with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to East High Elementary!

A day and a half in a school is such a treat, especially in a school as fun and creative as this one. I knew it was going to be a special place when I met the art teacher before school and saw the range of interesting and imaginative projects she had the students working on. And East High turned out to be just that kind of school. Starting in the assemblies and going throughout the many workshops, ideas were flowing. I did a lot of drawing! Here are the stories we invented...

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: a superhero in a volcano looking for a key up against an evil scientist

The story: Our hero, Super Cool Guy, is trying to get a key to rescue an important person who has been kidnapped by the evil scientist. But he doesn't realize he's flying into a trap. Dr. Weirdo is going to grab him with his lava arms and finally defeat him.

But it's Super COOL Guy, so he has thermal gloves to stop those hot arms and turn them back on the bad doctor.


The four ingredients: a crocodile on the ocean looking for a sea monster up against an evil jack-o-lantern

The story: A crocodile sets out on the ocean to find a legendary sea monster. He thinks it just might be a distant cousin. So he searches far and wide. Just when he gets close to meeting the creature, the sea beast brings up a jack-o-lantern he found floating in the water, which scares the poor croc nearly out of his scaly skin.

I think this sea serpents face might be my favorite drawing from the day and a half I spent in the school. It has a little Mercer Mayer quality to it -- don't you think, teachers?


Workshop fun!

Check out these stories which all came from our 45-minute workshops:

What a great concept: Bigfoot as a detective! As I told this group of kids, that's what creativity often does, combines ideas. In this story, he's off to Los Angeles to rescue the head of a group of inner-city elves. Call them hip-hop elves. We wanted to come up with a new concept for elves, and I think we did it.

This elf has been captured by a movie star who is using her wishes to make her famous. I said that would explain why Britney Spears is so popular.

Here's the doodle turned into a drawing that we used for the main character. This, like the others below, was drawn by a student.

Interesting looking character, don't you think? We decided she was a rabbit who had been transformed into a person. And she was sneaking around at night, cutting fences and opening up people's gardens so that the rabbits could run free.

Trying to catch her is the boy who was her owner when she was a bunny. When I drew the bunnies looking over the wall, we weren't sure who's side they were on.

We had a rare situation in this workshop: dueling doodlers! I had two students draw from the same doodle. Both were very interesting, but the woman winking is an amazing drawing. And it helped us make an interesting character, one who is trying very hard to fit into a group of rich people in a city. The duck, who lives in the city park, has magical powers and was helping her to become popular, but only if she'd catch him fish. In the end, even though she's discovered fishing by one of the snobby people (who think fishing is just for "lowly" people), she finds that the duck is better company!

This prince is not a very nice main character. He's lazy, mean, and only is able to be in power because he has a magical dragon claw. (Wow, we had a lot of magic stories, didn't we?)

When a wizard takes his magical claw, the prince has to get the help of the dragon to get it back.

What I love about this story is that the "bad guy" is a tree. This raccoon finds a giant acorn, but a big gust of wind blows it across the highway. So he has to climb this tree, full of dangers, to be able to cross over the road safely. Fun idea!

I liked how this story developed. First we had a cat out to get his toy mouse back. So we thought the real mice might be behind the missing fake mouse. They want to lure the cat out of the window. The house is right on the ocean and they know how much the cat hatest the water.

But the cat is smart. She's tied a piece of cheese to her tail, so that the mice will dive after her. She'll grab hold of the window ledge and watch the mice fall into the water!

That's one smart cat!

These are quick drawings to tell the tale of a frog who wants to be a farmer. He surprises the real farmer by offering to help. But when he tries to herd the cows, he scares them by landing on their heads! The cows run off. But he makes everything turn out okay when he teaches them how to play leap-cow!

Finally, afternoon Kindergarten helped me think up a story about a puppy pretending to be a knight who wants to fight a dragon. So he goes next door where a bigger kid lion is playing with friends. The puppy keeps trying to get the lion to play the part of a dragon, but all the puppy is really doing is bothering the lion.

Finally the lion gets so annoyed, he throws a kickball at the puppy, but the knight fends off the attack by swatting the ball with his stick!

In the end, everybody likes the new game of ball they invented.

There were more drawings to this series, but I didn't take pictures of them.

What an outstanding two days! Remember, our time together wasn't just about watching me draw. It was about making up stories and putting ideas onto paper, which you can do even without an illustrator drawing big goofy pictures.

Being creative is fun! Share some of your ideas today!

And while you're here, check out the fun stuff on my site!

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Pick the ingredients to stories and click through to see how I've started them. Then you finish the story!

Make a character out of some funny people I've drawn for you!
Strange news is happening! Let my Headline Maker give you a really weird headline. Then write a story!

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