My first full week as a SENIOR at CCS! This is a really big deal to me because - I have NEVER been a Senior in College. How is that possible since I have a BFA? Well - every time I left a school (Brown to SVA to RISD) - they made me start over as a Freshman. Near the end of my second year at RISD David Macaulay took over as Head of the Illustration Dept. As I always did - I submitted my transcripts for review and advanced standing. He said "You have enough credits to graduate." So I did.

But I had missed out on all the cool extras and special classes and making friends and... everything. So I vowed that someday - I would go back to school for my Masters and I would study exactly what I wanted to study. So here we are, 20 plus years later, at Cartoon School!

This year's program consists of three actually classes - Thesis Seminar, Professional Practices and Visiting Artists. Other classes - like Life Drawing, Movie Night and Senior Studios - are optional or occur at our own discretion. Thesis is our main focus. We need to produce a body of work that represents nine months of blood, sweat and tears.

Our first task was to create a strip of how we wanted our Thesis to turn out, and how we feared it would turn out...

I'd like to do more Auto-Bio Comics for my thesis and use my travel journals (especially my trip to the Middle East) as the inspiration.

For Professional Practices - we will learn all sorts of stuff about being a professional and there is a big emphasis on "graphic facilitation" - which I've made use of as "sketch-notes" - where I record my classes for you as partly illustrated notes. Graphic Facilitation is used during the class or meeting, on a whiteboard usually, to record the ideas as they occur.

We are supposed to fill a binder with 100 pages of notes and ideas! Here is my graphic of a quote/poem from the first class...

Visiting Artist this week was a Pecha Kucha presentation (20 slides, 20 seconds each) by each one of our teachers. It was a great way to hear about each one's life and achievements - but also a good exercise in drawing a portrait in 6 minutes! (I messed up James Sturm's jaw. Sorry!)

To get us primed to work on our Thesis, we need to draw 16 pages of comics by Oct. 4th. They can be of anything and it's suggested that we experiment with techniques and ideas that we'd like to use in our actual Thesis.

Here's one of my pages. I love lettering and I'd like to find ways to incorporate more of it into my comics.

The sketch:

Inking with a Papermate ballpoint pen:

Half-inked:

Finished piece:

The week wasn't ALL work though!

Friday was Montshire Unleashed - a few hours in the evening where adults get to take over the science museum! My friend Debbee and I found ourselves fascinated by a new section in the TinkerBox exhibit... "Scribblebots"!

We built little robots out of cardboard and markers, tiny motors and batteries - that shook and shimmied across the paper making cool (or totally spastic) colorful marks.

While we were working - we did some "networking" with the museum staff. Who knew they just happened to be looking for a cartoonist to illustrate the instructions for their science kits!? Cool! Pick ME!

As usual - we didn't leave until they started turning the lights off. We realized we were starving, headed back to White River Junction, found Tuckerbox was still open... mmmm.... lavash and hummus!

The Fireman came up to visit on Saturday. We explored Glory Days in WRJ. A day to celebrate the trains. And then spent the rest of the day exploring (actually eating) in Hanover, NH.

All the trains - there were rides on the real big trains and teeny trains too...

And the BEST! Lego trains! I was really impressed with the Lego trees...

Even an orchard with apple trees!

White River Junction is such a weird town.
I'm in love.
From the train station, looking back towards town, there's Vermont Salvage on the left, my school - CCS- in the old PO building, and the Hotel Coolidge behind it.

For the past year, I've been walking past the florist shop, kicking through the petals strewn on the sidewalk (so cool!). Now, the Fireman has started bringing me flowers from here. Smart man.

On the side of the Florist shop...

... and just below... even the weeds are beautiful here...

Now - I'm trying to focus on my homework for this coming week, "meeting" with my Thesis Advisor (by Skype) and starting off my Birthday Week.

I celebrate all week, so feel free to send me cards anytime. ;-) I have it on good authority (my own) that I am getting an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for my gift (I bought it myself, but it has been sitting in its shipping box... waiting patiently.)

That will also be one of my challenges for this year- Learn to draw Comics on an iPad!

If you are also celebrating your Birthday this month (apparently, January is a very cold, boring month - lots of babies started...) -

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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