” which provides just enough light for me to see what I am doing, yet does not affect the paper.

ST: What forms of art do you include in your mixed media photo collages?  What are some tools you like to use?

AM: I always start with the photograph, and what it suggests to me in terms of feeling and mood.  There is no limit to what I will attach to the surface of a photograph. Paper cutouts, glass or plastic beads, sequins, Swarovski crystals, metal stampings…the list never ends!

Time Warner Center; 20” x 43” Hand-Cut-and-Assembled Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2009
Time Warner Center; 20” x 43” Hand-Cut-and-Assembled Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2009 by Adrienne Moumin

ST: What kind of music do you like?  Is there something you are listening to at the moment while you make art?

AM: Music is very important to me when I am printing in the darkroom.  In keeping with the analog nature of my work (and my refusal to replace a perfectly functioning technology simply because something new comes out), I have a little boombox in there which plays cassettes and CDs! Two of the CDs I nearly always listen to during printing sessions are the first album from Counting Crows, “August and Everything After,” and The Band’s “Greatest Hits.”

The Victory Arpeggios; 25½” x 25¾” x 3/8” deep Hand-Cut-and- Assembled 3-D Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2012 by Adrienne Moumin

The Victory Arpeggios; 25½” x 25¾” x 3/8” deep Hand-Cut-and- Assembled 3-D Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2012 by Adrienne Moumin

ST: Adrienne, you have given us a great start to create and how to look at things differently!  What is a piece of advice for parents and their little scribblers?

AM: For the parents: Look at some collage sites on the internet, and google different search terms, to find age-approriate project ideas for children; many require little or no money.  Talk to your children about what they would enjoy; you never know when an idea will spark a fire that lasts a lifetime.

For scribblers: Just do what you feel. Because art has no rules.

I found this on Pinterest, and followed the link to this ingenious project, posted by art teacher Sherri Schultz.  It is simply using our imaginations to expand on an image.
http://artmommie.blogspot.com/2012/03/young-explorers-class_10.html

ST: You are right- art has no rules and now is the time to explore and create!  Thank you, Adrienne!

To find the tools to get started on your own collage please have a look at Adrienne’s suggested art activity that expands your image 🙂 http://www.scribbleshop.com/content/exploring-expansion-your-image-and-imagination

Scribble Artist Interview with Sharron Parker!

Scribble Town (ST): When Andi, aka Chief Scribbler, met Sharron Parker at the recent Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City she was amazed at how felt could be manipulated in such amazing ways.  We are lucky to have Sharron share with the Scribble Blog about her craft.  Sharron, where are you and what are you up to these days?

Sharron Parker's display at Architectural Digest Home and Design Show NYC 2013

Sharron Parker's display at Architectural Digest Home and Design Show NYC 2013

Sharron Parker (SP): I live and work in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in an old stone mill on the Neuse River. Since the mill was once a textile mill, I feel I am continuing that tradition with my textile studio there.

ST: Not only are you continuing the tradition, but to be surrounded by such beautiful nature explains how your fiberworks resemble your environment.  When did you start creating with felt and what piqued your interest?

SP: After being a weaver and trying other textile techniques, I discovered handmade felt over 30 years ago, when I saw 2500-year-old pieces of felt that had been found in Siberian tombs. I learned that the technique is the oldest way to make cloth, dating to the Stone Age. Basically, you shrink and lock wool fibers by using moisture, heat, and pressure. Nomadic people did things like dragging the wool in a roll behind their horse, but I just press on the wool in hot water in my sink or bathtub.

ST: I’m so interested in your fiber technique! You explain it really well here, but we are eager to learn more.

Step 5 in Wet Felting by Sharron Parker

Step 5 in Wet Felting by Sharron Parker

SP: This is called “wet felting” and is different from “needle felting” where you use barbed needles to tangle fibers – which I do occasionally. I work with dyed, unspun wool or roving since I like to work with color. It’s something like “painting” with wool: I comb and layer several background layers, and then arrange the dyed wool wherever I want, often in thin watercolor-like layers. Lines can be created by using wool yarns, and more texture can be achieved by using wool curls, etc. After making a piece of felt, I can stitch more onto the surface, sew pieces together, etc.

Raku Flight I for Merrimon by Sharron Parker

Raku Flight I for Merrimon by Sharron Parker

ST: On your website you have a picture of yourself and a tiger.  Is that real?!  It’s a beautiful picture and we’d like to know more about it.

Sharron Parker's Tiger friend

Sharron Parker's Tiger friend

SP: The tiger photo in my artist profile was taken when I was a volunteer at a tiger rescue preserve; I had been bottle-feeding a baby tiger for several weeks. Maybe not surprisingly, tiger-like stripes appeared in my work after that (see Madagascar Moth detail).

Madagascar Moth detail by Sharron Parker

Madagascar Moth detail by Sharron Parker

ST: Wow! With such adventures in life you are sure to find inspiration around every corner.  Is there a particular place or environment you find yourself feeling really inspired to create? The categories on your site are Earth, Light, Living Things, and Color.  Perhaps these are a window to your points of inspiration.

SP: Ideas come from lots that I see in the world around me – rocks, shells, bird wings (see Raku Flight), flowers (see Rose Petal Screen), sunsets, and more. And, of course, the river and rapids right outside my windows. The view of trees outside my window, and the river mists behind them, can be seen in the triptych Intertwined.

Sharron Parker's intertwined felt

Sharron Parker's intertwined felt

SP: For those who want to try wet felting, there are a number of books available. Or my specific techniques can be seen on a DVD called Teach + Learn, Volume 2, available through the Surface Design Association. My website “News” also lists workshops I will be teaching.

ST: Thank you Sharron!  Nature in itself is a point of inspiration and your artwork add to the cycle.  To get started with your own felting supplies please go to Scribble Shop.

Rose Petal Screen by Sharron Parker

Rose Petal Screen by Sharron Parker

Scribble Picks Irra Verbitsky!

Irra Verbitsky is an award winning artist, animator and independent filmmaker living and working in NYC.  She has so many talents and accomplishments that it is hard to name them all!  She was also my storyboard teacher at the School of Visual Arts where she still teaches in the animation department.

"Viking Voyage" by Irra Verbitsky

Currently, Irra is the President and Creative Director at Polestar Animation.  She is involved in many things such as designing storyboards, background designs and animation.  Her independent animated films have been screened internationally and at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as well as at festivals here in the U.S.A. and abroad.

Original Storyboard for "Owen"

Irra has directed and animated children’s films for Scholastic.   On the animation “Owen” (1995) Irra was
background painter and color animator while Sara Jessica Parker narrated the animation.

Irra is a very accomplished storyboard artist.  As a storyboard artist she sketches the stories, so that the scenes in the movies or animations can be visualized.  Here you can get an idea of how she sketches out her storyboards to create her award winning ‘Owen’.

I wasn’t the only one who thought ‘Owen’ was a great animation!  Others thought it was such a talented piece of art that ‘Owen’ won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for Best Children’s Film of the Year and an ASIFA EAST Award!  Those are two biggies 🙂

So far Irra has created over one hundred one minute spots for Sesame Street.

Do you recognize any of these animation stills?  Here’s one from the animation titled ‘The Story of Princess Twelvia’ and another one titled ‘Moving’.  From the picture below, where do you think Princess Twelvia is going?  How many steps are there on the staircase?  Hmm…maybe there’s a connection!

Sesame Street's 'Twelvia' Original Production Cel & Background by Irra Verbitsky

Sesame Street's 'Twelvia' Original Production Cel & Background by Irra Verbitsky

Sesame Street's "Moving" Original Production Cel & Background by Irra Verbitsky

Sesame Street's "Moving" Original Production Cel & Background by Irra Verbitsky

 

The Last Unicorn movie poster

The Last Unicorn movie poster

Irra provided the design work on the title sequence well as the story boards for the feature film, ‘The Last Unicorn’.  The animation is an adaptation from the American author Peter S. Beagle’s class tale ‘The Last Unicorn,’ which was written in 1968.

“The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.” – Peter S. Beagle ‘The Last Unicorn’

From that short paragraph of the book’s prose-poetry you can get an idea of how the story is very tender and beautiful.  In the movie the unicorn is told by a butterfly that she is supposedly the last of her kind because all the others have been herded away by the Red Bull.  With that in mind, the unicorn sets out to discover the truth behind the butterfly’s words.  On her quest, the unicorn is eventually accompanied by Schmendrick, a trying magician, and Molly Grue, a woman who has dreamed all her life to see a unicorn. Their journey leads them further and further away from home. They travel so far, all the way to the castle of King Haggard.

Irra Verbitsky shares her talent as an animation teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  Her excitement for the arts shines through her teaching and encourages her students to be as playful and thoughtful when creating moving pictures!

Flashbacks From My Past: "Departure" by Irra Verbitsky

Scribble Artist Interview with Elisa Di Fiore!

Scribble Town (ST): Hi Elisa! I can’t wait to show everybody your artwork that is based on videogames!  But first can you please let us know a bit about yourself.

Okamiden by Elisa Di Fiore

Okamiden by Elisa Di Fiore

Elisa Di Fiore (EDF): My name is Elisa and I’m originally from Italy. I moved to the US in 2006, then recently moved back to Europe. I live in Finland now, but I’m always visiting new places. I can do this because I work from home –I work in videogame localization, translating games from English into Italian.

ST:
When did you start getting into the game industry and how has that made an impact on your knits?

EDF:
I’ve always liked videogames, but being a child in Italy I was supposed to play with dolls. My grandma wanted me to be a “proper” young lady, so she tought me to cross-stitch when I was about ten years old. I loved it, but I eventually grew tired of stitching endless flowers and kittens, which were the only patterns I could find at the time. A few years ago, when I was already working in the videogame industry, I had the brilliant idea of cross-stitching Super Mario characters from the old 8-bit games. After all, pixels look a lot like stitches, right? Well, the result was amazing and I haven’t stopped since.

Baby Peach Bib by Elisa Di Fiore

Baby Peach Bib by Elisa Di Fiore

ST:  I bet you were always really talented when it comes to working with your hands!  Is there a certain place you like to be in when you are creating?

EDF: Home is the best place, of course, especially when it’s snowing outside and I can cozy up with a cup of tea and Doctor Who on TV. But I also enjoy meeting up with fellow knitters at one of the quaint cafés here in Helsinki –there’s an entire community of Americans knitting all over the city!

ST: What other forms of art do you practice?  What are your favorite tools you use to create?

EDF: I started knitting a couple of years ago and I’m enjoying it immensely here in Finland, where I can actually wear what I make. Before, when I lived in California, it was too warm to wear any wool! I also like sewing, quilting and perler beading, but really the best thing for me is just using my needle and embroidery floss anywhere I am. They’re practical and don’t take up any space.

ST:
It does make a difference when you can use the art you make! That’s one motivation to create.  Are there any others?

Mario Bookmark by Elisa Di Fiore

Mario Bookmark by Elisa Di Fiore

EDF: I’m an active member of an online community called SpriteStitch.com. There’s a blog with inspiring craft ideas and a forum where we share patterns, tips and accomplishments. We also collaborate every year to put together a videogame-themed quilt that gets auctioned to fund Child’s Play, a charity that helps kids in hospitals all over the world.

I’ve included a simple cross-stitch pattern I designed some time ago, based on the cat Jiji from the animated movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. It should be easy enough to try for any wannabe cross-stitcher!

ST: Thanks Elisa!  From games to knits you really know how to make things come alive.  Already you have given so many pieces of inspiration- from bookmarks to bibs, anything is possible! For more information on Elisa’s Jiji cross-stitch pattern please go to

Mario Sampler by Elisa Di Fiore

Mario Sampler by Elisa Di Fiore

Scribble Artist Interview with Ernest Concepcion!

Scribble Town (ST): Hi Ernest! To me, your work is very playful so I wonder how do you describe your own artwork.  Especially in the portrait of you I can see the play oozing out of you as you play at work on your One Cloud painting (see below)!

Ernest Concepcion (EC): Hi! My name is Ernest Concepcion. I’m a Filipino visual artist and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. My works usually depict opposing forces engaged in ridiculous battle based on the nostalgic references of childhood and adolescence.

One Cloud, work in progress by Ernest Concepcion

One Cloud, work in progress by Ernest Concepcion

ST: From the Philippines all the way to Brooklyn, where are you and what are you up to these days?

EC: I still live in Brooklyn, and have been here since moving from the Philippines in 2002. I do go back often to my home city of Manila and was just there for 6 months last year. It was probably my most productive trip so far. I was only scheduled for 1 solo show and then when my friends found out I was coming home, they invited me over to participate for more shows. In half a year, from February till August 2012, I ended up having 2 solo shows and 4 group shows, including exhibiting at a prominent museum in Manila. It was pretty crazy.

Gerana (The Wrath Of), ink, acrylic and colored pencil on paper by Ernest Concepcion

Gerana (The Wrath Of), ink, acrylic and colored pencil on paper by Ernest Concepcion

All the works were made there. For the first three months I was cranking it up doing 6 x 4 feet paintings. My sleeping habits changed. I started doing the UBERMAN cycle. Have you ever heard of that? You’re basically awake and work for 4 hours then take powernaps for 30 minutes to an hour and then work again for 4 hours and so forth. I tried it – I wasn’t exactly successful. Haha. Nah, I took it easy and still hung out with friends. I found out it’s better that way. But when I do work at the studio, I’m like an unstoppable freight train. I’m going back this year on August 2013 for more art projects.

ST: Your friends sound so great! So supportive of you and your art. I’m sure they were also just so happy to have you back home. When did you start drawing?

EC: I would say I started drawing when I was real young mostly because I was inspired by my older brother. He would draw these fantastic cars based on the 80’s movie Mad Max and I totally got into and started copying him. Later on I started drawing my own little stories with pictures on notebooks similar to the CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURES books. Comicbooks and Saturday morning cartoons have been a major influence as well. Come to think of it, my drawing style has not changed much at all. It probably has changed technique-wise in terms of perspective, anatomy, linework – but I would say it has retained its childlike qualities that harkens back to young Ernest. I was trying to think if art school changed my drawing style at all, but I think not that much. Undergrad in the Philippines was more about theory for me and my drawing process went into a dormant state because I got heavily into conceptual art and video. But when I moved to New York, it almost seems like that hibernating child-general woke up all of a sudden ready for action.

Life In A Hidden Valley by Ernest Concepcion

Life In A Hidden Valley by Ernest Concepcion

ST: Between all the traveling, is there a favorite place you like to create?

EC: Well, I currently work from home and do my oil paintings in my own apartment. Oftentimes I couldn’t believe how I managed to do this but I guess I was able to adapt and develop my organizational skills in paintings. So I would say this is my favorite place right now. I did have a studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn for 3 years and that used to be my favorite place to work. I would spend countless hours there and was able to produce a ton of work. But alas, I had to move out in 2009. However, when I fly back to Manila I work at Mom’s house and she has prepared a space for me to work there, which I would say is probably the best. Its right beside her garden and there’s a sense of calm and serenity in the studio – a perfect contrast to my conflict-ridden works. I’m not exactly the type who draws in the subway, in a café, etc. I don’t usually carry a sketchpad at all even. Just a notebook to jot down ideas and that’s it. I make art at the studio. When I’m at a café, I drink coffee.

Queens 2020, Ernest Concepcion

Queens 2020, Ernest Concepcion

ST: What other forms of art do you practice? What are your favorite tools you use to create?

EC: I also practice installation art and I collaborate murals with my friend Mike Estabrook as the Shining Mantis. I’ve been getting more and more into comicbook making and that’s definitely something I would like to develop soon. I was a big fan of the Sharpie for my drawings, I still am! But I’m totally getting into drawing with a brush these days and India ink tends to stay longer and seem more vibrant in the long run. Also, I could make entire fields of black with an ink-filled brush and that saves a lot of time.

ST: I’m seeing and hearing a theme of childhood in your artwork, but is there something in particular you want to say with your art?

EC: In my works, I would like to express what it’s like to be a kid again. The joy of expressing relentlessly.

ST: Is there a piece of art that speaks to you?

EC: There are so much art that speaks to me, but the ones I really appreciate are the works that I could feel express a certain vibe of ferocious expression – I don’t know, I can’t explain it too well.

Pajama People vs. Apparitions, ink on acetate, watercolor on paper by Ernest Concepcion

Pajama People vs. Apparitions, ink on acetate, watercolor on paper by Ernest Concepcion

ST: Where do you get your inspiration from and who inspires you?

EC: Right now I’m getting a lot of inspiration from independent game designers. Haha. Seriously. I’m an avid gamer and seeing the works of most indie game developers and feel the years they spent on coding, designing, beta testing and perfecting these games via patches and downloadable content never fail to inspire me. I recently attended a festival about Andy Kaufman and it ran for 2 weeks. I was there almost every day! It was amazing. For me he’s a real inspiration, and he’s true to his craft. And when I mean ‘true’, I meant he doesn’t care what he was doing really, he was totally just having so much fun at the moment. And to me that’s awesome.

Kangarok 1 and 10th, Ernest Concepcion

Kangarok 1 and 10th, Ernest Concepcion

ST: Your work does look fun and Ernest, you have done so much!  Any tips for us?

EC: I would advice to everyone to just keep making work and expressing without boundaries. I am also an art teacher myself to kids and I have always been open in encouraging my students to constantly experiment and explore. Breaking rules are great, but it will be futile if you don’t know the rules first. So learn the basics, the parameters, the limitations, the rules, and then transcend them.

ST: Thank you Ernest for sharing so much with us!  And don’t forget to play Ernest’s Shooting Stars game, http://www.scribbleshop.com/content/play-shooting-stars-game-ernest-concepcion

Kangarok III

Kangarok III

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