Sunday, May 16, 2010

120 [m ] : I Think I Shouldn't Like To Be Around Mad People

Early 2009, let's say January, I was asked to lend my artistic talents to design a mascot for a then upcoming event for kids. The character was the Mad Hatter, and the theme, of course, involved Lewis Carroll's "Wonderland" characters. The event was put together by The Young Audiences Arts for Learning group, a part of Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center which also includes the High Museum of Art.

Mad Hatter concept sketches.
Black ball-point pen on paper.

21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.50 in. x 11.00 in.)


Of course, even with copyright laws preventing me from merely copying either the popular Disney design or the John Tenniel designs from the original books, this was an opportunity to see what I could come up with.

What I came up with was an amalgam of those influences, plus a little bit of caricature of actor Ed Wynn who provided the voice in the 1951 Walt Disney Animated Feature.

Mad Hatter
India Ink on paper


Besides adding color to what you see here, that would have been the end of that bit of weekend pro-bono work.

However, Dennis, who was on the Y.A. Committee Board, asked if I might volunteer to do sketches at the actual event. This request was predicated by the fact that Dennis had worked at Cartoon Network and was familiar and impressed by my ability to draw decent sketches of cartoon characters from memory.

On the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend, there I was drawing Alice, the Hatter, March Hare and other Wonderland characters while Queen Glitter read 10-minute stories of Wonderland. It wasn't a setting where I did request, although I've worked those types of events too which in my Disney days were called "chat and draws". Actually I did draw one request that day, a Princess Jasmine for Dennis' daughter.

This year, I again volunteered, however, the setting was more like a how-to-draw session where participants, both kids and parents, got to follow me and draw and color their own pieces of art. It turned out to be almost two-hours of non-stop drawing and talking about drawing.

More about the High Museum:

More about Young Audiences:

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