anyone can draw cartoonagrams

Anyone Can Draw



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In October of 2008 I published my first book, "Anyone Can Draw Cartoonagrams." The book is a how-to-draw guide using a method of teaching I developed while working with hospitalized children at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI. "Anyone Can Draw Cartoonagrams" teaches cartooning using letters of the alphabet linked to a key word or phrase. The Cartoonagram characters are both easy to learn and easy to remember. The book is designed for anyone who knows the alphabet, generally five years of age and up.

Since 1991 I have been the Resident Cartoonist at Hasbro Children's drawing with children at bedside, I found that traditional methods of instruction were not sufficient to teach most patients to draw. By using letters I discovered that all patients relaxed and felt more confident in making the shapes necessary to create a Cartoonagram. This resulted in kids who never believed they could draw discovering that they could—and having a lot of fun in the process.

"Anyone Can Draw Cartoonagrams" features 26 characters. It is published in paperback and was first introduced to the public at the 2008 Scituate Art Festival in Scituate, RI, where it was very well received. In addition to it being available for purchase online,the book is also available at several bookstores in Rhode Island.


My professional cartooning career began with guidance from two of my favorite cartoonist/illustrators: fellow Dartmouth College alumnus Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and celebrated Rhode Island cartoonist Don Bousquet. I first corresponded with, and met, both mentors in 1984. They helped coach me towards a cartooning career that has included national as well as local publication. I remain in touch with Don, who is quoted on the back of my book.

"Anyone Can Draw Cartoonagrams" developed over many years as I worked on perfecting a book presentation for my Cartoonagrams drawing method. Two years ago I began collaborating with my editor and longtime college friend Richard Goldman on a digital, press-ready version of the book. Richard's computer expertise and design skills brought the book to life.

I am proud to be known as the "Cartoon Guru" at The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT—Paul Newman's original camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. While spending a day drawing cartoons at camp in the summer of 2007, I was summoned by Mr. Newman. He let me know that he had heard of my Cartoonagrams book project and wanted to assist me in getting the book published. He believed it would be something that would be "great for the kids." That offer quickly inspired a prototype for the book and its delivery into Mr. Newman's hands, then his agency's. Despite Mr. Newman's intentions and efforts, the project stalled with the agency in the summer of 2008. I then decided to publish the book myself.

Beyond teaching students a desirable, fun, lifelong skill, "Anyone Can Draw Cartoonagrams" is also helping to support The Tomorrow Fund for Children with Cancer. Based in Rhode Island, it is the only local nonprofit organization that provides daily financial and emotional support for children with cancer and their families. A portion of the proceeds from the book is being donated to The Tomorrow Fund, with whom I have a long and ongoing association. Every week I am in the company of Tomorrow Fund kids and families, drawing Cartoonagrams—and receiving inspiration to create more.

"Anyone Can Draw Cartoonagrams" not only teaches drawing skills. It can also be used as a means to get kids focused on learning and practicing their letters. In the short time the book has been available, I have been delighted to hear reports on how kids have surprised their parents with not only their new-found drawing skills, but also their direction following and letter making.